The capital of Ecuador named Quito is one of the most ancient cities of the world with its own extraordinary history. Being located in an inter-mountainous depression on the eastern slopes of the Pichincha volcano, this place was inhabited by people 8,000 years BC. Then this area appealed to the Indian tribe Quitu that is not properly explored by scientists. It is currently believed that the existence of the Quitu people spanned from the 5th century BC to the end of the 15th century AD when they were conquered and integrated into the Inca Empire.
The modern Quito stands on the site of the ancient trade centre. In 1534, the settlement was seized by Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Benalcázar who was looking for the "Golden City" of El Dorado in South America at that time. Seven years later, Quito was declared a city and on February 23, 1556, was given the title "Very Noble and Loyal City of San Francisco of Quito" (Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de San Francisco de Quito).
As in many other cities colonized by the Spanish, Catholic temples and monasteries were soon built in Quito. The construction of the Cathedral of Quito took place between 1545 and 1806, so it combines different architectural styles — Mudéjar and Gothic. The Basilica of the National Vow (Basílica del Voto Nacional) once was the largest construction of this kind in the New World, but it is still an outstanding monument of the neo-Gothic architectural style. There is also the Church of the Society of Jesus (La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús), which is a bright example of Spanish Baroque.
The historical centre of the city has preserved a lot of the Colonial-period buildings: indeed, it is an open-air historical museum. There are also many parks and remarkable modern constructions, such as the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs building, the Parliament building and the huge Hotel Quito — one of the most capacious hotels in Latin America. The central square of Quito is located around 25 kilometres to the south of the equator and the city itself lies one kilometre away from the zero longitude.
Quito is considered one of the most elevated capitals in the world — 2,850 metres above sea level. Only the capital of Bolivia, La Paz, is located closer to the sky — at 3,600 meters. The whole historic centre of Quito was declared by UNESCO as the World Heritage Site in 1978. We invite you to observe this exciting city from above!
Photos by Max Guzovsky
14 November 2018
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