Quito

Quito is the capital city of Ecuador.

Located in a valley on the western slopes of Pichincha, an active volcano in the Andes mountains, its elevation of around 2850 meters (9300 feet) above sea level makes it one of the world's highest capital cities.

More information to add:

  • Population
  • Size
  • Geography
    • Location
    • Geographic landmarks
  • People
  • Culture
  • History
    • Pre-history
    • Incas/Pre-Columbian
    • Contact (with Europeans)
    • European Conquest & Colonization
    • Modern Era

Table of contents
1 History
2 Points of Interest

History

On May 24, 1822 Simón Bolívar won the Battle of Pichincha securing the independence of Quito.

On Feburary 12, 1949, a realistic broadcast of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds panicked most of the residents. A mob set fire to the radio station and the offices of El Comercio, the capital's leading newspaper, killing twenty people. The property damage was estimated at $350,000. Three officials charged with responsibility for the broadcast were arrested.

Points of Interest

Panecillo

The Panecillo is a hill about halfway down the Quito valley, on which has been built a Madonna, standing on top of a globe and stepping on a snake, which of course is classic madonna iconography. What is not so traditional is that she has wings. The people of Quito proudly claim that she is the only one in the world with wings like an angel. Driving up to the Panecillo affords a wonderful view of the whole town.

Museo del Banco Central

This museum is excellent, on the ground floor it has a marvellous and quite vast collection of pre-colonial and partially even pre-Incaic potteries, sculptures, gold, lithics, and even a mummified body. There are also some beautiful miniature reconstructions that help evoke the way various parts of Ecuador must have looked like, from the Pambamarca fort to the Cochasqui temple complex. There is also the famous golden sun mask (the one that resembles the Agamemnon mask from Mycenae) of the La Tolita culture. The other two floors are dedicated to artwork from Colonial times (mainly Baroque madonnas and such) and contemporary work.

Old Town

The "centro historico", historical center, as it is called, has many appealing plazas and baroque churches. There are also many markets going on, locals peddling wares, few tourists (who all stay in another, sanitized, part of town, La Mariscal), an interesting museum of local history, and a brothel. This is essentially an area where poor people live, so visitors should be mindful of their belongings.

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