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La Circasiana

Eloy Alfaro´s Liberal Revolution of 1895 heralded a new age for Ecuador, initiating many important social and economic reforms that ultimately lead to the modernization of the country . The process of modernization manifested itself in many ways, including in the architecture of Quito, Ecuador´s capital city.

At the end of the nineteenth century, neoclassic architecture, as a manifestation of European culture introduced during Ecuador´s modernization, expressed itself in many of Quito´s buildings. Until the Twentieth century, what today we know as Quito´s historic district was the urban center of the city. "Old Town", as Quito´s historic district is commonly known, was once the heart of the city´s commerce and administration and home to Quito´s most powerful families. North of this former urban center, in the area sorrounding the park El Ejido and in what is now the Santa Clara neighborhood sat the grand leisure estates of Quito´s bourgeoisie.

La Circaciana, constructed in varios phases by the Jijon family, was the first neoclassical mansion built in Quito and remains among the most majestic examples of neoclassic architecture in the City. In addition to the mansion proper, the former Jijon estate boasts two other architectural wonders: a library that once contained 40,000 books and another building that Jacinto Jijon y Caamano used for a museum.

Hotel Majestic is only a few meters form La Circasiana. Enjoy the unparalleled service provided by Hotel Majestic and take advantage of its prime location in the center of one of Quito´s most beautiful neighborhoods. Hotel Majestic´s staff is available for tours of La Circasiana.

 

History of the Santa Clara Neighborhood

With the help of Don Jorge Conchambi and Don Rafael Mullo, two long-time residents of the Santa Clara Neighborhood, Hotel Majestic has rescued much of the Neighborhood's rich history.

According to Mr. Conchambi and Mr. Mullo, the first inhabitants of the area we now call El Barrio de Santa Clara or the Santa Clara Neighborhood, were descendents of indigineous people that populated Ecuador long before the arrival of the Spanish Consquistadors.

Until modern times, the manufacture of ceramics and agriculture were the principal activities of the Santa Clara villagers. Santa Clara was particularly well known for the production of large ceramic containers used for storing water and chicha (a fermented drink), as well as the production of bricks, pots and vases.

Though the earth the villagers cultivated provided them with material for their ceramics and produced plentiful food, it supplied hardship too. Streams on the slopes of the volcano Pichincha had to be cleared regularly as they served as the community's water source, and consequently, were vital to its survival.  Interestingly, whenever the villagers went into the mountains to clear the streams or for other reasons, they always carried alcohol, hot peppers, and onions with them.  The alcohol was used to overcome the cold, the hot peppers to help with circulation, and the onions to treat stomach pains.

Legends and supersticion have an important place in the history of Santa Clara.  Many of these legends are associated with the community cementary. Among the various haunts who frequented the cementary were El Cura Sin Cabeza (the headless priest), El duende (a leprachaun-like being which was particularly fond of terrifying children), and La Viuda (the spirit of a beautiful widow that levitated and shook when people gazed upon her).  An encounter with any of these spirits infected the witnesses with a strange disease called "el mal de viento", which could only be cured with holly water, a priests blessing, or the substantial comsumption of alcohol.

As you can see, El Barrio Santa Clara abounds with history and culture. Join us at Hotel Majestic and be a part of it.

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Adress: Mercadillo 366 and Versalles.
Phone: (593-2) 2 543-182,
2 546-388, 2 540-792,
2 524-401.
P.O.Box: 17-03-88.
Fax: 504-207.
Quito-Ecuador

info@majesticquito.com

www.hoy.com.ec

www.ecuador.org