Every year before Easter as many as 10,000 Catholics hit the streets of Cuenca to participate in Maunday Thursday. This tradition dates back to Roman times when Christian pilgrims visited the city's seven basilicas as an act of penance. Cuenca attracts thousands of visitors for this event because of the proximity of churches in the historic district.
Cynthia and I happened to be downtown on Thursday at a going away party for friends who are moving to Spain. When we left the restaurant at around 10 PM we were stunned to find the streets absolutely packed with pedestrians. We'd never done the seven churches walk before and spontaneously decided, "What the heck, we're here--let's do it!"
I happened to have my camera with me so here are some photos:
Vendors were everywhere making sure no one was hungry.
Here's the New Cathedral under a full moon.
As this is by far our biggest church there were tons of people going in and out.
Some other shots from churches along the way.
Many of our churches are beautifully lit at night, but we discovered they must be on timers that go off at 10:30. I wish I had a better photo for you.
We made it to five churches before heading home. On the way we crossed the Tomebamba river
and walked down our very quiet street after a busier than expected evening.