Best of Quito
The middle of the world monument
Perhaps, this is the most representative place of Quito city. This monument marks the exact point where it passes the imaginary line that divides the northern hemisphere of the southern hemisphere. That means that the monument marks the Equatorial line at zero latitude and you can be in the two hemispheres at the same time.
This point was officially measured by a French expedition in 1736, although several centuries before, the Ecuadorian natives already had determined that that point is the center of the world. The first Geodesic Mission Spearheaded by the French Pierre Bouger arrived to Ecuador in 1736 and its studies lasted nine years. A second expedition also French arrived in 1802 and it was headed by Charles Perrier, thanks to these new studies the Ecuadorian geographer Luis Tufiño found the former point that had been marked by the first expedition and it constructed the monument.
The monument is situated to 15 Km from Quito in the town called Calacali and its height is 30meters. It is composed by 4 monoliths which were built in 1979. The central monolith has a giant globe in its superior part, which weights almost 5 tons and is decorated by a silver band that represents the equator; besides, the metallic globe is orientated to the corresponding true position of the earth and its diameter is 4.5 meters.
If you visit this place during one of the equinoxes on 21st March or 21st September, you will note that persons and objects don’t project any shadow.
The “Panecillo” (Small Bread)
This is a natural hill which is called “Panecillo” by its appearance very similar to small bread. This hill is located at middle of the Quito city 3016 meters above sea level and is a landmark for the local citizen; since this elevation marks the point of division amongst the Downtown and the southern zone of the city. The name “Panecillo” was created by the Spanish conquerors, but it believes, that the original name of this hill was “Shungoloma”, that means “hill of the heart” and it was a sacred place dedicated to the Sun , the main God of the natives. Here there had a temple which was destroyed in a battle between Spanish conquerors and natives.
The place was used during the Colonial period by collect rain wate,r which was used later in the irrigation of the city’s gardens. This place served also to defend the colonial troops in the battle of Pichincha in the Independence war in the first third of XIX century.
Now there is a statue of the Virgin Maria on the peak of the hill, this sculpture is made of aluminum and it was built by the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras. This statue is the biggest sculpture made in aluminum in the world since it is 45 meter high and is composed by 7000 pieces. This monument was inaugurated on March 28, 1976.
National Theater Sucre
The theater works in the former Square of the slaughters, whose name was due to the fights bulls that there had in that place. But in 1867 the Congress prohibited the bullfights and gave the space to theater, which was built during seven years between 1879 and 1886. Finally the theater was opened to the public in November of 1886 with the show of a French pianist and the national orchestra.
The theater was restored several times, one of the first was in 1922 when it was intervened because of the 100 anniversary of Pichincha battle .
Now the theater depends of the culture office of the Education Ministry and is managed by the Ecuadorian central bank. The theater Sucre is the most important scenario of the culture in Ecuador since here they present the main artists of the country and some of the most famous foreign artists.
The theater has in addition to 2 halls of expositions where it does seminars, clinics and lectures as well as a restaurant and a souvenirs store. The theater is located at N8-131 “Manabi”.
It is at 5897 (around 19 300 feet) meters above sea level and is the Ecuadorian highest active volcano. It has erupted 50 times since 1738. The most recent eruption of this volcano was in 1904. The name Cotopaxi is originated in a Cayapa voice that means “fire Throat”
The volcano is surrounded by the national park that has the same name; this park was created in 1970. Inside the park there is a Refuge named Jose Rivas which is situated at 4800 meters above sea level. The park has many lakes, mountains, valleys and rivers. The only way to arrive the park is by 4x4 jeeps.
La Capilla del hombre (The Chapel of Man)
Oswaldo Guayasamin the most famous Ecuadorian artist conceived this project in 1985. It is a cultural complex, which is administrated by the Guayasamin Foundation. The chapel of the man was constructed since 1996 with the support of UNESCO and was inaugurated on November 29, 2002 almost three years after Guayasamin death. The original building is 3600 m2 and two floors, its murals are dedicated to the cultural, social and political values of America from the Prehistory until our days. Nevertheless today the chapel of the man is a complex composed by four parts: “the chapel of the man” (the building designed by Guayasamin), the workshop of Guayasamin, Museums of the Guayasamin Foundation and the “Árbol de la Vida”("Life Tree", a beautiful tree that was planted by Guayasamin, under which lie the remains of the artist).
The most of the pieces of art that here are exhibited belong to Guayasamin, the collection includes murals, sculptures and paintings made by him.
The chapel of the man opens from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00 and is located at “Lorenzo Chávez EA18-143 ”.
The Government Palace in Quito is in the former resident of the “President of the Royal Audience of Quito”. This building was constructed during the XVIII and XIX centuries. The palace has inside a mural painted which was made by the famous Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamin. This mural represents the discovery of the Amazon River in 1542. Now the third floor of this building is occupied by the President’s family because of the access to this floor is very restricted. The visitors only can enter to the first floors, which has many halls and receptions rooms that are still used when there are official ceremonies.
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