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Quito is the capital of Ecuador and was founded in 1534 on the ruins of an ancient Inca city. Today, two million people live in Quito. It was the first city to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 (together with Krakow in Poland) . Quito is roughly divided into three parts, namely the old city in the middle and on both sides of this the southern and northern district.
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The old city center of Quito has undergone a major restoration program over the past ten years. This is mainly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. The center has no less than 40 churches, 17 squares and 16 monasteries. It is also called the 'Treasury of the Americas' for its richness in architecture and cultural heritage. It's a great neighborhood to stroll through. There are several excellent museums and numerous restaurants and cafes with terraces where you can have a snack and a drink in between visiting the many sights.
Quito is located in the northwest of South America, the city is located in the northern part of Ecuador. Quito is located at an altitude of 2,800 meters above sea level and has a total area of 324 square kilometers. The city is the second highest capital in the world.
Quito's unique location on the equator and 2,800 meters above sea level means that the weather feels like spring all year round. Temperatures hover around 20ºC but lower by evening. Clear mornings and more cloud in the afternoons are typical of Quito's weather. The driest months and the best time to travel are June to September.
Quito is the oldest South American capital and still retains much of its colonial past. Founded during the 1st millennium AD, Quito became the fortified capital of several indigenous groups, including the Quito. In 1487 the city was annexed by the Incas and in 1534 Quito was conquered by the Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar, a lieutenant of Francisco Pizarro. The Spaniards made Quito the capital.
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In 1822, the city was liberated by Antonio Jose de Sucre, a commander of the South American forces fighting against Spanish rule. Quito was Ecuador's main economic center until the early 20th century when it was supplanted by Guayaquil. Quito was hit by a number of earthquakes in the 20th century. In the 20th century, Quito experienced spectacular growth, mainly due to industrialization and the migration from the countryside to the city.
Places of interest
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People can feel Eucador's heartbeat when they visit Quito. The old important city has a large collection on the art, history and culture of Ecuador. The Parque Metropolitano is the largest urban park in South America. There are other beautiful parks such as La Carolina and La Alameda, which is home to the oldest astronomical observatory in South America. El Panecillo is a hill in the middle of the city. Here the statue of the Virgin Mary is on top and there is a spectacular view of the whole city.
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The Museo del Banco Central in modern Quito showcases artifacts from Ecuador's past. You can spend a few hours exploring the Pre-Columbian art and the exquisite masks and collections on display in the colonial, republican and contemporary art rooms.
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Glide down the slopes of the spectacular Pichincha volcano in the town's cable car. The cable car departs a kilometer from Quito over the side of the Pichincha volcano to a height of 4,000 meters, a dizzying height that offers breathtaking views of the city. There are other attractions too, including the Disney-style Vulqano fun park. You can also take short walks and visit some cafébars.
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High above old Quito stands the colossal 45 meter high Virgin of Quito on the Panecillo hill. The virgin is depicted with a snake at her feet. She is both the patron saint and the emblem of the city. Enjoy the view of the city from the promenade or climb to the top of the viewing platform.
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In the perfectly preserved colonial center of Quito, market stalls with hand-woven Panama hats line steep, narrow streets. Admire the beautiful details of these hats, the perfect souvenir from your vacation in Quito. The best Panama hats can be found at Homero Ortega&Hijos in the New Town or opt for fair-trade wooden bowls and woven mats at the Sinchi Sacha Foundation in the Old Town. The La Mariscal district is the best place for old crafts. You will find Lama wool carpets and jewelery and ethnic art. Shops are open Monday to Saturday 9 am-6pm.
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Many travel agencies organize trips to the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Islands are world famous for its wildlife (penguins, many beautiful birds, reptiles, turtles, sea lions, dolphins etc.). Darwin was already fascinated by the animals of the Galapagos Islands and did research here. A trip to the Galapagos is not cheap, expect about $ 1000 for a four day trip.
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The jungle west of Quito (el Oriente) is another popular destination. Jungle expeditions can be organized or booked on site with one of the agencies in Quito. Trips are possible with or without guidance and with or without rafting or boat trips. Make sure you know all the details before booking.
Click the menu button at the top left of the screen for more informationLast updated March 2021
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