To reach to the heart of the city and discover it, it is necessary to walk it by its cobbled streets, by houses with balconies that transport the stillness of centuries past with colorful geraniums. When crossing it, one discovers invisible doors to galleries, bars, ateliers, taverns and shops that invite one to enter their world and feel the aromas and elements that make them up. Stone is everywhere, as decorative resource, as well as pink marble columns, windows and walls with very distinctive designs; even its sidewalks are particularly attractive.
Churches are found at almost every corner, some for everyday use by worshipers, and others opened to visitors, or transformed into museums. They are the perfect opportunity to learn in depth their religious tradition.
In Cuenca, the ability of working with creativity using their hands captivates people who visit it: pottery craft, jewelry, textiles and the development of the finest straw hat, declared in 2012 as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, are part a set of expressions of syncretism and inheritance that at present signal objects and ornaments suitable for the most discerning tastes.
The brand that identifies Cuenca are the old houses with red tiles and bricks; red is the color that paints the city and the traditional spaces now turned into shops, bars and restaurants. The old city is enclosed by cobbled streets and four crosses in each of the cardinal points. It is almost impossible not to talk about the essentials of Cuenca: when walking through its streets one must visit the San Sebastian Park, its church and the Contemporary Art Centre, the Las Posadas House, the picturesque district of El Vado, the Calle Larga and its surroundings starting with the 10 de Agosto Market, the hat shop and the CEMUART Artisan Municipal Center.
It was the main church in the colonial era. It was built after the foundation of the city, later than 1557 and its original name was the Tabernacle Church. It stopped opening in the late twentieth century and in 2005 it reopened as a museum of religious art; it is also a designated space for musical performances. The original building is on top of Inca stones and the structure was on wood. In 1779 it was expanded and redecorated because Cuenca was declared a Bishopric.
It is most important Catholic monument for the people of Cuenca. The church design was made by the German Redemptorist Juan Bautista Stiehle and its construction took about 100 years. Its image is a mixture of Roman, Gothic and Renaissance style. Internally, the stained glass windows are a highlight; they were made by the Basque artist Guillermo Larrazabal. The same can be said about the baroque resources used and the Salomonic columns (twisted columns). The sculpture of the crucified Christ that sits on the high altar is a mestizo version, closer to the actual population of Cuenca, which identifies them and increases their faith.
ALL SAINTS, HERITAGE COMPOUND
Historically, in this place there was a native chapel called "Usno", a place of worship for the natives. At the arrival of the Spanish, they built on the same space the "Saint Marcus" Chapel that was given to the religious order of the Oblate, who later expanded the church. Until today, they run the Sacred Heart of Mary School. It is at the edge of the Tomebamba River, at the end of the Calle Larga and down the Todos los Santos Street. It includes the church, a gazebo, a convent garden and a restaurant.