The first temple was run by the Dominican Fathers who arrive to Guayaquil in the year of 1548, according to a plaque located in the facade of the Santo Doming church, which is located at the foot of the then Cerrito Verde, currently Santa Ana Hill.
The existing church was built in 1938, based on a project of Italian architect Paolo Russo (1885-1971). It was the fifth building constructed in the same location, since the previous ones had to be rebuilt for material damages and fires.
The central nave has a barrel vault and two lateral naves of lower height; two chapels are located in the interior, one devoted to the veneration of the Blessed Sacrament that has a marble entablature of baroque style with the image of the Eucharist or Holy Grail in the upper part, and a pelican feeding its chicks in the inferior part, which represent the Divinity feeding the body, the soul and the spirit. The other chapel located to the right, has a baroque entablature with a marble basin used for baptismal ceremonies.
At the entrance of the temple the visitor can appreciate a space that recreates the climatic chambers of the old European churches, where several doors were opened in sequence to avoid the early morning cold winds that affected the people that attended the Midnight Mass. In previous times, these climate chambers were used as reflection spaces where the faithful awaited in silence the moment when the priest rang the church bells to invite them to mass.
In the steps that lead to Santo Domingo church, at the foot of the hills where the settlement of the city started, the visitor will find a cross that remembers the old tradition of the medieval churches, within a natural environment that shows the depression formed by the Santa Ana and Carmen hills, which resembles a riding saddle, reason why, Guayaquil was once called the “riding saddle” city.
The colonial interior has thick walls and a tall central nave of vaulted ceiling that invites to silence. Architect Paolo Russo built the sober and conventual church according to the plans made in Europe, which keeps its original walls of one meter wide. The visitor can appreciate three naves that form the symbolic design of the building: the lateral nave to the left represents mercy; the one to the right is allusive to justice; and the central nave –of greater height- integrates the two meanings of love.
The central nave has the only remaining pulpit in Guayaquil, which was crafted in marble with a sounding board that remembers the times where there were no speakers and the priest left the altar to give the homily during mass.
The adobe wall of 500 years old is located to one side of the sacristy and also the traditional gardens of the convents of the monastic orders, which symbolized the interior garden that each one of us should cultivate.
The lateral naves have beautiful baroque altars crafted in Carrara marble; which fill with the light that comes from the byzantine dome. The interior has images of La Dolorosa, the Divine Child, Santa Marianita, Santa Catalina de Siena and Santa Rosa de Lima; also of San Vicente, San Judas Tadeo, San Jacinto, Santo Tomas de Aquino and San Martin de Porres.