There is no doubt that the best way to have a first approach to your visit to the city of Quito , in Ecuador , is to go up to the Panecillo viewpoint .
In addition, this hill that rises over Quito and its neighborhoods, already at about 3,000 meters of altitude, is one of the great icons of the city because there is the monument of the Virgin Alada , also known as the Virgin of Quito .
The city of Quito extends 40 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide between different hills and valleys.
This huge extension you will only be able to appreciate from the viewpoint of Panecillo , where the houses will be lost from your sight and nowhere will you see the end of the city that is hidden among the hills that surround it.
How to climb the Panecillo
Or more comfortable if you get into a taxi that for about $ 5 will take you to the viewpoint and wait until you finish enjoying the spectacular panoramic views and then return to downtown.
It is not advisable to go on foot, on the one hand, because of the fatigue that the high altitude of the city will cause you, and on the other, because of the narrow streets through which you should ascend, they do not offer enough security for tourists.
Once you have reached the viewpoint of El Panecillo , the views of the city are truly impressive, since the hill divides it between the center and the south.
In the foreground, at the foot of the hill to the north, you have the historic center of Quito , where you can recognize especially its churches.
In the background you have the new Basilica of Quito , a temple consecrated in 1988 and neo-Gothic style.
Much closer you will find it easy to identify the church of San Francisco by the large square that opens in front of it.
If you notice, because of its large domes, not towers, you will recognize very close to the church of the Company .
And already to the bottom, towards the northwest, for its higher buildings you can see the most modern area of the city.
In the years of the Inca domination this hill was called Yavirac , one of the places of the sacred geography of the city of Cuzco.
When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they initially called it Cerro Gordo , and later named it Panecillo .
No doubt this viewpoint is led by the presence of the huge statue of the aforementioned Virgin Alada .
It is a monumental replica of the sculpture by the Quito artist Bernardo de Legarda , made in the 18th century.
You can see it in its natural size, with only 30 centimeters of height. in the museum of the church of San Francisco .
The monument is also known as the Silver Virgin because it has a structure formed by up to 7,000 pieces of aluminum.
When you enter the monument ( entrance fee , $ 1) to climb the viewpoint at the base of the monument , you will see an exhibition that shows you how the Alada Virgin was built .
At present, El Panecillo is one of essential visits in Quito . Do not be surprised to see numerous souvenir stalls at the foot of the monument of the Virgin.