Quito, an ancient city, combines styles and artistic currents that come from the pre-Inca era, through the Spanish conquest and the Republican stage, until reaching the modern era, making its art a unique cultural representation that is reflected in its different activities.
Within this framework, Christmas in Quito offers the possibility of knowing its traditions, history and culture through the mangers or births. For example, one of the most visited sites is the Convent of San Francisco, which has some 30 nativity scenes made, for the most part, by hand and many of them with recyclable materials.
Among the nativity scenes, the one created in marzipan with lacquer in bright colors and ornamentation that resembles the fabrics of the highlands stands out; or the one that was built in a grotto on which a model of the Franciscan convent itself stands imposingly.
Another mandatory stop for Christmas tourism is the Museo del Carmen Alto, located in a patrimonial building where the Carmelite nuns have lived in a cloister since 1653. In this patrimonial and religious icon of Quito, a colonial manger is exhibited with approximately 300 figures that welcome the the visitors.
Among the pieces that decorate the nativity scenes are some of colonial origin, others Republican from the 19th century and early 20th century, which represent traditional characters from Quito, from different ethnic groups and trades such as the 'aguatero', in charge of distributing water in the city.
But there are also other modern nativity scenes, such as the one on display in La Loma Grande, where the iconic figures of the manger such as Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the shepherds and the Magi; Traditional Quito characters such as the “ponchero”, the covered lady, the canillitas, chullas, nuns and more are added.
This year, Quito also welcomes visitors with the Monumental Crib 'P. Jimmy Arias Piedra', which has 1,600 pieces, of which 600 have movement. This nativity scene is exhibited in the city's Primate Cathedral and shows 12 biblical scenes, from the angel's announcement to Mary to the loss of Jesus in the temple.
But, the star of every Christmas is, without a doubt, the nativity scene, over 30 meters high, placed on the hill of El Panecillo, 3,000 meters above sea level, and which is considered the highest in all of Latin America. Every year the lighting of its thousands of colored lights marks the beginning of Christmas in the Capital of the Center of the World.