Quito is the capital of Ecuador, the country’s most populous city. It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains. The historic centre of Quito is one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved in the Americas.
About Quito, Ecuador in brief
Quito is the capital of Ecuador, the country’s most populous city. At 2,850 metres above sea level, it is the second highest official capital city in the world. It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations. The historic centre of Quito is one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved in the Americas. Quito and Kraków, Poland, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO, in 1978. The oldest traces of human presence in Quito were excavated by American archaeologist Robert E. Bell in 1960. In the early 21st century, there were spectacular new finds of 20-meter deep tombs in the Florida neighborhood of quito. They provide evidence of the high quality of craftsmanship among the Quitu, and of the elaborate and complex character of their funerary rites. In 2010 the Museum of Florida opened to preserve some of the artifacts from the tombs and explain this complex culture. The first church was built before the Spanish conquistador Diego de Almagro founded Santiago de Quito on 15 August 1534. The city was later refounded at its present location on 6 December 1534 by 204 settlers led by Sebastián de Benalcázar, who captured leader Rumiñahui, ending all organized resistance.
On March 15, 1541 Quito was declared a city, and on February 15 it was given the title Muy Noble y Leal de Muy Leal. In 1563 Quito became the seat of a Real Audiencia of Spain, administered from Quito by the Viceroy of Nueva Granada. Under both Viceroys, it was part of the new Viceroyalty of Peru until 1717, after which it was classified as part of new Voyalty. It was officially named Quito before the first Quito church was officially built before 1563. The name Quito comes from the Quechua word Kitu, which means “new” or “beautiful” and refers to a new type of Roman Catholic church, the Church of San Francis de Quiroz. It has a population of 1.2 million. The central square of Quitito is located about 25 kilometres south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the Equator is known locally as la mitad del Mundo, to avoid confusion, as the word Ecuador is Spanish for equator. The word Quito means “quito” in Spanish, and the city’s name means “quechua” in English. The Inca took over the territory in the 15th century, but Quito survived in the city even after the Spanish conquest.