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The name is due to a promise of the priest Julio María Matovelle to overthrow the dictator of the Republic, Ignacio de Veintemilla. According to historian Enrique Ayala Mora, Matovelle and the Restauradores, a political movement opposed to Veintemilla, made a national vote to build the largest basilica in the country if Veintemilla came out of power. And so it was, in 1883 the Restauradores defeated him. But it was not until 1890 when the construction of this temple began.


The Basilica was built in the San Juan neighborhood. In 1890 the first stone was laid, after six years (1884) the National Congress approved its building. It has seven access doors, three on the facade and four sides. The conception of the Oblate priests, at that time, was that the church should be majestic “to remember that it represents the consecrated Heart of Jesus, which is social justice,” explains Father Ramiro Cristancho.

Its design, in the form of a Gothic cross, was made by the French architect Emilio Tarlier since 1890. The European influence stands out in the Basilica, as the facade resembles the Cathedral of Burgos (Spain) and that of Notre Dame (France ). The difference is in the color of the stone.