The Metropolitan Cultural Center is located in one of the main buildings of the downtown, southern side of the Government Palace. The Metropolitan Cultural Center building has been an essential part of Quito, both historically and in daily life, since its origin.
The colonial building was erected in the seventeenth century. It was built next to the famous church of La Compañia de Jesus and was one more immovable property of the Jesuit order. This construction was erected to be a Seminary and later to create the University of San Gregorio Magno.
This building had an educational sense since its beginning. The Jesuit Order founded St. Louis University in this place. Then it merged with the University of Santo Domingo in the eighteenth century and thus was born the University Of St. Thomas De Aquino. For the next century, and established the Republic, the University became the University of Quito and finally in the s. XIX became the “Universidad Central del Ecuador”. The building also was the “Escuela Politécnica Nacional” campus in that century.
The architectural complex originally built by the Jesuits was changing over time, and spaces were used for different purposes. In addition to always have a large library; the building housed military barracks (real soldiers and dragons, as well as military officers of the fledgling Ecuador republic), convents, pharmacies, schools, tobacco factory, prisons, and coffees. Certain spaces functioned as Casa de la Moneda, National Printing, National Museum and meeting room for the National Congress.
Here were educated and taught several important figures in history and politics of the region. As an example: Charles La Condamine who used the laboratories of the University of San Gregorio for his research in conjunction with the French Geodesic Mission. Over all, the illustrious Eugenio Espejo: he was a Quito thinker with progressive libertarian ideas. His thoughts grew and spread in this building. He was in charge of the Public Library where he edited the first newspaper of the Royal Audience of Quito, "Primicias de la Cultura de Quito." Unfortunately, because of its strong political activity, Espejo finished his days in jail in one of the neighboring barracks to the same library where he worked.
Universidad Central del Ecuador campus functioned in this place until 1967, year in which moved to the present citadel. The rest of the building was used by Municipio for some of their offices, except the library which works until now. The Municipio worked here until 1997 when it began a complete restoration of the building. Ended in 2000, the year in which the building became the current Centro Cultural Metropolitano, an institution entirely dedicated to cultural management.
Today, Centro Cultural Metropolitano coexists with the remodeled Biblioteca Municipal, which possesses a large collection, especially old books dating from colonial times, also offers Internet access to the municipal libraries local network, for any type of research.
The Centro Cultural Metropolitano offers with regularity temporary exhibitions of various types of art: painting, sculpture, photography, etc.. In the older barracks of the Royal Audience of Quito, works the Alberto Mena Caamano Museum and its permanent room "De Quito al Ecuador" where, with wax figures, is recreate the massacre of August 2nd , 1810 in the same place where the facts happened. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9h00 to 16h30; the entry fee is $ 1.5 for adults, $ 0.75 $ 0.50 college students and for children and seniors.
The most important and bigger section into this building is the Municipal Library, which has several rooms and a large collection of books. It is open from 8h00 to 19h00 from Monday to Friday, Saturday from 9h00 to 17h00 and Sundays from 9h00 to 13h00.
Telephone: (+5932) 2284018
Centro Cultural Metropolitano de Quito is located exactly in the corner of Garcia Moreno and Espejo Street. It’s open to the public from 8h00 to 17h00. Most temporary exhibits are free and can be appreciated from 9.00am.
Centro Cultural Metropolitano building had had many uses throughout history and has been a silent witness of all events that have marked the history of Quito and Ecuador.
Centro Cultural Metropolitano is located in the heart of Quito, diagonal to the Plaza Grande or Independencia.
In this Cultural Center are frequently offered several temporary exhibitions, most are free.
Alberto Mena Caamano Museum works within it, offers a permanent exhibition of the stage of independence in Quito.