Sometimes my eyeballs pop out of their sockets (painful!!) when I ask native Cuencanans if they've been to/seen such-n-such place around Cuenca. "No". WHAT??? You've lived here all your life and you haven't done this, this, or that? You didn't know Cuenca had a zoo? You've never been to a symphony concert which is FREEEEE? Have you been to your back yard?
It was just recently I became aware you can climb one of the Cathedral's towers. So, I added it to my 'To Do' list.
Today I did it. ✅
The main cathedral in Cuenca is just 3 blocks from my apartment and it's three blue domes are probably the most photographed. Though it looks much older, construction started in 1885 and took nearly a century to build, finally being consecrated in 1967.
I walked over to the newly opened 'Calle Santa Ana' which is a restored pedestrian corridor sandwiched between the cathedral and the old Seminary San Luis. It had been closed off over 50 years. Many people didn't realize it even existed. The city plans to use the passageway to showcase local arts/crafts vendors.
Just as I walked in, I noticed a tiny alcove with a young lady at a desk and stairs twisting upward next to her. AHHHH....so THIS is where you access the tower!! I paid a $2 entry fee and up I went...170 steps.
At the top is a wonderful terrace between the two towers where you can almost see 360 of Cuenca. One reason I never knew the public could go up there is because it's very difficult to see people up there from the ground. But they can see US!!
I'll shut-up and let the photos do the talking.
|The terrace you climb to is to the left and right of the statue you see at the top/middle.|
The two towers were never completed as planned due to a grave mistake the architect made. If completed the foundation would not support the additional weight.
|Newly re-opened Calle Santa Ana|
|Looking straight up through the interior of the tower.|
|Looking back down to the Seminary San Luis plaza|
|When you've reached the top, you exit this.|
|I wanted to keep going up, buttttt.....|
|When you exit the stairs this is where you land.|
|The terrace has steel bleacher-like steps on both sides so you can get a better look-see over the brick 'railings'.|
|Off to the right.|
Wait a minute...is this another OSHA moment? No railings? And they could fall off the other side!!
Where are the Law Offices of Cogburn, Salatka, Goldstein, & Leitz?
|Parque Calderon...the center of the universe in Cuenca.|
The 8 pine trees you see in the center were planted as seedlings over 120 years ago!
|Panorama shot. Many government buildings line the perimeter of Parque Calderon.|
|Nice example of the wonderful architecture we have here. I want that penthouse on the roof!! I never knew it was there until I could see it from atop the Cathedral!!!|
So, that was the view from the left side of the terrace. Now, let's look off to the right.
|Workers restoring/maintaining the exterior surfaces of the Cathedral.|
|Looking towards the Cajas Mountains and Santo Domingo church (lower right).|
|Headed back down to street level.|
And now today....
|The Cathedral towers over the Seminary San Luis Plaza, and sardined in-between the two is the newly re-opened Calle Santa Ana (shown at the beginning of this blog).|
|Along Calle Santa Ana are reminders of the fire. Several charred, but still sturdy, support posts won't let the public forget that what they see today could've been lost forever.|
Referring back to the title of this blog entry....this is what I did for all of one hour today, just 3 blocks from my apartment. For those of you who live here (either native or a newbie), get your butts up and out of your barcolounger and get out and SEE and EXPERIENCE the Cuenca you've chosen to live in!!! 🙆