Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island
Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,800 meters above sea level), it is the highest official capital city in the world. Located in Ecuador, South America, Quito is situated in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha Volcano, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 2,671,191; Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha Province and the seat of the Quito Canton|Metropolitan District of Quito. Quito
Quito, a beautiful city and capital of Ecuador, offers great cultural activity throughout its districts and is a great starting point for visits to the rest of Ecuador.
The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas, and is undoubtedly one of the cities main tourist attractions. Quito, along with Kraków, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978. The central square of Quito is located about 25 km south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 km of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as «Mitad del Mundo» (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word «ecuador» is spanish language for «equator».
Museums Museo del Banco Central. Located across from the Casa de la Cultura and adjacent to the Parque El Ejido, you’ll find perhaps Ecuador’s most renowned museum with different rooms, devoted to pre-Columbian, Colonial and gold works of art, among other topics. Some of the famous pieces include whistle bottles shaped like animals, elaborate gold headdresses and re-created miniature scenes of life along the Amazon.
Casa de la Cultura has galleries featuring local ecuadorian art, as well as hosting theatre, cinema, and dance performances. The building also is home to a big auditorium where concerts from a variety of local and international artists are performed. Depending on what you do, the entrance can range from free access towards several dollars.
Museo de la Ciudad. The Museo de la Ciudad is in the Old Town, on Garcia Moreno street, directly opposite the Carmen Alto monastery. A lovely museum with two floors encircling two quiet courtyards, the «Museo de la Ciudad» provides more of a social history of Ecuador than other museums in Quito. Re-enacted scenes from daily life of Ecuador’s citizens through the years include a hearth scene from a 16th-century home, a battle scene against the Spanish, and illustrations of the building of Iglesia de San Francisco church.
Centro Cultural Metropolitano. Located right by the Presidential Palace (Palacio de Carondelet), this museum regulary holds exhibits by leading contemporary ecuadorian and international artists. A must see if you go to the Old City.
Centro de Arte Contemporaneo. The Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC), located in the Old Town in Montevideo y Luis Avila streets., in an old refurbished building which used to be the old military hospital. It is a big museum with multiple shows and cultural events going on at once in its galleries, including concerts and performances. It is one of Quito’s main contemporary cultural hotspots. The building also has a beautiful view of the city and surrounding valleys.
Alianza Francesa. More than a French language education center, this cultural institute also houses a library, and also has spaces featuring curated exhibitions of local and international contemporary artists, as well as having a dedicated theatre and alternative film screenings. Also hosts an annual big music festival called «Fete de la Musique.»
Museo de Arte Colonial. This museum features a permanent exhibit of Spanish colonial furniture and a vast collection of sculptures and paintings from the School of Quito from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Calle Cuenca & Mejía (Old City).
Museo Guayasamin. This museum houses the collection of one of Ecuador’s most renowned contemporary artist, Oswaldo Guayasamin. It has a fine collection of pre-Colombian, colonial and independence art, as well as housing many of the titular artist’s works. You can also visit the nearby Capilla del Hombre, which is an incredible building/monument built posthumously to house some of Guayasamin’s vast canvasses on the condition of Latin American Man. A must place to visit.
Museo Mindalae. An extremely original project in the north part of the Mariscal District, this museum provides an ‘ethno-historical’ view of Ecuador’s amazingly rich cultural diversity. You can find out about the country’s different peoples, from the coast to the Andes to the Amazon, and their crafts in a specially-built and designed structure. The museum has a restaurant for lunch, a cafe and a fair-trade shop.
Conjunto Monumental San Francisco. The church dates back from the 1570s and was devoted to San Francis, since the Franciscan order was the first to settle in the area. Hence the city’s official name: San Francisco de Quito. The church contains masterpieces of syncretic art, including the famous «Virgin of Quito» by Legarda. The sculpture represents a winged virgin stepping on the devil’s head (in the form of a serpent) and is displayed in the main altar. The virgin would later be inaccurately replicated on top of Panecillo hill. The museum next door to the church is arranged through the monastic compound and includes access to the choir.
Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesus. In the Old City, this church is regarded by many as the most beautiful in the Americas. Partially destroyed by fire, it was restored with assistance from the Getty Foundation and other benefactors. Simply stunning.
Quito Botanical Gardens. The Jardin Botanico is located on the southwest side of Parque La Carolina. All of Ecuador’s ecosystems is represented with a wide variety of flora. You can take a guided tour or just wander. The highlight for many people are the two glassed-in orchidariums.
Yaku: Parque Museo del Agua. Yaku is a children’s friendly science/cultural/park museum that is focused on the importance of water and water resources. Be prepared to get a little wet! It has a wonderful view as well. Calle El Placer Oe11-271, or Calles Bolívar & Rocafuerte.
Sightseeing Teleferico, this is the world’s second-highest cable car. It’s located on the eastern flanks of the Pichincha Volcano which overlooks the whole city. It hoists visitors up to an amazing 4,000 meters (12,000 feet). On clear days, one can spot half-a-dozen volcanoes and spy the entire city below. You can also hike up from here to the Guagua Pichincha Volcano, which is active.
Calle de la Ronda, this street in the Old Town was restored by Municipality and FONSAL in 2007. It was transformed with the help and cooperation of the local residents. It’s a romantic cobbled street just off the Plaza Santo Domingo (or it can be reached via Garcia Moreno by the City Museum). There are shops, patios, art galleries and modest cafe restaurants now, all run by residents. Cultural events are common at the weekends.
La Vírgen del Panecillo. Adjacent to the Old City, El Panecillo is a large hill on top of which is La Virgin del Panecillo, a large statue of the ‘winged’ Virgin Mary. She can be seen from most points in the city. Local legend has it that she is the only virgin in Quito.
Mitad del Mundo. Just outside of Quito is where the measurements were first made that proved that the shape of the Earth is in fact an oblate spheroid. Commemorating this is a large monument that straddles the equator called Mitad del Mundo or middle of the world. Note, however, that the true equator is not at the Mitad del Mundo monument. Through the magic of GPS technology, we now know that it is only 240 meters away.
The Quitsato Sundial is a cultural-tourist place located at La Mitad Del Mundo original, near to Cayambe, 47 km north of Quito. It was built in 2006 and inaugurated in 2007 as an independent, non-profit project in a 24,756 ft² (2300 m²) area. Its main goal is to share crucial aspects of the astronomical knowledge of the prehispanic cultures of the region. The expositions are carried out by community members as a self-sustaining project.
The Intiñan Solar Museum is right next to the Mitad del Mundo monument on the other side of the north fence, and located along the true equator as verified by GPS (as opposed to the Mitad del Mundo monument). The tour is completed by some untrue facts about indigenous cultures in Ecuador and is just straining after effect. In spite of the sprinkling of inaccuracies, some people find the museum much more interesting and informative than the Mitad del Mundo.
Guapulo, check out the Guapulo area of Quito, its a winding steep area with several great bars and cafés with a real bohemian feel. The view in Guapulo is very nice and there are many places with the view of Cumbaya.
La Ronda, the most popular area for drinking, food and nightlife in the Historic Center of Quito. It is a pedestrian street that goes for several blocks, right beside the newly renovated 24 de Mayo Plaza. Live music, restaurants and street performers, as well as local artesanal stores and galleries are present. The whole area is frequented by locals as much as tourists, and is a good place to enjoy a canelazo rather than partying – most places close at 1 or 2 am.
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Quito is surrounded by a variety of places that could interest all kinds of tourists. A couple of hours on a bus ride is all it takes to reach them. Quito is the starting point for trips within Ecuador
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