Carondelet Palace

A tour of the political history of Ecuador can be done by visiting the Carondelet Palace, located in the Historic Center of Quito.
 
 
 
 

Carondelet 

Facts about Carondelet

  • Carondelet, the name of the government palace is named after the last president of the Royal Audience of Quito known as the Baron de Carondelet and in his honor the name of this illustrious character of the history was placed. The building keeps within its walls the history of our country; it is name after the last president of the Royal Audience of Quito, Francisco Luis Héctor, Barón de Carondelet. The Quito people, recognizing the contribution made to the city by that illustrious character, baptized it as Carondelet Palace, this legacy accompanies the history of the country and the walls of this building keep the secrets of all the governments that have directed the destinations of the Republic of Ecuador.
  • At the entrance two grenadiers of Tarqui welcome the hundreds of tourists who arrive daily at the Palace, a work built in the 16th century, which always represented the political, cultural and religious power of Ecuadorian society. Now also, it constitutes an architectural jewel, in the colonial heart of Quito.
  • Upon entering we observed an internal square that divides the palace in two: one part that was initially dedicated to public administration and the other as the residence of the rulers. At present, the palace is the central office of the government and little serves as a residence, although it preserves the rooms and spaces of a rulers’ house. The President has his office there. It is known that he is inside, if two other grenadiers from Tarquí are betting at the door of his office.
  • The tour is guided by the Palace, and begins at the break that joins the ground floor with the first floor, where the National Flag is located, the national symbol of reverence; and behind, on the walls, a mosaic of the crossing Francisco de Orellana made to discover the Amazon River. It is a work in small painted glass tiles prepared by the renowned artist, Oswaldo Guayasamín.
    On the second floor is the Presidential office and three rooms: The Cabinet Room where the President and his ministers meet. The Banquet Hall, in whose center there is a large inn surrounded by richly carved wooden chairs, which serves for the reception of illustrious visitors.
  • The place is surrounded by paintings and sculptures from the Quiteña School, furniture that was used by presidents such as Gabriel García Moreno and Eloy Alfaro, together with lamps that reflect the art of the 18th century, are part of the inventory of objects that are exhibited in the halls of the palace turned into a museum.
  • In the corridors, the exhibition “Ecuador already belongs to everyone” stands out, which includes some 800 gifts that leaders and senior foreign authorities have made to the President: medal, silverware, handicrafts and other dozens of fine figures.
  • In the back of the room there is a small chapel or oratory with a coffered ceiling and gold leaf, built in the early nineties, and which in the past served as a room for resting or smoking after banquets. To one side of that space there is an exit door towards the balcony of the Palace, from where the President observes on Monday the change of presidential guard, a colorful military ceremony carried out by the soldiers of the grenadiers group of Tarqui.
  • Finally, on the same floor, is the Yellow Room or of the Presidents, where various protocol acts such as the investiture of ministers are usually carried out. In that room the paintings of all the presidents of the republican history stand out, located in the upper part of each one of its walls.
  • The visit concludes with the photograph gift that synthesizes the visit to the Carondelet Palace, a building that stands in front of the Plaza Grande, also called La Independencia, because there is located at the monument to the heroes of August 10, 1809.

Carondelet Palace in the historic center of Quito

How to enter the Carondelet palace?

The tour is free and for the entry you need an identification document (identity card or passport), and take a ticket at the information stand located in Espejo and García Moreno streets. The opening hours are: from Tuesday to Friday from 09:00 to 18:45; on Monday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Saturdays from 09:00 to 22:00 and Sunday from 09:00 to 16:00.

The Government Palace and official residence of the President of the Republic of Ecuador. It is located in the historic center of Quito City. It is one of the main symbols of the Ecuadorian State and the nerve axis of the public space known as Plaza de la Independencia or Plaza Grande (colonial name), around it is other beautiful traditional architectural buildings such as the Archbishop's Palace, Pizarro Palace, the House of Mayors, the Curia Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral, however the Municipal Palace is of modern structure. It was known during the Spanish colony as the Royal Palace of Quito as it was the seat of the Royal Audience and of the civil and military government of the region.

Tradition tells that it would have been the liberator Simón Bolívar who called it Palacio de Carondelet astonished by the good taste that Francisco Luis Héctor Barón de Carondelet had, who ordered the construction of its facade, whose main element, a colonnade, remains until today. However, it has never been named in the official documents.

Carondelet Quito or the presidential Palace and the annex Palace of the Vice Presidency occupy a block of approximately 80 meters of side, which adds 6400 square meters of surface.

Carondelet Palace Architecture

Carondelet Palace is located on the  Plaza de la Independencia,’s western side, on Garcia Moreno Street, between Chile (north), Espejo (south) and Benalcázar (West) streets. Currently, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency of the Republic, as well as the Ministry of Government, occupy the complex called Carondelet, which integrates the palaces of the old Post Office (now Benalcázar Street, between Chile and Espejo) and the Government, separated only by the garage.

Carondelet façade

The first body of the façade is made of andesite stone, and has ten cobachas or small shops whose doors are topped by triangular pediments and that housed private businesses from the beginning. These spaces served to finance the colonial government with the rent that was charged for them, while during the Republican era the same use was maintained but for reasons of tradition, currently housing businesses such as a barber shop and tourist goods stores. The andesite plinth of this first body contains some blocks that have a carving similar to that of the great stones of the incasic temples, which has allowed historical speculation about their origin in pre-Hispanic buildings in the Quito city. In any case, not all historians agree with this thesis, propagated in the mid-twentieth century by the historian Father Pedro Porras and currently supported by several experts.

The second body of the facade contains a gallery as a loggia that faces the square, with a colonnade made of stone. The Doric-style columns are twenty in total and replace the original columns of the Colony, which were brick. The gallery is accessed by two wide steps. The main one is the one on the north side. Half of it was leveled to allow disabled access. At the ends of the facade, the porch or loggia is completed with semicircular arches.

The third body of the Palace has a large terrace, overlooking the Plaza Mayor, which runs over the loggia, and on the sides two blocks with windows to the street. Those from the south correspond to the Presidential Office and those from the north to the Catholic Palace Oratory.

Finally, the fourth body of the façade includes, in the center, a frontispiece that houses a bell tower and a clock, installed by President García Moreno, and to the sides two pediments decorated with the weapons of the Republic of Ecuador surrounded by canyons. On the pediment of the bell tower, on a flagpole, flies the national flag of the Republic of Ecuador.

Carondelet Palace inside

One of the constants in almost all the palatial building, as far as materials are concerned, is wood. Dozens of different types of fine wood have been used over the years both in floors and in skies, and of course, in the elegant period furniture.

Several paintings adorn the Ecuadorian presidential house, among them are works by Tamayo, Rafael Salas, Cevallos, Atahualpa Villacrés, Thoret, Oswaldo Viteri, Marco Salas and Jaime Zapata. Several of these correspond to the portraits of the presidents in the "Yellow Room".

The decoration is characterized by having elongated hexagons that frame garlands and masks of obvious indigenous appearance. The wood paneling, applied as a plinth on the walls of all rooms, was the work of Vicente Arboleda. The lying rooms have their architectural work with designs and objects brought from Spain, France and Portugal.

Carondelet's first floor

Access to the Carondelet Palace: The access to the Palace is by a wide corridor decorated with a stone colonnade overlooking the Plaza de la Independencia, and it is an atrium that rises one floor in relation to the level of the main square.

Among the columns are wrought iron railings that come from the ruins of the Parisian Palace of Las Tullerías, destroyed during the Paris Commune of 1861; These were put up for sale and bought by the Ecuadorian representative in France, Antonio Flores Jijón, by order of then President Gabriel García Moreno. According to historian Fernando Jurado Noboa, French President Charles de Gaulle hit the railings of the atrium during his speech before the people of Quito, meeting in the Plaza Grande on September 24, 1964, and then issued the phrase "est des Tuileries! " (It's from the Tuileries!), Because he knew well that those pieces of forged metal had witnessed important chapters in the history of his nation.

In the atrium there are also several plaques that recall historical events, such as Liberator Simón Bolívar visits, the centenary of the Battle of Pichincha, the murder of Gabriel García Moreno, Pope John Paul II visit, among others. The oldest of all comes from the colony and stands out in ancient Spanish that, in 1612, was installed in the Palacio la Real Audiencia de Quito.

In this portico the presidents of Ecuador traditionally go out to greet  people who are concentrated in the square. Two grenadiers of the Palace Guard, armed with lances, guard the main access of the northern gate. The south gate remains closed.
A large lobby gives access to the Palace from the two wooden gates at the entrance. In this space is a large shield of the Republic of Ecuador in bronze, which hangs from the eastern wall. The lobby floor is made of Andean gray stone, known as andesite. Three arches guarded by wrought iron doors open to receive illustrious visitors; these give access to the corridor of the entrepatio, where the Escalera de Honor is located.

North and south yards of Carondelet

On each side of this kind of corridor are the two courtyards of the Palace, arranged in a quadrangular and symmetrical shape, in the purest style of Quito's colonial houses. In the center of each there are two neocolonial fountains, decorated around them with flowers native to Ecuador. There are also a few Andean palm trees that are also frequently found in the courtyards of the city's convents.

The south wing of the ground floor serves offices of the Presidency, such as the Legal Secretariat and others. The north is occupied by the Press Room, the Blue Room (which serves for the press conferences of the officials), the offices of the Secretary of Communication and the Military House, as well as of the Command and Assistance of the Presidential Protection Service. A portrait of the Grand Marshal of Ayacucho, Antonio José de Sucre, stands out in the cloister on the first floor.

Honor Staircase in Carondelet

From the wrought iron doors of the lobby, and following the short corridor of the enclosure, you reach the Honor Staircase, flanked by elegant wrought iron railings as well as two lanterns of the same material. This set of three-body staircases, in the empire style, allows access to the second floor of the Palace. The first group of stairs arrive at a rest where there is a wooden urn carved with the weapons of the Republic, it is kept inside the national pavilion, to which all visitors must bow before continuing.
In this same space, double height by the following two groups of stairs leading to the next level, is one of the central works of the Palace: a large mural made by the Ecuadorian master Oswaldo Guayasamín. This work was carried out in 1957 at the request of the Secretariat of the Latin American Conference that proposed the theme “The discovery of the Amazon River”.  It is made up of three side walls covered with colored crystals, brought from Venice, which has as its support a white cement surface designed in the form of a triptych. The mural took seven years to complete and recalls the discovery of the Amazon River as the glory of Ecuador.

Second floor in Carondelet

On the second floor of the Palace, we wanted to recreate the upper cloisters of the Quito convents, as is the case of the Convent of San Agustín, whose influence is noted in the arcades of the upper gallery, with small Tuscan columns between which they have been placed flower pots with geraniums. These prevent seeing from the lower patio to the upper galleries, protecting the privacy of the President and his senior officials.
This apartment houses several of the most important dependencies of Carondelet; such as the Presidential Office, the Manuela Sáenz Cabinet (presidential office antechamber), the Yellow Room, the Banquet Hall, the Cabinet Room, the Secretary's Cabinet and the Oratory.

It is accessed from the two lateral bodies of the Stairs of Honor that are formed after the break with the mural of Guayasamín; these converge in a hall with marble floors located on the corridor of the first floor entrepatios. There are usually exhibited arrangements of Ecuadorian flowers in a large silver vase, and at Christmas time, a manger with medium-sized figures.

At the back of the hall you can see the first of the State's rooms of the palace, the Hall of the Cabinet, with its door with stone portal and flanked by two pieces of wood carved on each side, under two iron lanterns and frosted glass. Two carved wooden tables on each side complete the background picture of who accesses the second floor.

Cabinet Hall in Carondelet

It is located in front of the large balcony that overlooks the Plaza Grande, to which all its eastern windows have a view; while western windows do it to the inner corridor. It is connected to the Presidential Office Antechamber through an interior corridor.
The ceiling is covered by a simple coffered ceiling made of dark wood with carved flower figures. Two glass lamps hang from the ceiling and are of Peruvian origin, while the wall lamps are European. Under the table is a large carpet, and it was made by the artisans of Guano (Chimborazo province) specifically for this purpose. The upholstery of the walls was also sent to change for one in the same tones as the previous one, but of national origin, to highlight the Ecuadorian workforce in the Palace.
An austere picture of silver and bronze, representing the face of Gen. Eloy Alfaro, and a flag of Ecuador on its pedestal are the only pieces that adorn this space.

Cabinet of the Secretary in Carondelet

Next to the Cabinet Room is this medium-sized room, in which the offices of the Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic operate. It is not included in the tour of the Palace.

Banquet Hall in Carondelet

On the south side of the second floor of the Palace, overlooking Chile Street, is the Banquet Hall, also known as the Ballroom. Where important social events in the country are held; cocktails, work meetings between foreign delegations, breakfasts, lunches and state dinners, gala dances and sometimes also press conferences.

At the western end you can find two doors: the left leads directly to the Yellow Room, while the one on the right leads to the formerly called Cabinet Warmer, where the stairs to the kitchen are located and where the service responsible for Serve the guests.

It is worth noting, the wooden parquet floors of the forests of the province of Esmeraldas that were changed in 2007, as well as the wallpaper and the curtains of French silk. The ceiling coffered ceiling repeats the pattern of the Cabinet Room, although it adds a small upper curved base with geometric figures of squares. The three chandeliers that illuminate the room are made of Baccarat crystal, the finest in the world, as are the several small wall lamps that are distributed throughout the place.
The living room furniture is small: a silk cloth screen that covers the door to the plate warmer, a pair of carved wooden consoles and a grand grand piano from the 19th century that belonged to Marietta de Veintimilla. The walls are decorated with large mirrors of rock crystal in gold leaf molding and, of course, the oils of several Ecuadorian artists, including the portraits of Marshal of Ayacucho, Antonio José de Sucre, the liberator of the liberator, Manuela Sáenz , and of the first president of the Republic, General Juan José Flores.

Carondelet Palace Oratory

The Oratory, a peaceful and cozy room not very large, refurbished during the government of Sixto Durán Ballén at the request of his wife. A curtain makes it possible to hide the oratory and separate it from the aforementioned room; In addition, from this space tourists have access to the Grand Balcony of the Palace.

In the central wall, framed between two large windows, is a small altar built in cedar wood and covered with gold leaf, baroque style dating from the seventeenth century. In the four niches of the altar there are several figures of the renowned Quito school of the eighteenth century: the Immaculate Virgin in the center, Santa Ana and San Joaquin, parents of the Virgin, on the sides, and a representation of Jesus Christ crucified above of the set The furniture in this small space, such as chairs and recliners, is carved and covered with velvet. Two small glass lamps hang from the bright ceramic covered ceiling. Finally, a few colonial canvases of several saints, including the Ecuadorians Mariana de Jesús and Brother Miguel (these two from the mid-twentieth century), adorn the walls of this spiritual hall of Carondelet.

Yellow Room or Presidents in Carondelet

It is located in the northwestern corner of the second floor of the building, overlooking the courtyard of the garages. Its yellow velvet upholstered walls with gold trim give it the traditional name. In this room are the portraits of all the constitutional presidents of the Republic of Ecuador since 1830 dressed in full dress and wearing the presidential band, and it is precisely because of these paintings that from the Republican era also began to be called Hall of the Presidents.

The space was designed by the Tejada brothers, who are the artisans of the ceiling coffered ceiling, modulated in hexagonal and geometric planes and a cedar marquetry that make reference to the unconditional period of the Ecuadorian territory, specifically the cult of the Sun god; These significant wall lights are framed in gold leaf by the Ecuadorian artist Luis Villagómez. The two large chandeliers that hang from the ceiling, like the several small wall and two pedestal, are made of Baccarat crystal and were imported from Europe. Rock crystal mirrors on Louis XV style consoles and women's sculptures with allegories of freedom and knowledge complete the decoration of this space. The furniture, between chairs and armchairs, is upholstered with fine fabrics in colors to match that of the Salon.
The paintings of the various heads of state, drawn up by several artists with their own style, undoubtedly represent a way of expression that they are reunited in each and every one of their works. Throughout an exhaustive analysis, it has been observed that all the portraits with the exception of one (Osvaldo Hurtado) present in this collection have a common denominator: the use of traditional technique. Although the paintings studied reach more than 170 years of the political evolution of the Ecuadorian Republican era, the desire to maintain the naturalistic academic means has remained.
Within the group of paintings, sixteen are signed by the author and twenty are anonymous; This traditional custom of not signing the works, a colonial heritage, does not allow a specific historical and artistic study since it is not appropriate to make an attribution without the support of supporting documentation, which in this particular case does not exist. In the hall there are no paintings by the Heads of State during the times of dictatorship, nor by those in charge of power or who assumed it unconstitutionally, since only space is allocated to those who have been legally possessed by the Congress or Assembly after a popular choice. It is for this reason that Fabian Alarcon's portrait was removed in recent years.

Manuela Sáenz Carondelet cabinet

Also called Antechamber of the Presidential Office or Protocol Office, it is located in the front of the second floor of the south wing of the Palace, with access to the Grand Balcony, and is part of the areas restricted to the public.

The living room is covered with half-paneled wooden panels and a delicate wallpaper in light colors with vertical lines. Plaster moldings painted in gold on the white ceiling highlight a glass lamp of Peruvian origin that hangs over the center of the room. The portraits of Simón Bolívar, Manuela Sáenz, Antonio José de Sucre and Eugenio Espejo stand out; You can also see a bronze statue of the Marshal of Ayacucho, which stands on a small pedestal next to the saloon with furniture from the mid-twentieth century, which has a bullet hole in its back, left there as a souvenir of the military attempt of 1975. In this space there is also an old presidential desk of the 19th century, on which a small bust of General Eloy Alfaro has been placed.

Presidential Office in Carondelet

The Presidential Office is currently in a spacious hall, whose windows face the Plaza de la Independencia and Espejo Steet, in the southeast corner of the second floor of the Palace. It also has a small side door that allows access to the Great Balcony.

Third Floor of Carondelet

Located in the north wing there is a small elevator that leads to the third floor of the Palace, where the Presidential Residence is located. The hall leading to the elevator is decorated with a large oil painting that reproduces a colonial portrait of the Baron de Carondelet, president of the Royal Audience, Captain General of Quito and architect of the building.

The Residence was built during the third term of José María Velasco Ibarra, to settle there with his wife, Corina del Parral. The apartment has a large social space, which is intended to be the President and his family, where classic-style furniture is manufactured but manufactured in the mid-twentieth century and a large grand piano donated by the wife of Velasco Ibarra, In addition to an elegant dining room that serves for the President to offer private lunches or dinners to his most select guests. The tableware of the private dining room is decorated with the weapons of the Republic in gold, while in its sideboards an old tableware is stored, probably from the 19th century, which shows the first shield of Ecuador: two mountains on which the equinoctial sun is shown.

Several bedrooms, the kitchen and a terrace complete the Presidential Residence, which is decorated with works of art from the Central Bank collection. Abandoned during the various governments of Rafael Correa, who preferred to continue living in his private home north of Quito, the presidential residence was again occupied by President Lenin Moreno and his family.

Carondelet Palace History

The history of this emblematic building dates back to the colonial era, around 1570, with the acquisition of the first royal houses settled in the Quito city.

The first royal houses

The first headquarters of the Spanish Crown at the Audiencia of Quito operated near the convent and church of La Merced (current streets Cuenca and Chile) until around 1611, when Diego Suárez de Figueroa, secretary of the Audiencia, who owned a small mansion built on the western side of the central square (Plaza Grande). Unlike Lima and Mexico, where the conquerors Francisco Pizarro and Hernán Cortés reserved for themselves the best lots of the Plaza Mayor for their palaces, in Quito, Sebastián de Benalcázar made the foundation of the city in a place, located in the current Olmedo and Benalcázar streets, which was provisionally the Plaza Mayor. It moved a little further south several years later, and the houses of Benalcázar were several blocks away. For the rest, the founder of Quito continued his journey to present-day Colombia, where he settled and died.

Juan Fernández de Recalde, president of the Audiencia at that time, informed the king that the Suarez de Figueroa mansion that was located on the western flank of the Plaza Mayor, was at auction, and the Crown acquired it because it was a building larger and more comfortable to house the offices of the Hispanic Administration in Quito. From then on, the power of the Audience was rooted in the Plaza Grande.

Some time later, the successor of President Recalde, Antonio de Morga, informed the King that the royal houses were unworthy to carry that name, because they were already narrow and very old, so he proposed to buy the houses adjacent to the original palace. From then on, the set of three houses unified in a single facade underwent a series of transformations. The earthquake of 1627 forced to buy the neighboring buildings that, due to their age, were rebuilt of stonework, brick and lime that gave it its characteristic white color, in force until today.

The new Royal Palace
In 1799, Francisco Luis Héctor Barón de Carondelet was appointed president of the Audience. In 1801, he hired the Spanish Antonio García so that, under his direction, he carried out rehabilitation works and improvements, both in the Palace of the Audience and in the Cathedral

The Government Palace has given Quito and Ecuador the architectural image of the sovereignty of Power and command. It was that of the Royal Audience and under his solemn porch the listeners (of the Royal Audience) listened to the people. It is a palace built to listen, to be heard; open, with two large doors, with patios and corridors and very large roof. Between Hellenic and Andalusian, although its title was that of the Royal Palace. The undersigned deputies of the town, who sign the Act of August 10, 1809 say so: given and signed in the Royal Palace of Quito.

The presidents and general captains of Quito lived in the Palace with their families. They also had halls of honor and the courts of the Royal Court. Therefore, it is probable that the Spanish governors who died from illness, such as Carondelet or Murgueon, have died in their dormitories.

On August 10, 1809, Dr. Antonio Ante appeared at the Palace to wake up and overthrow Manuel Ruiz Urriés de Castilla, 1st count of Ruiz de Castilla, according to Pedro Fermín Cevallos.

Cevallos also tells that, during the Massacre of August 2, 1810, the Spaniards fired rifles from the Palace windows at the people who assaulted the Royal Barracks of Lima, from which a narrow street separates it. The Palace was the seat of the Sovereign Board of Quito, and the Independence Act of August 10 and the constitution of the State of Quito of 1812 were signed in its halls.

After the Spanish reconquest, it hosted the last three Spaniards who ruled a decade in the name of the crown: Generals Toribio Montes, Juan Ramírez Orozco, Marshal Juan de la Cruz Mourgeon and Captain General Melchor de Aymerich. On May 25, 1822, the act of capitulation of the Spanish Army in Ecuador was signed in its halls, ending Hispanic rule over the country, which had been established by the conqueror Sebastián de Benalcázar in 1534.

After the Ecuadorian independence process, culminated in 1822 with the Battle of Pichincha, the palace became the headquarters of the Department of the South of Gran Colombia, receiving Marshal Antonio José de Sucre and Liberator Simón Bolívar on some occasions, who marveled with the elegance and austerity of the building, in addition to being delighted with the good taste of the Baron de Carondelet (main driver of the work), so it was Bolivar himself who would have called him Carondelet Palace, even signing several decrees he wrote in The building under that name.

The republican Carondelet: 19th and 20th centuries

When General Juan José Flores was elected President of the Republic of Ecuador in 1830, he installed the capital of the new State in Quito city, and the headquarters of the National Government in the Carondelet Palace. It was remodeled by the architect Teodoro Lavezzari conferred a neoclassical appearance.

Gabriel García Moreno, constitutional president twice (1861-1865 and 1869-1875), had a public clock placed together with three bells in the central frontispiece of the façade, which he built for this purpose. The National Museum of the House of Ecuadorian Culture shows the Carondelet of the mid-nineteenth century with the albiceleste flag in the center of the facade, but not perched on the aforementioned frontispiece. With the same president García Moreno, this flag was replaced by the great Colombian tricolor, this being the one that flies to the present day in the Government Palace.

Since 1866 Carondelet also became the seat of the Ecuadorian legislative power, which had been operating since independence in the cloister of San Buenaventura of the clerical complex of San Francisco. For this purpose, a section was built in the back of the building, which would house the Senate and Congress rooms.

During the republican and moderated times, almost all constitutional presidents, interim and dictators have dispatched from the Carondelet Palace, but the residential use of the building was gradually lost throughout the 19th century, due to the needs of office space of the new Republic. By 1875, the presidents no longer lived in the Palace, being García Moreno himself who consolidated the administrative use of the building, since he lived on a plot that currently bears the name of House of Mayors located in the Plaza de la Independencia and subsequently began to inhabit his own residence which is located in the Plaza Santo Domingo.

On August 6, 1875, the Palace was the scene of the bloodiest chapter in its history with the assassination of President Gabriel García Moreno. A stone plaque recalls the crime scene with the following legend: God does not die. Here the President of the Republic, Dr. Gabriel García Moreno, was murdered on August 6, 1875. The phrase "God does not die" were the last words of the President before he died.

At the beginning of the 20th century, with the provision in Quito of electric light, telephone and telegraph, the Carondelet Palace was modernized. The Palace already had a telephone connection, which allowed the President to telephone members of his Cabinet. Alfaro and his Minister of War followed by telegraph, from the Government Palace, the incidents of several conservative revolts, such as occurred in Tulcán in the early years of the Liberal Revolution.

During the republican and moderated times, almost all constitutional presidents, interim and dictators have dispatched from the Carondelet Palace, but the residential use of the building was gradually lost throughout the 19th century, due to the needs of office space of the new Republic. By 1875, the presidents no longer lived in the Palace, being García Moreno himself who consolidated the administrative use of the building, since he lived on a plot that currently bears the name of House of Mayors located in the Plaza de la Independencia and subsequently began to inhabit his own residence which is located in the Plaza Santo Domingo.


On August 6, 1875, the Palace was the scene of the bloodiest chapter in its history with the assassination of President Gabriel García Moreno. A stone plaque recalls the crime scene with the following legend: God does not die. Here the President of the Republic, Dr. Gabriel García Moreno, was murdered on August 6, 1875. The phrase "God does not die" were the last words of the President before he died.


At the beginning of the 20th century, with the provision in Quito of electric light, telephone and telegraph, the Carondelet Palace was modernized. The Palace already had a telephone connection, which allowed the President to telephone members of his Cabinet. Alfaro and his Minister of War followed by telegraph, from the Government Palace, the incidents of several conservative revolts, such as occurred in Tulcán in the early years of the Liberal Revolution.

Due to the lack of a presidential apartment, in 1928, President Isidro Ayora ordered the purchase of a mansion, located on Guayaquil and Mejía streets, in the Historic Center of Quito, as the home of the presidents. The house, which had been built in 1895, was inaugurated by President Ayora with a sumptuous gala dance in the second floor hall. This mansion was used as Presidential House until 1939, being the last president to use it President Aurelio Mosquera Narváez who died in his bedroom. It was also occupied, during his first presidency, by President José María Velasco Ibarra. Currently, the House of Presidents houses units of the Municipality of Quito.

According to the book "The Palace of Carondelet" published by the Presidency of the Republic during the Government of Sixto Durán-Ballén, the old colonial building, which had been expanded in the 19th century to allow the operation of Congress in a large hall, was completely demolished during the reconstruction arranged in 1956 by President Camilo Ponce Enriquez, in which Durán-Ballén himself participated as Minister of Public Works. Only the brick facade was preserved, and a modern reinforced concrete building was attached, which is the one that remains until today.

Even the columns of the main facade, which were originally made of brick, were replaced by the current ones, made of stone, during the same rebuilding. Unlike similar processes such as the rebuilding of the White House in Washington or Number 10 of Downing Street in London, the original state of the Palace was not taken into account for its reconstruction, so the current halls are completely modern and not coincide with the use and decoration they had in colonial times and the nineteenth-century Republic.

In several photographs, both from the time of Eloy Alfaro (1906) and from the presidency of Galo Plaza (1948) it is possible to appreciate the original presidential office, of which absolutely nothing is preserved.

Before the rebuilding of 1956, the Palace had two steps to climb to the second floor. They highlighted two statues: the Allegory of the Constitution, and that of Justice. Both were removed from the Palace.


The journalist Raúl Andrade, wrote in issue 288 of the Vistazo Magazine, that the distribution of the space in the Government Palace was the following before the remodeling of 1956:

During the rebuilding the presidential use of the south wing of the Palace was maintained, while the north wing became entirely the Banquet Hall and kitchens, connected to the Yellow Room.

In addition to the administrative units, the Presidential Residence is located on the third level of the Palace. This floor was added in 1956, during the reconstruction, taking advantage of the new foundations of the reinforced concrete building, since the colonial Palace had only two floors.

The facade of the Palace until 1956 was reproduced in a postal stamp of ten cents issued by the Correos del Ecuador, with the legend "Government Palace-Quito" and which was published in the book "Escorzos de historia patria" by historian Jorge Salvador Lara . The seal shows eight doors to García Moreno street that were closed as well as some details of the clock bell tower.

Besieged Carondelet: Cuartelazos and coups

As the seat of the executive power of the nation, the Carondelet Palace has also been the constant scene of several episodes of political instability in the recent history of Ecuador.

During all these episodes, elite units of the Ecuadorian Army guarded the Palace, and were in charge of evacuating the overthrown presidents before the violent threat of the protesters who came to their doors, although they did not cause damage.


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