Quito Old Town
Formally known as San Francisco de Quito, Quito Old Town is officially the highest capital city in the world. It is the capital city of Ecuador and the second most populated city of the country. Designated as the headquarters of Union of South American Nations in 2008, the city is located on the eastern slopes of an active strato-volcano in the Andes. It is one of the best preserved historic cities and was declared the first World cultural heritage site by UNESCO along with Krakow.
Quito was set up by the Quitu tribe and transformed into a commercial centre. It was later conquered by the Caras tribe who founded the kingdom of Quito. Later in the epic battle of Tiocajas, Caras and the allies were defeated and a new Incan Empire was set up by the son of Emperor of the Incas.
Places of interest:
Quito is one of the most important historic areas of America with about 130 monumental buildings and 5000 heritage properties that have been designated as a part of national heritage registered to the municipal inventory of heritage sites and estates.
It is the centre of public space and headquarter of the Government of the Republic of Ecuador. It is also the residence of the President and his family. In 2007 the presidential compound was converted into a museum.
Cathedral of Quito:
It is the religious hub for the catholic community in the city. The cathedral is located to the south of Plaza de La Independencia.
There are several other churches namely Church of Santo Domingo, Church of El Sagrario, Church of San Francisco, Church of La Compania de Jesus, etc.
Located in the middle west of the city, the hill has a monument of Virgin Mary located at its top. It is also known as Virgen de Legarda.
The popular cosmopolitan part of the city housing both tourists and local people and is considered as the entertainment centre of the city that houses various variety of gastronomy, cultural and artistic facets. There are hotels, inns, bars, etc.
Along with these there are several parks – Metropolitano which is the largest urban park of South America, Bicentenario which hosts several cultural exhibits and concerts, La Carolina , El Ejido which has handicrafts stalls open every Saturday and Sunday, La Alameda, etc.
Being a historic city, it has several museums namely – Museo de Arte Contemporaneas, Casa Del Alabado, La Capilla de Hombre, Museo Casa de Sucre, Museo Nacional del Banco Central Del Ecuador.
The city is well connected by fixed routed MetroQ buses that run in and around the city, regularly. You can also find taxi cabs that have metres and show fare.
Mariscal Sucre International Airport is the city’s the main airport for passengers and freight. There are railroads and subways that connect 23 kilometres metro subway system in Quito.
So if you are short on time then visit the Quito old town to indulge in a luxurious dive into the 18th century history of South America with a Latin twist. Walk along the cobblestone roads or witness the mesmerizing sunsets over the city, Quito is a deal of ethnicity and culture.
Along with your trip to Quito and Galapagos you can always spend few days of relax in the Cloud Forest in Mindo with accommodation in Las Terrazas de Dana.