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It's believed that after the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, in 1492, many Moorish artists sought refuge in South America. The current Iglesia de la Merced, a delightful example of Moorish design, only dates from 1737, but it was originally built in 1538. The resplendent gold-leaf altar, designed by the great Bernardo de Legarda, is pure baroque, while the ornate stucco work is mainly Moorish. Many of the oil paintings are by Víctor Mideros, one of the greatest Ecuadorean artists of the 20th century. If you have time (and it's still early in the morning), you can head around the corner to the convent, which dates back to the early 16th century and still houses the church's priests. Some of the highlights include the Neptune sculpture in the stone fountain and the 17th-century sun clock above the dome. The convent is open Monday through Saturday from 8 to 10:30am; the entrance is on Mejía near the corner of Cuenca. You'll only need 5 to 10 minutes here.