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—  Capital city of Ecuador  —
San Francisco de Quito
Clockwise from top: Calle La Ronda, Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, El Panecillo as seen from Northern Quito, Carondelet Palace, Central-Northern Quito, Parque La Carolina and Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco


Nickname(s): Luz de América (Light of America), Carita de Dios (God's Face), Ciudad de los Cielos (City of the heavens)
Quito is located in Ecuador
Location of Quito within Ecuador
Coordinates: 00°15′00″S 78°35′00″W Coordinates: 00°15′00″S 78°35′00″W
Country Ecuador
Province Pichincha
Canton Quito
Foundation December 6, 1534
Founder Sebastián de Benalcázar
Named for Quitu
Urban parishes
 • Type Mayor and council
 • Governing body Municipality of Quito
 •  Mayor Augusto Barrera
 •  City council
 • Capital city of Ecuador 324 km2 (125 sq mi)
 • Water 0 km2 (0 sq mi)
 • Metro 4,204 km2 (1,623 sq mi)
Elevation 2,850 m (9,350 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Capital city of Ecuador 2,239,191
 • Density Bad rounding here6,900/km2 (Bad rounding here18,000/sq mi)
 •  Metro 3,342,201
 • Metro density Bad rounding here800/km2 (Bad rounding here2,100/sq mi)
 •  Demonym Quiteño(-a)
Time zone ECT ( UTC-5)
Postal code EC1701 (new format), P01 (old format)
Area code(s) (0)2

Quito, formally San Francisco de 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 capital city in the world housing the administrative, legislative and judicial functions. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 2,197,698 according to the last census (2001), and, as estimated by the municipality, approximately 2,504,991 in 2005, Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of Metropolitan District of Quito. The canton recorded a population of 1,842,201 residents in the 2001 national census. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.

The Historic Centre of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. 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 kilometres (16 mi) south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word ecuador is Spanish for equator.



Quito's origins date back to the first millennium, when the Quitu tribe occupied the area and eventually formed a commercial centre. According to Juan de Velasco's 1767 book Historia del Reino de Quito, the Quitu were conquered by the Caras tribe, who founded the Kingdom of Quito about 980 AD. For more than four centuries, Quito was ruled under the kings (shyris).

Caras and their allies were narrowly defeated in the epic battles of Tiocajas and Tixán in 1462, by an army of 250,000 led by Túpac Inca, the son of the Emperor of the Incas. After several decades of consolidation, the Kingdom of Quito became integrated into the Incan Empire. In 1534, the Caras/Quitu people were conquered by the Spanish.

Colonial Period

Artwork that shows the city in the mid-18th century.
Map dated 1786, showing the city of Quito in the late 18th century. North is to the right.

Indigenous resistance to the Spanish invasion continued during 1534, with Diego de Almagro founding Santiago de Quito (in present day Colta, near Riobamba) on August 15, 1534, later to be renamed San Francisco de Quito on August 28, 1534. The city was later moved to its present location and was refounded on 6 December 1534 by 204 settlers led by Sebastián de Benalcázar, who captured Rumiñahui and effectively ended any organized resistance. Rumiñahui was then executed on January 10, 1535. On March 14, 1541, Quito was declared a city and on February 14, 1556, was given the title Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de San Francisco de Quito ("Very Noble and Loyal City of San Francisco of Quito"). In 1563, Quito became the seat of a royal audiencia (administrative district) of Spain and became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru with its capital in Lima (see Real Audiencia de Quito).

As with other places colonized by the Christian Spanish invaders, the colonizers promptly established Roman Catholicism in Quito. The first church (El Belén) was in fact built even before the city had been officially founded. In January 1535, the San Francisco Convent was constructed, the first of about 20 churches and convents built during the colonial period. The Spanish forcibly converted the indigenous population to Christianity and used them as slave labor for construction. The Diocese of Quito was established in 1545 and was elevated to the Archdiocese of Quito in 1849.

In 1809, after nearly 300 years of Spanish colonization, Quito was a city of about 10,000 inhabitants. On August 10, 1809, a movement was started in Quito that aimed for political independence from Spain. On that date, a plan for government was established that placed Juan Pío Montúfar as president with various other prominent figures in other positions of government. However, this initial movement was ultimately defeated on August 2, 1810, when Imperial troops came from Lima, Peru, and killed the leaders of the uprising along with about 200 inhabitants of the city. A chain of conflicts concluded on May 24, 1822, when Antonio José de Sucre, under the command of Simón Bolívar, led troops into the Battle of Pichincha. Their victory marked the independence of Quito and the surrounding areas.

The State Of Ecuador became part of the Republic of Great Colombia after the Battle of Pichincha

Republican era

In 1833, members of the Society of Free Inhabitants of Quito were assassinated by the government after they conspired against it, and on March 6, 1845, the Marcist Revolution began. Later, in 1875, the country's president, Gabriel García Moreno, was assassinated in Quito. Two years later, in 1877, Archbishop José Ignacio Checa y Barba was killed by poisoning while he was giving mass.

In 1882, insurgents arose against the regime of dictator Ignacio de Veintemilla. However, this did not end the violence that was occurring throughout the country. On July 9, 1883, the liberal commander Eloy Alfaro participated in the Battle of Guayaquil, and later, after more conflict, became the president of Ecuador on September 4, 1895. Upon completing his second term in 1911, he moved to Europe. When he returned to Ecuador in 1912 and attempted a return to power, he was arrested on January 28, 1912; thrown in prison; and assassinated by a mob that had stormed the prison. His body was dragged through the streets of Quito to a city park, where it was burned.

In 1932, the Four Days' War broke out. This was a civil war that followed the election of Neptalí Bonifaz and the subsequent realization that he carried a Peruvian passport. Workers at a major textile factory went on strike in 1934, and similar unrest continues to the present day. On February 12, 1949, a realistic broadcast of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds led to citywide panic and the deaths of more than twenty people who died in fires set by mobs.

21st century

In 2011, the city's population was 2,239,191 people. Since 2002, the city has begun renewing its historical centre and also remodeled the Mariscal Sucre International Airport.

Between 2003 and 2004, the ecologically friendly bus lines of the Metrobus (Ecovia) were constructed, traversing the city from the north to the south. Many avenues and roads were extended and enlarged, depressed passages were constructed, and roads were restructured geometrically to increase the flow of traffic.


View of Quito from the International Space Station

Quito is located in the northern highlands of Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin. The city has been built on a long plateau lying on the east flanks of the Pichincha volcano. The valley of Guayllabamba River where Quito lies is flanked by volcanoes, some of them snow-capped, that can be visible from the city on a clear day. Some of the volcanoes on the Central Cordillera (Royal Cordillera), east of Quito, surrounding the Guayllabamba valley are Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, Antisana, and Cayambe. Some of the volcanoes of the Western Cordillera, to the west of the Guayllabamba valley, are Illiniza, Atacazo, Pichincha, and Pululahua (which has the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve). Interestingly, Quito is the closest capital city of a Country to the Equator.

Nearby volcanoes

The 19,347 foot (5,897 m) stratovolcano Cotopaxi
The 15,413 (4,698) stratovolcano Pichincha Volcano in Quito at Sunrise
The double peak of the Illinizas (5248 m and 5126 m)

Quito's closest volcano is Pichincha, looming over the western side of the city. Quito is also the only capital in the world to be directly menaced by an active volcano. Pichincha volcano has several summits, among them Rucu Pichincha at 4,700 metres above sea level and Guagua Pichincha at 4,794 metres. Guagua Pichincha is active and being monitored by volcanologists at the geophysical institute of the national polytechnic university. The largest eruption occurred in 1660 when more than 25 centimetres (10 in) of ash covered the city. There were three minor eruptions in the 19th century. The latest eruption was recorded on August 23, 2006, when a few puffs of smoke and a large amount of ash were deposited on the city.

Activity in other nearby volcanoes also can affect the city. In November 2002, after an eruption in the volcano Reventador, the city was showered with a layer of fine ash particles to a depth of several centimeters.


Under the Köppen climate classification, Quito has a subtropical highland climate. Because of its elevation and its proximity to the equator, Quito has a fairly constant cool climate, with spring-like weather year-round. The average temperature at noon is 18.7 °C (65.7 °F) with a normal night-time low of 9.3 °C (48.7 °F). The annual average temperature is 14.0 °C (57.2 °F). The city experiences only two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season, June through September (4 months), is referred to as summer; the wet season, October through May (8 months), is referred to as winter. Annual precipitation, depending on location, is approximately 1,010 mm (40 in).

Climate data for Quito
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 19.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.4
Average low °C (°F) 9.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 65.0
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 10 11 15 15 13 7 5 5 11 14 11 11 128
 % humidity 80 81 82 82 80 75 67 65 70 79 79 79 77
Mean monthly sunshine hours 167 140 132 136 164 189 219 216 186 167 167 175 2,058
Source #1: NOAA, World Meteorological Organization (precipitation data)
Source #2: Danish Meteorological Institute (sun and relative humidity)


This is population figure for the city proper as determined by the last census conducted in 2001. The number does not reflect the population of the whole canton, which also includes the surrounding rural parishes (parish seats and their surroundings), which are separate from the city.

  • Population: 1,397,698
  • Number of households: 419,845
  • Illiteracy rate: 3.6%
  • Unemployment rate: 9%
  • Underemployment rate: 44%

Topographical zones

Quito is divided into three areas, separated by hills:

  1. Central: houses the colonial old city.
  2. Southern: is mainly industrial and residential, and a working-class housing area.
  3. Northern: is the modern Quito, with high-rise buildings, shopping centers, the financial district, and upper-class residential areas and some working-class housing areas. It is the location of Mariscal Sucre International Airport.


Quito is the second largest city in terms of contribution to national GDP after Guayaquil, and the second highest per capita income after Cuenca. Quito is the highest level of tax collection in Ecuador for tax, exceeding the national 57% per year 2009, currently being the most important economic region of the country, 63 as the latest "study" conducted by the Central Bank of Ecuador. In 2006, the contribution was 18.6% of GDP, generating 4.106 billion dollars, but its value adjudication allows this even bigger GDP reaching gain in real terms 27% 64 of Pib country thanks to contributions from oil production and predial.65 Updated: by 2009 the GDP of Quito was approximately $ 10.65 billion by way of production (19% contribution), 4112 millions of dollars in award (8% of award) and 14.762 billion dollars for total GDP (27% from 8% contract, 19% produced)

TAME, an airline of Ecuador, has its headquarters in Quito.



Quito is governed by a mayor and a 15-member city council. The mayor is elected to a four-year term and can be re-elected. The position also doubles as Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Quito (the canton). The current mayor is Augusto Barrera

Urban parishes

Downtown Quito

In Ecuador, cantons are subdivided into parishes. These subdivisions are called parishes because they were originally used by the Catholic Church, but, along with the secularization and liberalization of the Ecuadorian state, the political parishes were spun off the ones used by the church. Parishes are called urban if they are within the boundaries of the seat (capital) of their corresponding canton, and rural if they are outside of those boundaries. Inside Quito (the city proper), the way in which the city is subdivided into urban parishes depends on the organizations which use those parishes (e.g., the municipality, the electoral tribunals, the postal service, the Ecuadorian statistics institute). The urban parishes of different types are not necessarily coterminous nor the same in number or name.

Historic Centre of Quito

As of 2008, the municipality of Quito divided the city into 32 urban parishes. These parishes, which are used by the municipality for administrative purposes, are also known as cabildos since 2001. Since the times of the Metropolitan District of Quito, parishes of this type are also grouped into larger divisions known as municipal zones (zonas municipales). These parishes are as follows:

  1. Belisario Quevedo
  2. Carcelén
  3. Centro Histórico
  4. Chilibulo
  5. Chillogallo
  6. Chimbacalle
  7. Cochapamba
  8. Comité del Pueblo
  9. Concepción
  10. Cotocollao
  11. El Condado
  12. El Inca
  13. Guamaní
  14. Iñaquito
  15. Itchimbía
  16. Jipijapa
  17. Kennedy
  18. La Argelia
  19. La Ecuatoriana
  20. La Ferroviaria
  21. La Libertad
  22. La Mena
  23. Magdalena
  24. Mariscal Sucre
  25. Ponceano
  26. Puengasí
  27. Quitumbe
  28. Rumipamba
  29. San Bartolo
  30. San Juan
  31. Solanda
  32. Turubamba

Electoral urban parishes (CNE/TEP)

Rep. del Salvador Avenue Skyline Quito

Electoral urban parishes are used by the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) (until the 2008 Ecuadorian constitution known as Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE)) and by the Tribunal Electoral de Pichincha (TEP) in order to distribute vote ballots and count electoral votes. Unlike rural parishes, urban parishes do not have and do not elect a junta parroquial (parochial committee/junta). Within each of these parishes, there are one or more schools in which elections take place, typically on Sundays. As of the 2009 Ecuadorian referendum, there were 19 urban parishes of this type, as follows:

  1. Alfaro
  2. Benalcázar
  3. Chaupicruz
  4. Chillogallo
  5. Cotocollao
  6. El Salvador
  7. González Suárez
  8. Guápulo
  9. La Floresta
  10. La Libertad
  11. La Magdalena
  12. La Vicentina
  13. San Blas
  14. San Marcos
  15. San Roque
  16. San Sebastián
  17. Santa Barbara
  18. Santa Prisca
  19. Villa Flora

Later in 2008, the relatively small González Suárez parish was removed from the list, prior to the 2009 elections.

Ecclesiastical parishes

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quito divides the city into 167 parishes, which are grouped into 17 zones.


Public transport

The MetrobusQ network, also known as "Red Integrada de Transporte Público", is the bus rapid transit system running in Quito, and it goes through the city from south to north. It's divided into three sections—the green line ( the central trolleybus, known as El Trole), the red line (the north-east Ecovía), and the blue line (the north-west Corridor Central). In addition to the bus rapid transit system, there are many buses running in the city. The buses have both a name and a number, and they have a fixed route. Taxi cabs are all yellow, and they have meters that show the fare. There are nearly 8,800 registered taxicabs.

Bici Q station in northern Quito. Bici Q is the Bicycle sharing system started by the municipal government of the city

In August 2012 the Municipality of Quito government established a municipal bicycle sharing system called Bici Q.

Road transport

Although public transportation is the primary form of travel in the city, including fleets of taxis that constantly cruise the roadways, the use of private vehicles has increased substantially during the past decade. Because of growing road congestion in many areas, there were plans to construct a light rail system, which were conceived to replace the northern portion of the Trole. This plans have been ruled out and replaced by the construction of the first metro line (subway) in 2012. It is expected to be operational by 2016 joining to the existing public transportation network.

Roads, avenues and streets

Accordion player in a street in the historic centre of Quito

Because Quito is about 40 km (25 mi) long and 5 km (3.1 mi) at its widest, most of the important avenues of the city extend from north to south. The two main motorways that go from the northern part of the city to the southern are Avenue Oriental (Corridor Periférico Oriental) on the eastern hills that border the city, and Avenue Occidental on the western side of the city on the Pichincha volcano. The street 10 de Agosto also runs north to south through most of the city, running down the middle of it. The historic centre of the city is based on a grid pattern, despite the hills, with the streets Venezuela, Chile, García Moreno, and Guayaquil being the most important.


There is a railroad that goes through the southern part of Quito and passes through the Estación de Chimbacalle. It is managed by the Empresa de Ferrocarriles Ecuatorianos (EFE). This form of transport is nowadays used mostly for tourism.

Air transport

Mariscal Sucre International Airport

Mariscal Sucre International Airport (IATA airport code: UIO) serves as the city's principal airport for passenger travel and freight. The airport is located 18 kilometres (11 mi) east of the city's centre in the Tababela parish. It began operations on February 20, 2013, replacing the Old Mariscal Sucre International Airport located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of the city centre within city limits. The old airport was replaced due to tall buildings and nighttime fog that made landing from the south difficult. The old airport will become a metropolitan park.

Points of interest

Historic centre

UNESCO World Heritage Site
City of Quito
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Quito Centro Histórico.JPG
Country Ecuador
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 2
UNESCO region Latin America and the Caribbean
Inscription history
Inscription 1978 (2nd Session)
Plaza San Francisco, Church and Convent of St. Francis in the Historic Centre of Colonial Quito.

Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. This centre was, together with the historic centre of Kraków in Poland, the first to be declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 18 September 1978. The Historic Centre of Quito is located in the center south of the capital on an area of 320 hectares (790 acres), and is considered one of the most important historic areas in Latin America.There are about 130 monumental buildings (which hosts a variety of pictorial art and sculpture, mostly of religious inspired in a multi-faceted range of schools and styles) and 5,000 properties registered in the municipal inventory of heritage properties. Unfortunately, for several years, some of this has been somewhat neglected, which contributed to the deterioration of many of the buildings and surrounding streets. This not only diminished beauty but also contributed to safety concerns. The Corporation of Development of the Historic Centre's program is helping to restore the area.

Carondelet Palace

Carondelet Palace (Spanish: Palacio de Carondelet) is the seat of government of the Republic of Ecuador, located in the historical centre of Quito. Axis is the nerve of the public space known as Independence Square or Plaza Grande (colonial name), around which were built in addition the Archbishop's Palace, the Municipal Palace, the Hotel Plaza Grande and the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Carondelet Palace, office and house of the Presidents of Ecuador

During the Republican era, almost all the presidents (constitutional, internees and dictators) have dispatched from this building, which is the seat of Government of the Republic of Ecuador. In addition to the administrative units in the third level of the Palace is the presidential residence, a luxurious colonial-style apartment in which they live the President and his family. Rafael Correa, president since 2007, considering that Carondelet Palace and its agencies are Ecuadoran heritages, convert the presidential compound into a museum accessible to all who wish to visit it. To this end, areas were organized to locate objects within their cultural contexts, to make them accessible to the world, which used several rooms and spaces within the palace.

Basilica del Voto Nacional

Basílica del Voto Nacional

This monumental basilica is the most important neo-Gothic architecture in Ecuador and one of the most representative of the American continent. It was once the largest in the New World.

The Metropolitan Cathedral

Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito

The Metropolitan Cathedral (Primate of Ecuador), due to its location in the heart of the historic city and its status as the main church of the city, is one of the largest religious symbols of spiritual value for the Catholic community in the city. This church began its construction in 1562, seventeen years after the diocese of Quito was created (1545). The church building was completed in 1806, during the administration of President of the Real Audiencia Baron Héctor de Carondelet.

One of the events that took place in this cathedral was the murder of the Bishop of Quito, José Ignacio Checa y Barba, who during the mass of Good Friday on 30 March 1877 was poisoned with strychnine dissolved in the consecrate wine. The cathedral is also the burial place of the remains of the Grand Marshal Antonio José de Sucre and also of several presidents of the Republic, as well as of bishops and priests who died in the diocese. The cathedral is located on the south side of the Plaza de La Independencia.

Church of La Compañía de Jesús

Church of La Compañía de Jesús
Gold leaf interior of the Church of the Society of Jesus in the The Historic Centre of Quito.

The Church of La Compañía began construction in 1605; it took 160 years to be built. By 1765 the work was completed with the construction of the façade. This was done by Native Americans who carefully shaped the Baroque style in one of the most complete examples of this art in the Americas.

Church of San Francisco

Church of San Francisco

San Francisco is the largest of the existing architectural ensembles in the historic centers of cities in Latin America. The construction of the church began in 1550, on land adjacent to the plaza where the Native Americans engaged in the barter of products.

Church of El Sagrario

View of the Church of Santo Domingo

In colonial times, the Church of El Sagrario was one of the largest architectural marvels of Quito. The construction is of the Italian Renaissance style and was built in the late 17th century. It has a screen that supports its sculptures and decorations. This structure was built by Bernardo de Legarda. Its central arch leads to a dome decorated with frescoes of biblical scenes featuring archangels, work by Francisco Albán. The altarpiece was gilded by Legarda. It is located on Calle García Moreno, near the Cathedral.

Church of Santo Domingo

Although they arrived in Quito in 1541, in 1580 the Dominicans started to build their temple, using the plans and direction of Francisco Becerra. The work was completed in the first half of the 17th century. Inside the church are valuable structures, such as the neo-Gothic main altar. This was placed in the late 19th century by Italian Dominicans. The roof of the Mudéjar style church features paintings of martyrs of the Order of Saint Dominic. The roof of the nave is composed of a pair and knuckle frame, coated inside by pieces of tracery. In the museum located on the north side of the lower cloister are wonderful pieces of great Quito sculptors such as the Saint Dominic de Guzmán by Father Carlos, the Saint John of God by Caspicara, and the Saint Thomas Aquinas by Legarda. Another Baroque piece that stands is the Chapel of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which is a recognizable feature of the architecture of Quito. This chapel was built beside the church, in the gospel side. In this was founded the largest fraternity in the city of Quito.

El Panecillo

Virgin of El Panecillo

El Panecillo is a hill located in the middle west of the city at an altitude of about 3,016 metres (9,895 ft) above sea level. A monument to the Virgin Mary is located on top of El Panecillo and is visible from most of the city of Quito. In 1976, the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras was commissioned by the religious order of the Oblates to build a 41 metres (135 ft)–tall aluminium monument of a madonna, which was assembled on a high pedestal on the top of Panecillo.

La Mariscal

This area is considered the centre of the entertainment. It is the meeting point of local people and the travelers. Its cosmopolitan atmosphere is expressed through the variety of gastronomy, artistic, cultural options and the big number of hotels and inns, travel agencies, schools of languages and Latin dances, stores, bars and discothèques that light up when the sun hides.


Arbolito Park


Parque Metropolitano Guanguiltagua is the largest urban park in South America at 1,376 acres (5.57 km2) (as reference, New York's Central Park is 843 acres (341 ha). The park is located in northern Quito, on the hill of Bellavista behind Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa. The park is suited for mountain biking, walking, and running. Most of it is eucalyptus forest with trails, but there also are numerous sculptures on display. The park has four sites that can be used for picnics or barbecues, and the eastern section has a view of Cotopaxi, Antisana, and the Guayllabamba river basin.

La Carolina

La Carolina park next to Amazonas Avenue

La Carolina is a 165.5-acre (670,000 m²) park in the centre of the Quito main business area, bordered by the avenues Río Amazonas, de los Shyris, Naciones Unidas, Eloy Alfaro, and de la República. This park started from the expropriation of the farm La Carolina in 1939. The design of the park was made by the Dirección Metropolitana de Planificación Territorial (DMPT). Pope John Paul II headed a great mass in the park during his visit to Ecuador in 1985. A giant cross has been built in this place.

El Ejido

El Ejido is the third-largest park of Quito (after Metropolitan and La Carolina), and it divides the old part of the city from the modern one. This park is known for handicrafts available for sale every Saturday and Sunday, with all pricing subject to negotiation (that is, haggling). Local painters sell copies of paintings by Oswaldo Guayasamín, Eduardo Kingman, and Gonzalo Endara Crow. Otavaleños sell traditional sweaters, ponchos, carpets, and jewelry.

La Alameda

The long triangular La Alameda is located at the beginning of street Guayaquil, where the historic centre begins. It has an impressive monument of Simón Bolívar at the apex. There are several other interesting monuments in this park. In the centre of the park is the Quito Observatory, which was opened by President García Moreno in 1873 and is the oldest observatory in Latin America. It is used for both meteorology and astronomy. At the north end of the park are two ornamental lakes, where rowboats can be rented.



The Aerial tramway Station at Cruz Loma (part of the Pichincha mountain complex at about 4,000 metres (13,000 ft)). Since July 2005, Quito has had an aerial tramway, known as the "Telefériqo", from the city centre to the hill known as Cruz Loma on the east side of the Pichincha volcano. The ride takes visitors to an altitude of about 4,100 metres (13,500 ft). There are also trails for hiking and areas where pictures can be taken of Quito. Because of the increased altitude and the wind on the mountain, it is considerably cooler.

Besides the aerial tramway to Cruz Loma, the Telefériqo as a whole is a visitor centre that includes an amusement park ( Vulqano Park), fine-dining restaurants, Go Karts, Paint Ball, shopping malls, an extensive food court, and other attractions.

Outside the city

The monument at La Mitad del Mundo

La Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the world) is a small village administered by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Quito. It has since been determined, with the use of Global Positioning System technology, that the actual equator is some 240 metres (790 ft) north of the monument area.

Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve, located a few miles northwest from La Mitad del Mundo, contains the Pululahua volcano, whose caldera (crater) is visible from a spot easily accessible by car. It is believed to be one of only a few in the world with human inhabitants.

Quito Zoo, located near the rural parish of Guayllabamba, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) outside Quito, has the biggest collection of native fauna in Ecuador, including several kinds of animals that are sometimes targeted in Ecuador in the illegal fur trade. The Zoo works in conservation and education in Ecuador and has successfully bred the endangered Andean condor.

Some of the other nearby natural attractions are:

  • Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve conservation and bird watching lodge
  • Cayambe - Coca Ecological Reserve
    • Papallacta & Oyacachi thermal springs
  • Cotopaxi National Park
  • Mindo Nambillo cloud forest
  • Illiniza volcano
  • Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge
  • Pichincha (Rucu & Guagua) volcanoes



According to the National Council for Higher Education of Ecuador ( CONESUP), these are the universities founded in or around Quito before 2006:

University Foundation Date
Universidad Central del Ecuador 18/03/1826
Escuela Politécnica Nacional 27/08/1869
[Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador PUCE] 04/11/1946
de Altos Estudios Nacionales 20/06/1972
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales 16/12/1974
Escuela Superior Politecnica del Ejercito E.S.P.E. 08/12/1977
Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial 18/02/1986
Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar 27/01/1992
Internacional SEK 30/06/1993
Universidad San Francisco de Quito 25/10/1988
Escuela Politecnica Javeriana del Ecuador 29/11/1995
Universidad de las Americas 29/11/1995
Universidad Internacional del Ecuador 30/08/1996
Universidad Tecnológica America 20/08/1997
Universidad Del Pacifico: Escuela de Negocios 18/12/1997
Universidad Autonoma de Quito 07/07/1999
Universidad Cristiana Latinoamericana 31/03/2000
Universidad Tecnologica Israel 16/11/1999
Universidad de Especialidade Turisticas 31/03/2000
Universidad Alfredo Perez Guerro 15/01/2001
Universitas Equatorialis 24/12/2002
Universidad de los Hemisferios 20/05/2004
Universidad Intercultural de las Nacionalidades y Puebloes Indigenas Amawtay Wasi 05/08/2004
Universidad Iberoamericana del Ecuador 30/12/2005
Universidad Og Mandino 17/11/2005


  • Museo de Arte Contemporaneo - Located north of Basilica del Voto Nacional, this museum has permanent and temporary exhibitions. The historic building used to be a big military hospital and was renewed for its new purpose.
  • Casa del Alabado Located just south of Plaza San Francisco, this is the Old Town's newest museum and houses a collection of pre-colonial art. The building is one of the oldest houses in the city.
  • Museo de la Ciudad - A museum dedicated to the history of Quito. Located just east of the Plaza de Santo Domingo.
  • La Capilla del Hombre - A museum showcasing the work of legendary Ecuadorian Artist Oswaldo Guayasamín
  • Ecuador National Museum of Medicine - A museum dedicated to the history of Medicine in Quito, founded by Dr. Eduardo Estrella Aguirre. Dr. Estrella was in the Archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Madrid Spain in 1985 and uncovered the lost papers and paintings documenting one of the first expeditions to South America. In Madrid Spain, Dr. Estrella worked for many years and documented his observations in the archive and was able to publish the hard work and giving the credit to the expedition of Juan Tafalla, a book called Flora Huayaquilensis.
  • Museo Casa de Sucre - This museum is dedicated to life of Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre, a hero of Ecuadorian independence. The ground floor has an array of weapons and military relics, many of which belonged to Sucre himself. The second floor has been restored to what it might have looked like in Sucre's time.
  • Museo Nacional del Banco Central del Ecuador - This art museum houses 5 displays. Each one covers a different time period, ranging from prehistory to modern Ecuador.


Estadio Casa Blanca, the largest stadium in Quito and home of LDU Quito

Quito is home to six prominent football clubs in the country. The city's top three clubs (El Nacional, Deportivo Quito and LDU Quito) have won a total of 28 national championships, over half of all championships played. Deportivo Quito and Aucas were the first home teams to play in the national league (since 1957, 3 years before LDU and 7 years before El Nacional), Deportivo Quito was also the first out of the three home teams to win the title. El Nacional have won the most "Series A" titles with a total of 13 ( a tie with Barcelona Sporting Club of Guayaquil). LDU Quito is the only Ecuadorian club to have won 4 continental titles.

The teams in Ecuador's First Division ( Serie A and Serie B) are:

  • Deportivo Quito
  • El Nacional
  • LDU Quito
  • Universidad Católica

Twin towns and sister cities

Quito is twinned with:

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