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"Light of America” is one of the names that have been assigned to Quito. The capital of the Republic of Ecuador was founded in the sixteenth century on an ancient Inca city. It has the largest and best preserved historic center in Latin America, enough reasons to be proclaimed the first Cultural Heritage Humanity Site in history along with Poland’s Krakow.
Quito is full of churches, monasteries, colonial buildings, squares, convents, museums, theaters and narrow, steep cobbled streets. The Spanish influence has left dozens of temples in the old town, modest in their facades and immense inside for the materials and details. Three of them stand out considerably: the Church of San Francisco, the oldest, called the "Escorial of the New World" because of its size; The Company of Jesus, one of the most important baroque expressions of the continent whose interior is covered with sheets of gold leaf; and the Basilica del Voto Nacional, the largest neo-Gothic architecture on the continent, whose curious gargoyles not only represent mythological beings, but also endemic fauna.
The neighbourhood of La Ronda is the most emblematic of Quito and in its main artery, Juan Dios Morales street known as La Ronda street, you can still breathe the bohemian, cultural and artistic air of yesteryear and listen to live music and taste the famous canelazos or delicious empanadas on sale in every restaurant. Another of the most important roads is that of the ‘Six Crosses’, which runs through the entire colonial area. Its name refers to the stone crosses that were placed in the atriums of each church as a popular altar.
The Plaza Grande or Plaza de la Independencia houses the Palacio de Carondelet or Palace Presidential, the Municipal and Archbishop's Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral. In the middle of it and surrounded by gardens, stands the monument to Independence, a cry for freedom. The Plaza Foch in the neighborhood of La Mariscal, constitutes "the zone of farra" or the center of the entertainment and evening entertainment in Quito where you can enjoy "la pachanga" dancing in bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Quito is located at 2800 meters above sea level. At 3000 meters above sea level, on the hill of Panecillo, stands the sculpture of the Virgin of Quito, 30 meters high and built with 7400 pieces of aluminum. From its vantage point, you can get the best views of the city, both the old town and the modern area, as well as the suburban neighbourhoods that climb the slopes of the mountains that surround the city. Thus, delimiting the city is the Casitagua volcano to the north, the Falla de Quito to the east, the eastern slopes of the Pichincha, belonging to the Cordillera de los Andes, to the west and the Atacazo volcano to the south.
Another attraction of the city is the cable car, which climbs from 2950 meters to 4053 meters in just 10 minutes to the slopes of Pichincha from whose natural terrace the viewer can be captivated.
The surrounding parks are an important part of the urban life of the locals, who come on weekends as a family to enjoy the endemic wildlife. Popular parks include Itchimbía, Guápulo, Metropolitano, El Ejido and La Carolina.
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