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From a distance, the hill that hosts a huge statue of the winged virgin does indeed look like a panecillo (small bread roll). Because it's directly south of the city, this hill was an ideal spot to construct the 45m-high (148-ft.) Virgen de Quito, an enlarged copy of Bernardo de Lagarda's La Virgen de Quito sculpture that is on display on the main altar in the San Francisco church. The Panecillo stands at about 3,000m (9,843 ft.), so you can also see the sculpture from the center of Quito.

The significance of the Panecillo hill dates back to Inca times, when it was known as Shungoloma (Hill of the Heart). Before the Spanish arrived, the Incas used this hill as a place to worship the sun. Later, from 1812-15, the Spanish constructed a fortress here to control what was going on down below. These days, most people come up here for the 360-degree views of Quito. Tip: For the best vistas, try to get here early in the morning (around 10am), before the clouds settle in around the nearby mountains. On a clear day, you can see Cotopaxi in the distance. This is a relatively quick ride from Old Town, and a taxi should only cost about $3 (£2) each way. A half-hour is all you'll need to take in the sights.