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South America Destination Guide

Quito

Quito

Quito City (pop., 2001 prelim.: 1,399,814), capital of Ecuador. Situated in an area of intense volcanic activity, the city lies at an elevation of 9,350 ft (2,850 in) on the lower slopes of Pichincha Volcano-which again became active in 1998 after its last major eruption in 1666-in a narrow valley of the Andes Mountains. A pre-Columbian town, it was captured by the INCA in 1487 and taken by the Spanish in 1534. It is the oldest of all South American capitals, and its old town preserves much of its colonial atmosphere. In 1535 the Franciscans established an art school there, the first of its kind in South America. One of Ecuador's two major industrial centres, it produces textiles and light consumer goods. It is the site of several institutions of higher learning. The old town was designated a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE in 1978.

At 2850m above sea level and only 22km south of the equator, Quito has a wonderful springlike climate. It's in a valley flanked by mountains, and on a clear day, several snowcapped volcanoes are visible from the capital.

Quito was a major Inca city that was destroyed by Atahualpa's general, Ruminahui, shortly before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The present capital was founded atop the Inca ruins by Sebastian de Benalcazar on December 6, 153 structures remain, but many colonial buildings survive in the Old Town. In 1978, Unesco declared Quito a World Cultural Heritage Site, and building and development in Quito's Old Town is now strictly controlled; it has few modern buildings to clash with the centuries old architecture, and no flashing neon signs to disrupt the historic ambience.

Places to Stay

Hotel Viena Internacional
Hostal La Casona
Hotel Internacional Plaza del Teatro
Casa Patty
Residencial Marsella
Hostal Margarita 2
La Casa de Eliza
L'Auberge
Hotel Reina de Quito
Hostal Principal
Hotel Indoamerica
Hotel Capitalino
Hotel Interamericano
La Posada Colonial
Grand Hotel
Hotel Santo Domingo
Hotel Juana del Arco
Hotel Puerta del Sol
Hotel San Francisco de Quito
Hotel Catedral Internacional
Hotel Huasi Continental



Places to Visit


Museo de La Ciudad
Museo de Arte Colonial
Museo de arte e Historia
Monasterio de San Francisco

Quito
Otavalo
Ibarra
Tulcan
Banos
Riobamba
Cuenca
Loja
Manta
Guayaquil
Galapagos Islands
Isla Santa Cruz

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