Ecuador Capital "Quito"

Quito is Ecuador capital and this lovely city was founded in 1534 by Sebastian de Benalcazar.

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The city was built on the ruins of the old city of Quito, one of the capitals of the Inca Empire, which sits at 2,800 mts above sea level.

Ecuador Quito is situated in the Inter Andean valley, it is the pride of Ecuadorians and an object of international admiration.

Quito was declared Cultural Patrimony of Mankind by the UNESCO.

Besides its amazing landscapes, surrounded by hills and several snowcapped mountains, Ecuador capital is known for its treasures of Colonial Churches, paintings, sculptures and carvings. 


San Francisco Colonial Church

ecuador capital quito

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The Spanish Colonial period extends from the XVI to the XVIII Century. The excellent workmanship of Ecuadorian colonial art combine the European Renaissance and Baroque styles with the indigenous and mestizo influences.

Spanish conquerors began the construction of churches and convents right after the conquest. The Roman Catholic Church then became the center of religious instruction and promotion of arts. More about Spanish Colonial Churches

As part of the acculturation of the indigenous people, the Spanish established painting and sculpture schools where Spanish artists trained the indigenous population in the arts.

As a result, the Quitenian School (Escuela Quiteña) became famous in Latin America for its talented artists, including Bernardo de Legarda and the indigenous artists Caspicara and pampite.

Ecuador capital, Quito has conserved 86 Colonial period churches, as well as a large historical old-town area, with architecture of Spanish school.

The Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits, Augustinians and Mercedarians also contributed to make Quito a city with many churches and monasteries, with plazas and retreats embellished by religious statues and paintings of extraordinary beauty.

Quito is the center of Ecuadorian nationality. It is here where the first Outcry for Independenceof South America was raised on August 10th 1809.

The fight for liberty culminated in the Battle of Pichincha, in 1822, observed by Quito's inhabitants from bell towers, terraces and balconies. Read about the Independence of Ecuador

Ecuador capital (Quito) has grown to an area of over 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres), with a population estimated at about two million.

The city has grown north and south, and climbed up the foothill of the Pichincha Volcano, an inactive volcano west of Quito.

This city has also spilled over into the neighboring valleys, Los Chillos and Tumbaco, thanks to improved roadways that allow Quito to break out of its geographically imposed narrowness.

Ecuador Capital Climate

Quito's climate is Temperate, ranging from 53 - 70 F (13 - 20 C) during the day and 40 - 50 F (8 - 11 C) in the evening. The rainy season, January through May, is somewhat cooler.

From June to September, the days are drier, sunny and windy, with temperatures averaging 60 - 75 F (15 - 22 C). The temperature drops at night, sometimes to 40 F (8 C) or lower.

ecuador quito

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Government Palace:
The balconies in the gallery facing the Independence Square were originally from the French government.

The Cathedral:
Also on the main Square, the Cathedral has an interesting collection of Colonial sculptures and paintings.

Cultural Center:
Right next to the main Square, the buildings originally built by the Jesuits in the XVII Century were remodeled to house a monumental Cultural Center.

El Sagrario Church:
This church was originally the main chapel of the cathedral, built for the cult of the blessed Sacrament. It has been kept for this service until these days.

La Compañia de Jesus Church:
Across the street from el Sagrario you find this church, one of the richest in America. The extraordinary façade can be described as a lace-work on stone.

The splendor that meets your eye as you go into the church is unforgettable: the vaulted ceiling and the walls with beautiful Moorish ornamentation, the perfect harmony and the richness of the main altar, the reproduction of the Salomon columns of the façade, the incredible clustered Baroque in the tribunes on both sides of the main altar, in the pulpit and in the lateral chapels.

San Francisco Church:
This church was built after the Spanish Conquest and is said to have given the capital of Ecuador its proper name: San Francisco de Quito. The atrium running along one side of the plaza is opened in the middle to give way to a beautiful staircase.

The main altar holds the original masterpiece by Legarda: "La Virgen de Quito" (Quito's Virgin). This sculpture is the only winged image of Virgin Mary in colonial art.

El Panecillo:
Many historical happenings took place on this natural hill that stands in Ecuador capital (Quito). Panecillo means "little bread" referring to its peculiar size and shape.

The Virgin that stands on the hill, which consists of 7,000 pieces of aluminum, is a modern representation of the famous "Virgen de Quito" (Virgin of Quito).

There is a balcony in the upper part of the pedestal of the Virgin, that provides a beautiful view of the colonial and the modern Ecuador capital "Quito".

Quito Middle of the World Monument

equator middle of the world

The Middle of the World:
This popular site is located 25 minutes from Quito. You can visit an Ethnic Museum here, shop and place one foot on the Northern Hemisphere and the other on the Southern Hemisphere.

At this site don't miss the Solar Culture Museum, which displays the latest investigations about the real middle of the world.

THE REAL MIDDLE OF THE WORLD

A close friend of mine who's a researcher and scientist Cristobal Cobo in the Ecuadorian Andes has uncovered evidence of a civilization of astronomers who, as far back as 1500 BC, were capable of calculating the movement of the sun with incredible accuracy.

Quitsa-to, the original name of Ecuador Capital, means Middle of the Earth in the ancient tsafiqui language.

Quito is the only site on the planet where the Equator line crosses over highlands. On the rest of the Earth's surface, it crosses through jungle or ocean.

Therefore, the pre-Inca cultures could develop their astronomical knowledge helped by the clear landmarks surrounding the Ecuador's capital: the Pichincha volcano (15,000 ft) to the West, the Antisana (18,700 ft) to the East and the peak of the snow-caped Cayambe (18,725 ft) to the Northeast, almost precisely on the Equator.

Ecuador capital (Quito) emerges over 9,184 ft above sea level; it is the second highest capital city in the world.

Thus this city is the best natural astronomical observatory.

Every year thousands of tourists come to visit a stone obelisk surrounded by a beautiful colonial city 17 kilometers north of Quito.

Marking the point where an expedition of French astronomers measured the equator in 1736, the Mitad del Mundo, or Middle of the World, is said to lie exactly on zero degrees latitude.

By straddling a yellow line running east-west from the foot of the monument, visitors to Ecuador believe they are standing in two hemispheres at once. Unfortunately for the tourists, the Mitad del Mundo is in the wrong place.

The real equator, according to the Ecuadorian Scientist Cristobal Cobo, lies some 300 meters to the north, bisecting a mountain with a bowl-like summit and a long ramp-like ridge.

Known to Ecuadorian Indians as Catequilla, this mountain is topped by a low semicircular wall, marking the exact Middle of the World.

This is incredible since Ecuadorian Indians knew the exact Middle of the World thousands of years ago, and we just discovered it only a couple of years ago.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)
With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading! There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers. Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World
Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in. Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands
If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier. But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you. Small, well-priced, and reliable!

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire
The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table. This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


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