El Panecillo (from Spanish panecillo small piece of bread) is one of the icons sites in the the city of Quito, it stands in the middle of the city like a natural viewpoint from which the Andean beauty of the area and the urban layout of the city can be enjoyed. The hill received its epithet of the Spanish conquistadors, but it is believed that its real name is “Shungoloma” in Quichua means “hill of the heart”. In pre-Inca times there was a temple dedicated to the worship of the sun god, called Yavirac, which was destroyed by the Rumiñahui Indian while his troops resisted the Spanish advance.
The Panecillo hill, with three thousand meters above sea level, is a reference for Quito because it marks the division between the south and the center of the city and still maintains the legacy of the Inca period because there is the Olla del Panecillo, a sort of circular pit eight meters deep that was used to irrigate crops.
Years later, during the Spanish domination, the place served to collect rainwater to irrigate the gardens of the Spanish mansion Bellavista and then was used as a defense site of the colonial troops during the libertarian battle of Pichincha on May 24 1822.
In 1976, the Spanish artist Agustin de la Herran Matorras made in aluminum the monument to the Virgin Mary located at the top of the hill. It is composed of seven thousand pieces and is considered the largest representation of aluminum in the world.
To go to the Panecillo, especially within the monument of the Virgin of Quito, we recommend going between 9h00 and 18h00 from Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9h00 to 17h00.
There are a couple of restaurants located at the top of the hill where you can enjoy a spectacular view of Quito, in addition to taste an exquisite meal.