El Panecillo (from Spanish panecillo small piece of bread, diminutive of pan bread) is a 200-metre-high hill of volcanic-origin, with loess soil, located between southern and central Quito. Its peak is at an elevation of 3,016 metres (9,895 ft) above sea level. The original name used by the aboriginal inhabitants of Quito was Yavirac. According to Juan de Velasco, a Jesuit historian, there was a temple on top of Yavirac where the Indians worshiped the sun until it was destroyed by the Spanish conquistadores. The street that leads up to El Panecillo is named after Melchor Aymerich.
In 1976, the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras was commissioned by the religious order of the Oblates to build a 45-meter-tall stone monument of a madonna which was assembled on a high pedestal on the top of Panecillo. Called "Virgin of El Panecillo", it is made of seven thousand pieces of aluminium. The monument was inaugurated on March 28, 1976, by the 11th archbishop of Quito, Pablo Muñoz Vega. The statue was engineered and erected by Anibal Lopez of Quito.
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