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15 October 2012 / leggypeggy

Church of Santo Domingo is a standout

Chapel of the Rosary

Santo Domingo Church’s Chapel of the Rosary

I’m quite far behind on telling you about the sights of Quito, so I’ll do a little back-tracking before we continue to traipse across Peru.

The Church of Santo Domingo is a particular standout and one of those rare churches that I could visit again and again. I can’t remember now if we had to pay admission, but if we did it was nominal, and we had a guide throw in. This young man didn’t speak much English, but he had a genuine love for his church as well as the keys to many special rooms.

Church of Santo Domingo

Church of Santo Domingo

The church itself was started in the 1580s, under the guidance of Francisco Becerra, the Spanish architect. It was not completed until the first half of the 17th century.

From the outside, Santo Domingo Church looks quite ordinary, but some interior aspects will stick forever in my mind—the striking Chapel of the Rosary and the mudéjar-style art and architecture are good examples.

Mudéjar refers to the individual Moors and Muslims who stayed on in Spain after the Christian reconquest, but who were not converted to Christianity. It also refers a style of Spanish architecture and decoration strongly influenced by Moorish taste and workmanship.

Hall of Martyrs

Bopped on the head or poisoned—from the Hall of Martyrs

For starters, the Chapel of the Rosary is red and gold. It is so dazzling that you step back in awe when you enter. Our young guide was so pleased to show it to us.

He was also pleased to show us the hall of martyrs from the Order of Saint Dominic. Fifty-four martyrs are depicted, along with the cause of their demise. Some got bopped on the head with rocks, others drank poison. One fellow has five arrows sticking out of him. Still others were stabbed.

We also visited the church’s museum, courtyard and a third area where photos were not allowed. The museum has many important sculptures, but they didn’t photograph well through glass. I did however snap a pic of the hymn book. It is about a metre tall, with large notes—so the entire choir could see the one book when it was placed on a stand

The church isn’t widely promoted in tourist information, but I highly recommend a visit. If you go on a weekend, you’ll be part of the crowds of people watching jugglers, acrobats and musicians performing in the Santo Domingo Plaza.

Church of Santo Domingo

Church of Santo Domingo—note the geometric, Moorish designs on the ceiling

2 Comments

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  1. lmo58 / Oct 15 2012 7:36 am

    Hi Peggy,
    This church is indeed incredibly beautiful. And the photos that you have posted are also great. The Chapel of the Rosary is especially beautiful and thank you so much for that particular photo. I have a special devotion to Our Lady and am extra pleased to have seen that.
    Louise

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Oct 15 2012 8:40 am

      You are most welcome Louise. I loved that chapel too.

      Like

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