El Panecillo is a natural elevation of 3,000 meters above sea level, nestled in the heart of the city of Quito (Ecuador) itself. It is the most visited site in the city. Because of its location it has become the most important natural viewpoint of the city, from which you can appreciate the urban layout of Ecuador's capital, from its historic center and to the north and south. The bagel is topped by a giant aluminum sculpture of "Virgen de Quito", created by Agustín Spanish de la Herran Matorras, which was based on the work composed by Bernardo de Legarda, one of the most important representatives of the Quito School.
As old as the peoples who have settled on its surroundings, the hill of El Panecillo divides its history into three great moments: the quitu-Inca times, colonial and modern.
Aboriginal and colonial era
Quito, oil painter Rafael Salas showing the city of the nineteenth century, with the hill of El Panecillo as its backdrop.
On arrival at Quitu, Spaniards found nothing but ashes of what was the second capital of Tahuantinsuyo; however they also noted that the hill, known as Shungoloma was a strategic place in the valley of Pichincha, which settled the Peninsularized city of Quito near the hill and christened this particular elevation with the name "Biscuit" for its resemblance with a little bread.
Some theories without further documentary basis argue that the hill was a temple dedicated to the Sun, but there is no trace in the place that confirmed.
Throughout the colonial period the Panecillo marked the end of the city from the south end, and so travelers arriving from cities such as Ambato, Guayaquil, Latacunga, Lima or Cuenca knew, to spot it, that his arrival in Quito was a matter of a couple of hours nothing else. The hill had a wooded part, especially on the south side.
The fort Panecillo
The Spanish built a fortress at the top of the hill, which was the seat of the Quito military garrison. The strength allowed to watch the north and south, so it was equipped with cannons. Falling strong in the hands of the Liberation Army of Greater Colombia in 1822, the Spaniards took fourteen pieces of artillery.
During the War of Independence, the bagel was the scene of fierce fighting between the royalist forces and Sámano Toribio Montes, and the patriots comandandados by Carlos Montufar and other defenders of the State of Quito, 1812. Since 1809, Quito had expelled the Royal Spanish Court, which was installed in Cuenca. A Spanish army was sent to subdue Quito and restore the Royal Court.
On November 7, 1812, the Quito patriots faced the colonial forces Toribio Montes and barricaded themselves in the Panecillo hill and its fort, to prevent the fall of the city. They established a defensive line in the canyon of Machángara River, which runs through the southern slope of Panecillo.
According to reports the historian Pedro Fermin Cevallos, the Spanish commander ordered three fronts to take the city from the south, and placed in the southern skirt of the Roll to avoid artillery fire patriot was fired from the fortress at the top. Then they ascended to the castle, forcing quiteños to leave. A captain named Juaregui took the strength and flame made the Spanish flag. Late fortress, the Spaniards easily entered the city on the north side, defeating the Patriots.
The battle lasted three hours and 46 patriots were killed, and 15 realistic. From the Plaza Grande and La Merced, the patriot army responded with artillery against the Spaniards in El Panecillo, who temporarily left the hill. However, much of the park Patriots lost in El Panecillo, so they chose to leave the city to Ibarra, where they would eventually defeated few weeks later.
The Spaniards, including coined a commemorative medal match, where they highlighted the triumph of weapons of Fernando VII on the hill. The medal, which looked like some badge on the uniform, shows a hill with two guns, with a royal crown and Spanish flags, with the caption: "Winner of Panecillo in Quito by Fernando".
In 1822, during the Battle of Pichincha, the Panecillo fort served as a command post of the Spaniards, who even fired artillery against the Patriots, who had risen skirt the nearby Pichincha volcano. Being defeated, the Spaniards took refuge in the fortín.4 Sucre, to avoid the bloody assault on the emblematic hill, he sent an emissary to Aymerich to capitulate, which the Spanish captain general accepted.
According to the minutes of Capitulation of 25 May 1822.5 Spaniards at 14:00 that day, they hauled down their flag and surrendered their weapons to the Army of the Great Colombia, in a special ceremony on a bridge colonial fort. Thus, at the top of Panecillo the final act of the Spanish Empire in Ecuador took place.
The fort had a great reservoir or underground cistern built of brick, which was used to provide water to the fortress. The Spanish castle was demolished after independence, leaving only the top of the hill the water tank, then nicknamed "Panecillo pot", which is preserved until today.
Several private buildings were erected throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century in the Panecillo and skirts, both north as south, none of historical interest, but the field remained the top building after the demolition of the old colonial fortress. The Panecillo lost its military importance during the nineteenth century.
The sector became dangerous during the last decades of the twentieth century, host of the famous criminal band Mama Lucha, which operated in the streets, affecting tourism
In 1976, the Spanish Agustin de la Herran Matorras made a monument aluminum in honor of the Virgin Mary to adorn the top of El Panecillo and thus also provide an icon to the Ecuadorian capital. The Virgen del Panecillo is a copy of the Virgin of Legarda, and has a viewpoint and tourist center.
The Virgin of Quito
Plaque near the entrance to the building of the monument
Composed of seven thousand different pieces, this is the largest aluminum representation worldwide. The play, which opened on March 28, 1975, is a replica of the sculpture of 30 cm made in the eighteenth century by the quiteño sculptor Bernardo de Legarda, the same resting on the high altar of the church of San Francisco, and it is considered the masterpiece of sculpture colonial Quito school.
The sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary as described in the biblical Book of Revelation: a winged woman, a chain that imprisons the snake at her feet and represents the beast of 666. It is therefore also names or Virgin of Quito Virgin of Legarda (by the sculptor of the original work), this statue is also called Virgin of the Apocalypse.
The sculpture rests on a base of four levels building, built in concrete and clad volcanic rock; inside you can tour a small museum in which the history of the ancient hill and construction of the sculpture is reported. Furthermore, accessing this museum you can reach a viewpoint located at the very feet of the Virgin, from which it has a privileged view of 180 degrees of the city of Quito.
In its concrete base is a named plate "Women of Revelation (Chapter 12)" written by Father Jesus Rigoberto Correa Vázquez which says: "Who is this woman, sun dressed, queen, crowned with twelve stars , portentous sign, graceful, winged, that the firmament back-up? who is this exalted woman, who plants the moon looks prostrate, keeps chained snake and among all is the only choice? is Mary the Virgin, hope shown, in Eden, in heaven and earth, in whom God took flesh and entered history. She is the Mother of God, flower alliance, strong woman to hell terrifies, the handmaid of the Lord, the asunta to glory. "
Despite being a site visited for generations for its spectacular view, it is in recent years, and since the mythical image of the Virgin rests on top, which has increased the level of visitors to the resort. An important part of this resort is the old colonial cistern, where no foundation has wanted to see a prehispanic ruins, although it is clear that it is built with colonial brick. Despite that, it has been decorated with indigenous motifs.
When installed the statue of the Virgin Mary, the Panecillo hill acquired Catholic religious connotations, so at the time of birth Christmas lights installed and prayers as the Ninth are made.
During the early years of this century the Regeneration Plan promoted by the municipality of Quito, has favored the emergence of gourmet restaurants cafes to suit all tastes and budgets, a picturesque craft fair and a fairly effective community policing.