Fun Facts About the Basilica del Voto Nacional


Nestled in the historic center of Quito, Ecuador, the Basilica del Voto Nacional stands as a towering testament to neo-Gothic architecture and religious devotion. Often compared to the famed cathedrals of Europe, this basilica is a must-see for any visitor to Quito. Here are some fascinating facts about the Basilica del Voto Nacional that highlight its unique charm and historical significance.

A Monument to Faith

The Basilica del Voto Nacional, also known as the Basilica of the National Vow, was constructed to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The idea for the basilica was first proposed in the 19th century, and construction began in 1887. The building symbolizes Ecuador’s devotion to the Sacred Heart and was intended to be a place of prayer and reflection for the nation.

Neo-Gothic Splendor

One of the most striking features of the basilica is its neo-Gothic design, which was inspired by the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The intricate stone carvings, soaring arches, and elaborate stained glass windows are a testament to the craftsmanship and architectural skill that went into its construction. The basilica’s facade is adorned with statues of Ecuadorian animals, including iguanas, tortoises, and armadillos, adding a unique local touch to its Gothic style.

Tallest Church in Ecuador

The Basilica del Voto Nacional holds the title of the tallest church in Ecuador. Its two main towers reach a height of 115 meters (377 feet), offering breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding Andes mountains. Visitors can climb to the top of these towers via a series of steep ladders and narrow walkways, making for an adventurous and rewarding experience.

Unfinished Business

According to local legend, the basilica will remain “unfinished” until the end of the world. Although it was officially inaugurated in 1988, parts of the basilica remain incomplete. This is not due to a lack of resources or planning, but rather a symbolic gesture reflecting the idea that the basilica’s construction is an ongoing act of devotion and faith.

The Largest Basilica in the Americas

Spanning over 7,500 square meters (80,729 square feet), the Basilica del Voto Nacional is considered the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas. Its vast interior can accommodate thousands of worshippers, and it features numerous chapels, altars, and religious artworks. The basilica’s size and grandeur make it a significant landmark in Quito and a major attraction for tourists and pilgrims alike.

A Unique Clock Tower

One of the basilica’s most distinctive features is its clock tower. The clock, which is visible from various parts of the city, has become an iconic part of Quito’s skyline. The tower also houses a carillon of 18 bells, which chime melodiously throughout the day, adding to the basilica’s enchanting atmosphere.

A Center for Pilgrimage

The Basilica del Voto Nacional is not just an architectural marvel; it is also a center for religious pilgrimage. Every year, thousands of pilgrims visit the basilica to pay homage to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to seek spiritual solace. The basilica hosts numerous religious events and ceremonies, including processions, masses, and novenas, drawing devotees from across Ecuador and beyond.


The Basilica del Voto Nacional is a true gem of Quito, blending stunning architecture with deep spiritual significance. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or a spiritual seeker, the basilica offers a wealth of experiences and insights. As you explore its soaring towers, intricate carvings, and sacred spaces, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for this remarkable landmark and the rich cultural heritage it represents.

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