During the early 20th century, many of Quito’s social elite built lavish mansions in La Mariscal district. The Palace of Circasiana is one of the most opulent examples of this era. The 33,300 square foot, Neo-Renaissance estate was designed by Francisco Schmidt to emulate an Italian villa. This was the residence of the Jijón family from 1904 until it was sold in 1992. The landmark is occupied by the National Institute of Cultural Heritage. INPC is a government agency charged with researching and preserving the cultural history of Ecuador.