Quito, Ecuador - Much more than the gateway to the Galapagos

Posted by North South Travel Blogger · Apr 25 · in Quito, Ecuador · about Culture & History

Quito is the capital of Ecuador and is made up of a harmonious ensemble of natural and manmade features that make it one of the most historic capitals of Latin America. Its historic center comprises of buildings that were made through the knowledge imparted by the Baroque school of Quito. The school taught the fusion of European and indigenous art and architecture.

The city is nestled on a small basin of the much larger central plateau that was formed by the Volcano Pichincha, the Puengasi ridge and other ridges that were formed by spurs of the eastern side of Pichincha. Quito is situated on an uneven surface characterized by 2 deep ravines. One of the ravines preserves the alignment of the streets and allows the drainage to escape to the plain of Tumbaco through a cleft in the ridge.

The name Quito is derived from the name ‘Quitus’ that refers to the Amerindians that occupied the land before the arrival of Spaniards. The city is nestled on an altitude of 2850 meters, making it one of the highest capitals in the world. In 1533, Sebastian Benalcazar took a peaceable ownership of the native town and in 1541; it was upgraded to the rank of a Spanish city. It was formerly the capital of the Seyris and the Incas.

The city’s full name is San Francisco del Quito and was the capital of the Presidency of Quito up to the end of the Spanish Colonization. The city has had a chequered past, especially due to the 1797 and the 1859 earthquakes. However, the city is home to the best preserved historic monuments in Latin America.

The first Europeans to establish themselves in Quito were the Franciscan Order who built a monastery and established a center of education and art. They were closely followed by the Augustinian, Dominicans and Jesuits in evangelizing the Christianity in the city. They also helped form the architectural tradition of the city through the monasteries that they built. Of all the monasteries here, the most historic include:

  • San Francisco Monastery
  • Santo Domingo Monastery
  • Church and Jesuit College of La Compania

The monuments featured fusion of the Spanish, Moorish, Italian, Indigenous and the Flemish Art. Quito is one of the most outstanding examples of Spanish influence in the Latin America and you are well advised to spend some time there if you are to understand the Spanish cultural fusion into the indigenous Latin America.

For more information on Accommodation in Quito or Flights to Ecuador, please contact a Travel Specialist at North South Travel today


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