Fodor's Expert Review Iglesia de San Francisco
Established by Franciscan monks in 1536 and said to be the first church built in the Americas, the Church of San Francisco was named for the patron saint of the city. The twin towers, destroyed by an eruption of Volcán Pichincha in 1582, were rebuilt at half their original size in 1893, contributing to the facade's uninspiring appearance. Inside, however, you will find the first New World example of an interior entirely covered with gilded and painted wood. Stationed at the main altar is Bernardo de Legarda's famed 18th-century sculpture Virgin of the Apocalypse of the Immaculate Conception. The monastery, at the north end of the complex, now houses a museum of colonial religious art. You can arrange for an English-speaking guide with 24 hours' notice.