Basílica del Voto Nacional Photo Essay
The Basílica of the National Vow (La Basílica del Voto Nacional) is located in the historic center of Quito. It is sometimes also called the Catedral Consagración de Jesús or the Basílica de San Juan.
The Basílica is the largest neo-gothic basilica in the New World, and is the most important work of neo-gothic Ecuadorian architecture. The building is noted for its grotesques in the form of native Ecuadorian animals, such as armadillos, iguana, and Galapagos tortoises.
The Basílica arose from the idea, proposed by father Julio Matovelle in 1883, as a perpetual reminder of the consecration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart. By the decree on July 3, 1885, the fourth Quitense Provincial Council turned the construction of the Basílica into a religious commitment in the name of the country. In 1887, the Issodum Fathers began construction for five years, with the approval of Pope Leo XIII. The Oblato fathers donated the land for the Basílica.
In 1901, Father Matovelle and his Community of Missionary Monks, took charge of the construction at the request of Archbishop Pedro Rafael González Calisto. The building was designed by architect Emilio Tarlier at the cost of 40,000 French francs. Tarlier was inspired by the Bourges Cathedral. On July 10, 1892, the first stone was placed. Between 1892 and 1909, the Heart of Mary Cathedral was constructed. The Basílica was blessed by Pope John Paul II on January 30, 1985, and it was consecrated and inaugurated on July 12, 1988.
Technically, the Basílica remains unfinished. Local legend says that when the Basílica is completed, the end of the world will come.
Visitors are able to see the sanctuary for $1, while access to the rest of the Basílica ranges from $1–3. Visitors are able to climb to the top of the towers. From the highest point of the main tower, one can see the city and the surrounding mountains.