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Republic of Ecuador

República del Ecuador  (Spanish)
Chawpipacha Ripuwlika  (Quechua)
Ekuatur Nunka  (Shuar)
Coat of Arms of Ecuador
Coat of Arms
Motto: 
  • Dios, patria y libertad  (Spanish)
  • Pro Deo, Patria et Libertate (Latin)
  • "God, homeland and freedom"
Anthem: Salve, Oh Patria  (Spanish)
(English: "Hail, Oh Homeland")
Location of  Ecuador  (dark green)
Location of  Ecuador  (dark green)
Capital Quito
00°13′12″S 78°30′43″W / 0.22000°S 78.51194°W / -0.22000; -78.51194
Largest city Guayaquil
Official languages Spanish
Recognized regional languages Kichwa (Quechua), Shuar and others "are in official use for indigenous peoples"
Ethnic groups
(2010)
  • 71.9% Mestizo (mixed Indigenous and White)
  • 7.4% Montubio (coastal Mestizo)
  • 7.2% Black
  • 7.0% Indigenous
  • 6.1% White
  • 0.4% Other
Religion
(2012)
  • 93.1% Christianity
  • —80.4% Roman Catholic
  • —11.3% Protestant
  • —1.4% Other Christian
  • 6.1% No religion
  • 0.8% Other
Demonym(s) Ecuadorian
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Guillermo Lasso
Alfredo Borrero
Legislature National Assembly
Independence
• Declared
August 10, 1809
• from Spain
May 24, 1822
• from Gran Colombia
May 13, 1830
• Recognized by Spain
February 16, 1840
• Admitted to the United Nations
December 21, 1945
• Current constitution
September 28, 2008
Area
• Total
283,561 km2 (109,484 sq mi)a (73rd)
• Water (%)
5
Population
• March 2021 estimate
17,684,536 (66th)
• Census
17,300,000
• Density
61/km2 (158.0/sq mi) (151st)
GDP (PPP) 2019 estimate
• Total
$202.043 billion
• Per capita
$11,701
GDP (nominal) 2019 estimate
• Total
$106.289 billion
• Per capita
$6,155
Gini (2014)  45.4
medium
HDI (2019) Increase 0.759
high · 86th
Currency United States dollarb (USD)
Time zone UTC−5 / −6 (ECT / GALT)
Driving side right
Calling code +593
ISO 3166 code EC
Internet TLD .ec
  1. Including Galápagos Islands.
  2. Sucre until 2000, replaced by the US$ and Ecuadorian centavo coins.

Ecuador is a small country in South America. It used to be part of the Spanish Empire. Spain was interested in finding gold in Ecuador. Before Spain, Ecuador was part of the Inca Empire.

The President of Ecuador is Guillermo Lasso since 2021.

Ecuador produces bananas and cocoa.

Geography

Ecuador Topography
Ecuadorian topography
COTOPAXI 18 AGO (20496040638)
A view of the Cotopaxi volcano, in Cotopaxi Province
Many parrots -Anangu, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador -clay lick-8
Birds in the Yasuni National Park

Ecuador has a total area of 283,561 km2 (109,484 sq mi), including the Galápagos Islands. Of this, 276,841 km2 (106,889 sq mi) is land and 6,720 km2 (2,595 sq mi) water. Ecuador is bigger than Uruguay, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana in South America.

Ecuador lies between latitudes 2°N and 5°S, bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and has 2,337 km (1,452 mi) of coastline. It has 2,010 km (1,250 mi) of land boundaries, with Colombia in the north (with a 590 km (367 mi) border) and Peru in the east and south (with a 1,420 km (882 mi) border). It is the westernmost country that lies on the equator.

The country has four main geographic regions:

  • La Costa, or "the coast": The coastal region consists of the provinces to the west of the Andean range – Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Ríos, Manabí, El Oro, and Santa Elena. It is the country's most fertile and productive land, and is the seat of the large banana exportation plantations of the companies Dole and Chiquita. This region is also where most of Ecuador's rice crop is grown. The truly coastal provinces have active fisheries. The largest coastal city is Guayaquil.
  • La Sierra, or "the highlands": The sierra consists of the Andean and Interandean highland provinces – Azuay, Cañar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Imbabura, Loja, Pichincha, and Tungurahua. This land contains most of Ecuador's volcanoes and all of its snow-capped peaks. Agriculture is focused on the traditional crops of potato, maize, and quinua and the population is predominantly Amerindian Kichua. The largest Sierran city is Quito.
  • La Amazonía, also known as El Oriente, or "the east": The oriente consists of the Amazon jungle provinces – Morona Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbíos, and Zamora-Chinchipe. This region is primarily made up of the huge Amazon national parks and Amerindian untouchable zones, which are vast stretches of land set aside for the Amazon Amerindian tribes to continue living traditionally. It is also the area with the largest reserves of petroleum in Ecuador, and parts of the upper Amazon here have been extensively exploited by petroleum companies. The population is primarily mixed Amerindian Shuar, Huaorani and Kichua, although there are numerous tribes in the deep jungle which are little-contacted. The largest city in the Oriente is probably Lago Agrio in Sucumbíos, although Macas in Morona Santiago runs a close second.
  • La Región Insular is the region comprising the Galápagos Islands, some 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean.

Ecuador's capital is Quito, which is in the province of Pichincha in the Sierra region. Its largest city is Guayaquil, in the Guayas Province. Cotopaxi, just south of Quito, is one of the world's highest active volcanoes. The top of Mount Chimborazo (6,268 m, or 20,560 ft, above sea level), Ecuador's tallest mountain, is the most distant point from the center of the Earth on the Earth's surface because of the ellipsoid shape of the planet.

Climate

There is great variety in the climate, largely determined by altitude. It is mild year-round in the mountain valleys, with a humid subtropical climate in coastal areas and rainforest in lowlands. The Pacific coastal area has a tropical climate with a severe rainy season. The climate in the Andean highlands is temperate and relatively dry, and the Amazon basin on the eastern side of the mountains shares the climate of other rainforest zones.

Because of its location at the equator, Ecuador experiences little variation in daylight hours during the course of a year. Both sunrise and sunset occur each day at the two six o'clock hours.

Hydrology

Canyoning en Baños de Agua Santa
Baños de Agua Santa is an important tourist site

The Andes is the watershed divisor between the Amazon watershed, which runs to the east, and the Pacific, including the north–south rivers Mataje, Santiago, Esmeraldas, Chone, Guayas, Jubones, and Puyango-Tumbes.

Almost all of the rivers in Ecuador form in the Sierra region and flow east toward the Amazon River or west toward the Pacific Ocean. The rivers rise from snowmelt at the edges of the snowcapped peaks or from the abundant precipitation that falls at higher elevations. In the Sierra region, the streams and rivers are narrow and flow rapidly over precipitous slopes. Rivers may slow and widen as they cross the hoyas yet become rapid again as they flow from the heights of the Andes to the lower elevations of the other regions. The highland rivers broaden as they enter the more level areas of the Costa and the Oriente.

Driving the beach salinas ecuador
A beach of Salinas, Santa Elena Province

In the Costa, the external coast has mostly intermittent rivers that are fed by constant rains from December through May and become empty riverbeds during the dry season. The few exceptions are the longer, perennial rivers that flow throughout the external coast from the internal coast and La Sierra on their way to the Pacific Ocean. The internal coast, by contrast, is crossed by perennial rivers that may flood during the rainy season, sometimes forming swamps.

Major rivers in the Oriente include the Pastaza, Napo, and Putumayo. The Pastaza is formed by the confluence of the Chambo and the Patate rivers, both of which rise in the Sierra. The Pastaza includes the Agoyan waterfall, which at sixty-one meters (200 feet) is the highest waterfall in Ecuador. The Napo rises near Mount Cotopaxi and is the major river used for transport in the eastern lowlands. The Napo ranges in width from 500 to 1,800 m (1,640 to 5,906 ft). In its upper reaches, the Napo flows rapidly until the confluence with one of its major tributaries, the Coca River, where it slows and levels off. The Putumayo forms part of the border with Colombia. All of these rivers flow into the Amazon River. The Galápagos Islands have no significant rivers. Several of the larger islands, however, have freshwater springs, although they are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.

Biodiversity

Oso andino Porcon
Ecuador is one of the most megadiverse countries in the world, it also has the most biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation, and is one of the highest endemism worldwide. In the image the Spectacled bear of the Andes.

Ecuador is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world according to Conservation International, and it has the most biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation.

Ecuador has 1,600 bird species (15% of the world's known bird species) in the continental area and 38 more endemic in the Galápagos. In addition to more than 16,000 species of plants, the country has 106 endemic reptiles, 138 endemic amphibians, and 6,000 species of butterfly. The Galápagos Islands are well known as a region of distinct fauna, as the famous place of birth to Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest, looking toward the Andes
Amazon rainforest in Ecuador

Ecuador has the first constitution to recognize the rights of nature. The protection of the nation's biodiversity is an explicit national priority as stated in the National Plan of "Buen Vivir", or good living, Objective 4, "Guarantee the rights of nature", Policy 1: "Sustainably conserve and manage the natural heritage, including its land and marine biodiversity, which is considered a strategic sector".

As of the writing of the plan in 2008, 19% of Ecuador's land area was in a protected area; however, the plan also states that 32% of the land must be protected in order to truly preserve the nation's biodiversity. Current protected areas include 11 national parks, 10 wildlife refuges, 9 ecological reserves, and other areas. A program begun in 2008, Sociobosque, is preserving another 2.3% of total land area (6,295 km2, or 629,500 ha) by paying private landowners or community landowners (such as Amerindian tribes) incentives to maintain their land as native ecosystems such as native forests or grasslands. Eligibility and subsidy rates for this program are determined based on the poverty in the region, the number of hectares that will be protected, and the type of ecosystem of the land to be protected, among other factors. Ecuador had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 7.66/10, ranking it 35th globally out of 172 countries.

Despite being on the UNESCO list, the Galápagos are endangered by a range of negative environmental effects, threatening the existence of this exotic ecosystem. Additionally, oil exploitation of the Amazon rainforest has led to the release of billions of gallons of untreated wastes, gas, and crude oil into the environment, contaminating ecosystems and causing detrimental health effects to Amerindian peoples. One of the best known examples is the Texaco-Chevron case. This American oil company operated in the Ecuadorian Amazon region between 1964 and 1992. During this period, Texaco drilled 339 wells in 15 petroleum fields and abandoned 627 toxic wastewater pits, as well as other elements of the oil infrastructure. It is now known that these highly polluting and now obsolete technologies were used as a way to reduce expenses.

Economy

Ecuador Product Exports (2019)
A proportional representation of Ecuador exports, 2019
Obverse of the series 2009 $100 Federal Reserve Note
The United States dollar is the common currency circulation in Ecuador.

Oil accounts for 40% of exports and contributes to maintaining a positive trade balance. Since the late 1960s, the exploitation of oil increased production, and proven reserves are estimated at 6.51 billion barrels as of 2011.

In the agricultural sector, Ecuador is a major exporter of bananas (first place worldwide in production and export), flowers, and the seventh largest producer of cocoa. Ecuador also produces coffee, rice, potatoes, cassava (manioc, tapioca), plantains and sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork and dairy products; fish, and shrimp; and balsa wood. The country's vast resources include large amounts of timber across the country, like eucalyptus and mangroves. Pines and cedars are planted in the region of La Sierra and walnuts, rosemary, and balsa wood in the Guayas River Basin.

The industry is concentrated mainly in Guayaquil, the largest industrial center, and in Quito, where in recent years the industry has grown considerably. This city is also the largest business center of the country. Industrial production is directed primarily to the domestic market. Despite this, there is limited export of products produced or processed industrially. These include canned foods, liquor, jewelry, furniture, and more. A minor industrial activity is also concentrated in Cuenca. Incomes from tourism has been increasing during the last few years because of the Government showing the variety of climates and the biodiversity of Ecuador.

Tourism

Roof deck (Palacio de Pizarro), Plaza de la Independencia (Quito), pic.aa4
The historic center of Quito has one of the largest and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. The city also houses a large number of museums.
MISAHUALLI (19783859780)
Animals in Misahualli, Ecuadorian Amazon

The Ministry of Information and Tourism was created on August 10, 1992, at the beginning of the government of Sixto Durán Ballén, who viewed tourism as a fundamental activity for the economic and social development of the peoples. Faced with the growth of the tourism sector, in June 1994, the decision was taken to separate tourism from information, so that it is exclusively dedicated to promoting and strengthening this activity.

Ecuador is a country with vast natural wealth. The diversity of its four regions has given rise to thousands of species of flora and fauna. It has approximately 1640 kinds of birds. The species of butterflies border 4,500, the reptiles 345, the amphibians 358, and the mammals 258, among others. Not in vain, Ecuador is considered one of the 17 countries where the planet's highest biodiversity is concentrated, being also the largest country with diversity per km2 in the world. Most of its fauna and flora lives in 26 protected areas by the state.

Also, it has a huge culture spectrum. Since 2007, with the government of Rafael Correa, the tourism brand "Ecuador Ama la Vida" has been transformed, with which the nation's tourism promotion would be sold. Focused on considering it as a country friendly and respectful of nature, natural biodiversity, and cultural diversity of the peoples. And for this, means of exploiting them are developed along with the private economy.

The country has two cities with UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Quito and Cuenca, as well as two natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Galapagos Islands and Sangay National Park in addition to one World Biosphere Reserve, such as the Cajas Massif. Culturally, the Toquilla straw hat and the culture of the Zapara indigenous people are recognized. The most popular sites for national and foreign tourists have different nuances due to the various tourist activities offered by the country.

Among the main tourist destinations are:

Transport

Quito Trole 06 2011 1933
The Trolebús bus rapid transit system that runs through Quito. It is the principal BRT in Ecuador.
Railways in Ecuador
Railways in Ecuador (interactive map)

The rehabilitation and reopening of the Ecuadorian railroad and use of it as a tourist attraction is one of the recent developments in transportation matters.

The roads of Ecuador in recent years have undergone important improvement. The major routes are Pan American (under enhancement from four to six lanes from Rumichaca to Ambato, the conclusion of 4 lanes on the entire stretch of Ambato and Riobamba and running via Riobamba to Loja). In the absence of the section between Loja and the border with Peru, there are the Route Espondilus and/or Ruta del Sol (oriented to travel along the Ecuadorian coastline) and the Amazon backbone (which crosses from north to south along the Ecuadorian Amazon, linking most and more major cities of it).

Another major project is developing the road Manta – Tena, the highway Guayaquil – Salinas Highway Aloag Santo Domingo, Riobamba – Macas (which crosses Sangay National Park). Other new developments include the National Unity bridge complex in Guayaquil, the bridge over the Napo river in Francisco de Orellana, the Esmeraldas River Bridge in the city of the same name, and, perhaps the most remarkable of all, the Bahia – San Vincente Bridge, being the largest on the Latin American Pacific coast.

Cuenca's tramway is the largest public transport system in the city and the first modern tramway in Ecuador. It was inaugurated on March 8, 2019. It has 20.4 kilometres (12.7 mi) and 27 stations. It will transport 120,000 passagers daily. Its route starts in the south of Cuenca and ends in the north at the Parque Industrial neighbourhood.

The Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito and the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil have experienced a high increase in demand and have required modernization. In the case of Guayaquil it involved a new air terminal, once considered the best in South America and the best in Latin America and in Quito where an entire new airport has been built in Tababela and was inaugurated in February 2013, with Canadian assistance. However, the main road leading from Quito city centre to the new airport will only be finished in late 2014, making current travelling from the airport to downtown Quito as long as two hours during rush hour. Quito's old city-centre airport is being turned into parkland, with some light industrial use.

Demographics

Three mulattomen from Esmeraldas (1599) by Andrés Sánchez Galque. Quito Painting Colonial School.
Portrait of a noble lady with her black slave (1783) by Vicente Albán. Quito Painting Colonial School.

Ecuador's population is ethnically diverse and the 2018 estimates put Ecuador's population at 17,084,358. The largest ethnic group (as of 2010) is the Mestizos, who are Amerindians with mixture or cultural influence from Spanish colonists, and constitute about 71% of the population (although including the Montubio, a term used for coastal Mestizo population, brings this up to about 79%). The White Ecuadorians (White Latin American) are a minority accounting for 6.1% of the population of Ecuador and can be found throughout all of Ecuador, primarily around the urban areas. Even though Ecuador's white population during its colonial era were mainly descendants from Spain, today Ecuador's white population is a result of a mixture of European immigrants, predominantly from Spain with people from Italy, Germany, France, and Switzerland who have settled in the early 20th century. In addition, there is a small European Jewish (Ecuadorian Jews) population, which is based mainly in Quito and to a lesser extent in Guayaquil. Ecuador also has a small population of Asian origins, mainly those from West Asia, like the economically well off descendants of Lebanese and Palestinian immigrants, who are either Christian or Muslim (see Islam in Ecuador), and an East Asian community mainly consisting of those of Japanese and Chinese descent, whose ancestors arrived as miners, farmhands and fishermen in the late 19th century. Amerindians account for 7% of the current population. The mostly rural Montubio population of the coastal provinces of Ecuador, who might be classified as Pardo account for 7.4% of the population. The Afro-Ecuadorians are a minority population (7%) in Ecuador, that includes the Mulattos and zambos, and are largely based in the Esmeraldas province and to a lesser degree in the predominantly Mestizo provinces of Coastal Ecuador - Guayas and Manabi. In the Highland Andes where a predominantly Mestizo, white and Amerindian population exist, the African presence is almost non-existent except for a small community in the province of Imbabura called Chota Valley. 5,000 Romani people live in Ecuador.

Nations

Ethnic groups in Ecuador
Ethnic group percent
Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and White)
  
71.9%
Montubio (coastal Mestizos)
  
7.4%
Amerindian
  
7%
White
  
6.1%
Afro Ecuadorian
  
4.3%
Mulato
  
1.9%
Black
  
1%
Other
  
0.4%

The Ecuadorian constitution recognizes the "pluri-nationality" of those who want to exercise their affiliation with their native ethnic groups. Thus, in addition to criollos, mestizos, and Afro-Ecuadorians, some people belong to the Amerindian nations scattered in a few places in the coast, Quechua Andean villages, and the Amazonian jungle.

Provinces

See also: List of cities in Ecuador

Ecuador is divided into 24 provinces. Each has its own administrative capital.

Administrative divisions of Ecuador
Province Surface (km²) Population (2010) Capital
1 Azuay 8,639 702,893 Cuenca
2 Bolivar 3,254 182,744 Guaranda
3 Cañar 3,908 223,463 Azogues
4 Carchi 3,699 165,659 Tulcan
5 Chimborazo 5,287 452,352 Riobamba
6 Cotopaxi 6,569 406,798 Latacunga
7 El Oro 5,988 588,546 Machala
8 Esmeraldas 15,216 520,711 Esmeraldas
9 Galápagos 8,010 22,770 Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
10 Guayas 17,139 3,573,003 Guayaquil
11 Imbabura 4,599 400,359 Ibarra
12 Loja 11,027 446,743 Loja
13 Los Rios 6,254 765,274 Babahoyo
14 Manabi 18,400 1,345,779 Portoviejo
15 Morona Santiago 25,690 147,886 Macas
16 Napo 13,271 104,047 Tena
17 Orellana 20,773 137,848 Puerto Francisco de Orellana
18 Pastaza 29,520 84,329 Puyo
19 Pichincha 9,494 2,570,201 Quito
20 Santa Elena 3,763 301,168 Santa Elena
21 Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas 3,857 365,965 Santo Domingo
22 Sucumbios 18,612 174,522 Nueva Loja
23 Tungurahua 3,334 500,775 Ambato
24 Zamora Chinchipe 10,556 91,219 Zamora

The provinces are divided into cantons. The cantons are divided into parishes.

Largest cities

Largest cities or towns in Ecuador
According to the 2020 population projections
Rank Name Pop.
1 Quito 2,781,641
2 Guayaquil 2,723,665
3 Cuenca 636,996
4 Santo Domingo 458,580
5 Ambato 387,309
6 Portoviejo 321,800
7 Durán 315,724
8 Machala 289,141
9 Loja 274,112
10 Manta 264,281

Culture

Alicia Cahuiya, Caso Tagaeri y Taromenani
Huaorani man with the typical Amazonian indigenous clothes
Cañari people 01
Cañari children with the typical Andean indigenous clothes

Ecuador's mainstream culture is defined by its mestizo majority, and, like their ancestry, it is traditionally of Spanish heritage, influenced in different degrees by Amerindian traditions and in some cases by African elements.

Language

Languages in Ecuador
Language percent
Spanish (Castilian)
  
93%
Kichwa
  
4.1%
Foreign
  
2.2%
Other Indigenous
  
0.7%

Most Ecuadorians speak Spanish as their first language, with its ubiquity permeating and dominating most of the country, though there are many who speak an Amerindian language, such as Kichwa (also spelled Quechua), which is one of the Quechuan languages and is spoken by approximately 2.5 million people in Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. Other Amerindian languages spoken in Ecuador include Awapit (spoken by the Awá), A'ingae (spoken by the Cofan), Shuar Chicham (spoken by the Shuar), Achuar-Shiwiar (spoken by the Achuar and the Shiwiar), Cha'palaachi (spoken by the Chachi), Tsa'fiki (spoken by the Tsáchila), Paicoca (spoken by the Siona and Secoya), and Wao Tededeo (spoken by the Waorani). Use of these Amerindian languages are, however, gradually diminishing due to Spanish's widespread use in education. Though most features of Ecuadorian Spanish are universal to the Spanish-speaking world, there are several idiosyncrasies.

Historic Center of Quito

The Historic Center of Quito, Ecuador is one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. This center 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 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.

Presidential Palace

Carondelet - Quito
Presidential Palace in Quito, Ecuador

Carondelet Palace (Spanish: Palacio de Carondelet) is the seat of government of the Republic of Ecuador in the historical center 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. The history of this emblematic building dating back to colonial times, around 1570, with the acquisition of the former royal houses in the city of Quito

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, converted 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. Several rooms and spaces within the palace are used for this purpose.

Church of La Compañía de Jesús

La Compañía en Quito Ecuador
Gold leaf interior of the Church of the Society of Jesus

Construction began in 1605, with Mastrilli laying the first stone. The building was not completed until 1765. La Compañía is among the best-known churches in Quito because of its large central nave, which is profusely decorated with gold leaf, gilded plaster and wood carvings. Inspired by two Roman Jesuit churches—the Chiesa del Gesù and the Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola—La Compañía is one of the most significant works of Spanish Baroque architecture in South America.

Independence Square

Independence Square Historic Center - Plaza de la Independencia en Quito Ecuador
Independence Square, Historic Center of Quito

Also known as Big Square (Spanish: Plaza de la Independencia, Plaza Grande). Historic public square of Quito (Ecuador), in the heart of the old city. This is the central square of the city and one of the symbols of the executive power of the nation. Its main feature is the monument to the independence heroes of August 10, 1809, date remembered as the First Cry of Independence of the Royal Audience of Quito from Spanish monarchy. The environment of the square is flanked by the Carondelet Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace, the Municipal Palace and the Plaza Grande Hotel.

Church of San Fransisco

The Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco (English: Church and Monastery of St. Francis), colloquially known as El San Francisco, is a colonial-styled church and monastery in Quito, Ecuador. Construction of the building began a few weeks after the founding of the city in 1534 and ended in 1604. The founder of the church was Franciscan missionary Jodoco Ricke.

The building's construction began around 1550, sixteen years after Quito was founded by Spanish conquistadors, and was finished in approximately 1680. The building was officially inaugurated in 1605. It is not known who designed the original plans for the complex, though the most-accepted theory is that they were sent from Spain, based on the topographical study of Ricke and Gosseal. It is also possible that architects came from Spain for the construction of the monastery, or that Ricke and Gosseal managed the entire construction.

Plaza de San Francisco en Centro histórico de Quito, Ecuador
Plaza San Francisco ( Church and Convent of St. Francis ) in the Historic Center of Quito.
Stfrancisquito
Courtyard of the Church of San Francisco.

Church of El Sagrario

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 on Calle García Moreno, near the Cathedral.

Church of Santo Domingo

Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Quito - 2
View of the 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 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

El Panecillo is a hill 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 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 aluminum monument of a madonna, which was assembled on a high pedestal on the top of Panecillo.

Virgen de Quito Panecillo 03
Virgin of El Panecillo

The Quito School

The Quito School originated in the school of Artes y Oficios, founded in 1552 by the Franciscan priest Jodoco Ricke, who together with Friar Pedro Gocial transformed the San Andrés seminary, where the first indigenous artists were trained. As a cultural expression, it is the result of a long process of acculturation between indigenous peoples and Europeans, and it is one of the richest expressions of miscegenation (mestizaje) and of syncretism, in which the participation of the vanquished Indian is seemingly of minor importance as compared to the dominant European contribution.

Retrato de una señora principal con su negra esclava por Vicente Albán
Portrait of Quito leading lady with his black slave. Vicente Albán, 18th century.

The Quito School (Escuela Quiteña) is an artistic tradition that developed in the territory of the Royal Audience of Quito, from Pasto and Popayán in the north to Piura and Cajamarca in the south, during the colonial period (1542-1824). This artistic production was one of the most important activities in the economy of the Royal Audience of Quito.

The major artists of the Quito School are the sculptors Bernardo de Legarda , Manuel Chili (Caspicara) and Miguel Angel Tejada Zambrado and the painters Fray Pedro Gosseal, Fray Pedro Bedón, Nicolás Javier Goríbar, Hernando de la Cruz, Miguel de Santiago, Manuel de Samaniego

Basilica del Voto Nacional

Basílica del Voto Nacional, Quito - 4
Basilica del Voto Nacional

The Basilica of the National Vow is a Roman Catholic church in the historic center of Quito, Ecuador. It is sometimes also called the Catedral Consagración de Jesús or the Basílica de San Juan. It is the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas.

The basilica arose from the idea, proposed by father Julio Matovelle in 1883, of building a monument as a perpetual reminder of the consecration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart, President Luis Cordero issued the decree on July 23, 1883, and it was carried out by president José María Plácido Caamaño on March 5, 1884. The congress, in accordance with the year's budget, designated 12,000 pesos for the construction - 1,000 pesos per month, beginning in 1884. By the decree of July 3, 1885, the fourth Quitense Provincial Council turned the construction of the basilica into a religious commitment in the name of the country. The basilica remains technically "unfinished." & local legend says that when the Basílica is completed, the end of the world will come.

Metropolitan Cathedral

Construction began in 1562, seventeen years after the diocese of Quito was created (1545) and 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.

Church of San Agustín

It is one of the seven monumental churches of the 16th and 17th centuries whose main portico was built on stone in the Spanish Baroque-architecture style.

The church includes a small atrium (decorated by a large stone cross), an inside yard with a large garden and a large session hall where the frayers held dissertations or "capitulations" of faith. The cloister and convent have a separate entrance which leads to the garden. The bell tower reaches a high of twenty-two meters (seventy feet) and houses two bronze bells of the period.

Gallery of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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