Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca is located in the Andean Mountains in the south of Ecuador. It is an inland colonial town and Ecuador’s 3rd city that was built under rigorous planning guidelines issued by the Spanish King Charles V. Cuenca.
Cuenca is a classic example of a planned Spanish colonial city. It demonstrates the principles of urban planning in the Americas as well as fusion of European and indigenous cultures of Latin America.
Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca is located in the Andean Mountains in the south of Ecuador. It is an inland colonial town and Ecuador’s 3rd city that was built under rigorous planning guidelines issued by the Spanish King Charles V. Cuenca. The rules observed the orthogonal town plan that had been respected for 400 years.
The town was established in 1557 under the orders of the Viceroy Andes Hurtado de Mendoza. It was built with the aim of turning it into an agricultural center because the surrounding climatic and soil conditions were conducive for farming and stock-raising. It was also to serve as an administrative center for the Indian populations in the Andean region.
Cuenca developed rather slowly due to the inhibitions of its earlier layout. It for some time remained an agricultural center and incorporated successive architectural contributions yet keeping its urban fabric and character as a colonial town. This situation persisted until the political independence from the Spanish crown in 1820.
The populations and cultures of both Europe and Amerindians mingled and brought out a blend of a cohesive society that entered the 2nd half of the 19th century as a nation rather than a colony. Through the manufacturing phase and on to a relatively richer society, the town of Cuenca developed into a major metropolis. The town today is an ensemble important historic buildings as well as the University of Cuenca Complex that was built in 1867.
Cuenca maintained a rather coherent urban profile until the 1950s when the rapid urbanization brought forth the chaotic development that is associated with such cities. This led to the development of the Urban Development Plan for the Metropolitan Area of Cuenca. The plan was adopted in 1982.
Among the attractions in the city that a tourist would be interested in is the Abdon Calderon Park, The Town Council, and The Office of the Governor, public squares, parks and church cloisters.
The few edifices that are worth a mention include the New Cathedral that replaced the Old Cathedral in 1880 as well as the Church of Santo Domingo and Carmelite Monastery.
Cuenca is an idyllic old city that is ideal for the slow paced holidaying mood. It is the kind of place you dream about when you a lumped with heaps of work at the office.