BACK TO QUITO AND WANNA GO BACK TO THE GALAPAGOS :(
Quito Travel Blog› entry 22 of 22 › view all entries
(THE SADDEST DAY OF THE TRIP)
When we arrived in Guayaquil and some of the passengerâ€™s vacation was not finished. About 6, was dropped off to catch a plane to Lima, Peru and some to Santiago, Chile. We all clapped and wish them save travels.
We all arrived at 5pm, some of us happy to go home and some are melancholy â€¦..ME :( I slept another 2hrs when we left Guayaquil. We all collected our room keys and we all went upstairs to quickly change to go on a shopping tour at â€śLA MARSICALâ€ť.
Mum and I walked around the market. We bought a couple of last minute souvenirs to take back home. We hung out there for an hour. Which was more than enough, it was getting cold as well. The weather in Quito was night and day, cold and cloudy in Quito, humid and sunny in the Galapagos.
When we got back to hotel, we had to get ready for our last dinner with the â€ś90â€ť. I did not need to repack or anything. I just threw everything. I just hope itâ€™s less than 50lbs. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK :P
After dinner, I did not login and IM everybody.
Quito, officially San Francisco de Quito, is the capital of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of the Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of approximately 1,397,698 in the decadal national census of November 24, 2001, and, as estimated by the municipality, approximately 1,504,991 in 2005 , Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil.
The elevation of the city's central square (Plaza de la Independencia or Plaza Grande) is 2,850 m (about 9,350 ft), making Quito the second highest capital city in the world. There is some confusion about this claim because La Paz, Bolivia, which is higher, is the governmental capital of Bolivia (where the Bolivian government functions). However, Sucre, which is lower, is the legal capital of Bolivia.
Quito is located about 25 km (15 miles) south of the equator. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world).
Due to its high altitude and position on the equator, Quito has a constant, mild to cool climate. The typical temperature at noon is 25Â°C (77ÂşF) with a normal night-time low of 6Â°C (43ÂşF). The average temperature is 15Â° C (64ÂşF) . The city experiences only two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season, June through September (4 months), is referred to as summer; the wet season, October through May (8 months), is referred to as winter.
Quito's origins date back to the first millennium when the Quitu tribe occupied the area and eventually formed a commercial center. The Quitu were conquered by the Caras tribe, who founded the Kingdom of Quito about 980 CE. In 1462 the Incas conquered the Kingdom of Quito. In 1533, RumiĂ±ahui, an Inca war general, burned the city to prevent the Spanish from taking it, thereby destroying any traces of the ancient prehispanic city.
Indigenous resistance to the Spanish invasion continued during 1534, with Francisco Pizarro founding San Francisco de Quito on August 15 of that same year. On December 6, 1534 , the city was officially founded by 204 settlers led by SebastiĂˇn de BenalcĂˇzar, who captured RumiĂ±ahui and effectively ended any organized resistance. RumiĂ±ahui was then executed on January 10, 1535. On March 14, 1541, Quito was declared a city, and on February 14, 1556, was given the title Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de San Francisco de Quito ("Very Noble and Loyal City of San Francisco of Quito"). In 1563, Quito became the seat of a royal audiencia (administrative district) of Spain, and part of the Vice-Royalty of Peru with its capital in Lima (see Real Audiencia de Quito).
The Spanish promptly established the Catholic religion in Quito, with the first church (El BelĂ©n) built even before the city had been officially founded.
In 1809, after nearly 300 years of Spanish colonization, Quito was a city of about 10,000 inhabitants. On August 10, 1809, a movement was started in Quito that aimed for political independence from Spain. On that date a plan for government was established that placed Juan PĂo MontĂşfar as president with various other prominent figures in other positions of government. However, this initial movement was ultimately defeated on August 2, 1810, when Spanish forces came from Lima, Peru, and killed the leaders of the uprising along with about 200 inhabitants of the city.
Just days after the Battle of Pichincha, on May 24, 1822, the leaders of the city proclaimed their independence and allowed the city to be annexed to the Republic of Gran Colombia. SimĂłn BolĂvar went to Quito on June 16, 1822 and was present at the signing of the Colombian Constitution on June 24, 1822. When the Gran Colombia dissolved in 1830, Quito became the capital of the newly-formed Republic of Ecuador.
In 1833, members of the Society of Free Inhabitants of Quito were assassinated by the government after they conspired against it, and on March 6, 1845, the Marcist Revolution began.
In 1882, insurgents arose against the regime of dictator Ignacio de Veintemilla, however this did not end the violence that was occurring throughout the country. On July 9, 1883, the liberal commander Eloy Alfaro participated in the Battle of Guayaquil, and later, after more conflict, became the president of Ecuador on September 4, 1895. Upon completing his second term in 1911, he moved to Europe, but upon his return to Ecuador in 1912 and attempted return to power, he was arrested on January 28, 1912, thrown in prison, and assassinated by a mob that had stormed the prison. His body was dragged through the streets of Quito to a city park, where it was burned.
In 1932, the Four Days' War broke out, a civil war that followed the election of NeptalĂ Bonifaz and the subsequent realization that he carried a Peruvian passport. Workers at a major textile factory went on strike in 1934, and similar unrest continues to the present day. On February 12, 1949, a realistic broadcast of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds led to citywide panic and the deaths of six people who died in fires set by mobs .
In recent years, Quito has been the focal point of large demonstrations that led to the ousting of presidents AbdalĂˇ Bucaram (February 5, 1997), Jamil Mahuad (January 21, 2000) and Lucio GutiĂ©rrez (April 20, 2005).
Geography: mountains and volcanoes
Quito is in the northern highland of Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin.
Cayambe, which is situated east-northeast of Quito, has not erupted since 1786, and is the only mountain or volcano on earth that lies directly on the equator (the equator runs through the southern flank) and has a permanent snow cap and glaciers.
Quito is the only capital in the world to be directly menaced by an active volcano. Guagua Pichincha, only 13 miles (21 km) west, has continuing activity and is under constant monitoring.
Activity in other nearby volcanoes also can affect the city. In November 2002, after an eruption in the volcano Reventador, the city was showered with ash for several days with greater accumulation than the 1999 eruption of Guagua Pichincha.
The region also is vulnerable to earthquakes. The worst-known earthquake to have hit Quito occurred in 1797 and killed 40,000 people. The most recent major seismic event, with a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale, occurred in 1987 with an epicentre about 50 miles (80 km) from the city.
2001 INEC census
These are numbers for the city proper only, not the whole canton, which also includes surrounding rural parishes (parish seats and their surroundings), which are separate from the city.
* Population: 1,399,378
* Number of households: 419,845
* Illiteracy rate: 3.6%
* Unemployment rate: 8.9%
* Underemployment rate: 43.8%
CantĂłn Quito (= "Distrito Metropolitano de Quito").
Quito is divided into three areas, separated by hills:
2. the southern part is mainly industrial and residential, a working-class housing area.
3. The northern part is modern Quito, with high-rise buildings, shopping centers, the financial district and upper class residential areas, and some working-class housing areas. Mariscal Sucre International Airport  is in the northern part.
As of the October 2004 political elections, Quito was divided into 19 urban electoral parishes (parroquias electorales urbanas). These parishes are not the same as the municipal parishes, whose boundaries are determined by the municipality of Quito instead of electoral organizations.
These are the 19 electoral parishes of the city:
6. El Salvador
7. GonzĂˇlez SuĂˇrez
9. La Floresta
10. La Libertad
11. La Magdalena
12. La Vicentina
13. San Blas
14. San Marcos
15. San Roque
16. San SebastiĂˇn
17. Santa BĂˇrbara
18. Santa Prisca
19. Villa Flora
Domestic and international flights are handled by the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Chaupicruz urban parish, in the northern part of the city, although a new airport is to be built in Tababela rural parish, outside the city, to the east.
The public transportation system, with a total ridership of 1.
Although public transportation is the primary form of travel in the city, including fleets of taxis that constantly cruise the roadways, the use of private vehicles has increased substantially during the past decade. This has happened despite the fact that vehicles cost twice their price in the U.S., due to import tariffs and taxes. Because of growing road congestion in many areas, there are plans to replace the Trole with a light rail system, with construction expected to begin in 2008.
The northern part of Quito is the site of the main business district and a substantial number of buildings. It is also where the international airport (UIO) and major recreational areas are located.
Museo del Banco Central
This museum is a showcase of Ecuadorian art, history and culture. The ground floor features an extensive collection of pre-colonial (including pre-Incaic) potteries, sculptures, gold, lithics, and other artifacts such as a mummified body. There also are remarkable (if somewhat distorted) models to show the way various parts of Ecuador may have looked at the time, from the Pambamarca fort to the CochasquĂ tumuli complex. The highlight of this collection is a golden sun mask of the La Tolita culture. The second floor is dedicated to Colonial art, and paintings and sculptures with religious themes are exhibited.
1. Parque Metropolitano Guanguiltagua , with its 1,376 acres (5.57 kmÂ˛) is the largest urban park in South America. (As reference, New York's huge Central Park is 843 acres (3.4 kmÂ˛).) The park is located in the north of Quito, on the hillside, behind the Atahualpa Olympic (Soccer) Stadium. The park is suited for mountain biking, walking, or running. Most of it is eucalyptus forest with trails, but there also are numerous sculptures on display. The park has four sites that can be used for picnics or barbecues, and the eastern section has a view of Cotopaxi, Antisana and the Guayllabamba river basin.
2. La Carolina is a 165.5 acre (670,000 mÂ˛) park in the BenalcĂˇzar parish in the middle of Quito's business and shopping district, bordered by three major streets: Avenida Amazonas, Avenida Shyris, and Avenida Naciones Unidas.
3. El Ejido is situated between the old part of the city and the modern section. This park is known for handicrafts available for sale every Saturday and Sunday, with all pricing subject to negotiation (i.
4. La Alameda  park has the oldest astronomical observatory in South America as well as a monument of SimĂłn BolĂvar and a small lake where boats can be rented.
The "centro histĂłrico", historical center, as it is called, was appointed, along with the historic center of KrakĂłw (Cracovia), Poland, as the first UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site  in 1978. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic center in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La CompaĂ±Ăa, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the 'Baroque school of Quito', which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.
At the north-eastern edge of Old Town lies the more recent BasĂlica del Voto Nacional, consecrated in 1988. For the able-bodied non-acrophobic tourist, the BasĂlica offers a climb up its high towers leading to breathtaking views from the top.
El Panecillo is a hill located in the middle west of the city with an altitude of about 9,895 feet (3,016 m) above sea level. The monument to Virgin Mary located on top of El Panecillo is visible from most of the city of Quito. This monument is based on a sculpture made by Bernardo de Legarda in the Spanish Colony time known as 'La Virgen de Quito'.
In 1976, the Spanish artist AgustĂn de la HerrĂˇn Matorras was commissioned by the religious order of the Oblates to build a 134Â˝ foot (41 m)-tall aluminum monument of a madonna, which was assembled on a high pedestal on the top of Panecillo.
The figure stands on top of a globe, stepping on a snake (classic madonna iconography). What is not so traditional, however, is her wings. The monument was inspired by the famous "Virgen de Quito" (Quito's Madonna), also known as "the dancer" sculpted by Bernardo de Legarda in 1734, which now decorates the main altar at the Church of St. Francisco. This madonna represents a turning point of the Quito School of Art (one of the most renowned of the Americas) because it shows a figure with great movement (practically dancing) as a contrast with the traditional static madonnas produced during the 18th century.
Northern Quito as seen from the TelefĂ©riqo (Aerial tramway) Station at Cruz Loma (part of the Pichincha mountain complex at about 13,123 ft; 4,000 m, ).
Northern Quito as seen from the TelefĂ©riqo (Aerial tramway) Station at Cruz Loma (part of the Pichincha mountain complex at about 13,123 ft; 4,000 m, ). Lots of buildings (10 or more stories) have been constructed around the financial center of the city throughout the last 35 years.
Since July 2005, Quito has an aerial tramway, known as the "TelefĂ©riqo," from the city center to the hill known as Cruz Loma on the east side of the Pichincha volcano. The ride takes visitors to an altitude of about 13,400 feet (over 4,100 m) where they find a number of restaurants, coffee shops and a variety of stores. There are also trails for hiking and areas where pictures can be taken of Quito.
Besides the aerial tramway to Cruz Loma, the TelefĂ©riqo as a whole is a visitor center that includes an amusement park (Vulqano Park), fine dining restaurants, Go Karts, Paint Ball, shopping malls, extensive food court, and other attractions.
Outside the city
La Mitad del Mundo  (the middle of the world) is a small village administered by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, 22 miles (35 km) north of Quito. The village features a large monument, built on the site where the equator was thought to have crossed the area in the early 1980s. There is also a museum that contains a model of Quito, a planetarium, various exhibits, several restaurants, an open arena that is occasionally used for folkloric dance performances, and a small chapel where couples can marry with one spouse standing in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern [it has since been determined that the actual equator is some 200 meters north of the monument area].
Pululahua is a volcano a few miles northwest from La Mitad del Mundo. Its caldera (crater) is visible from a spot easily accessible by car, and is believed to be one only a few in the world with human inhabitants. It is also the site of a Geo Botanical Reserve.
Quito Zoo located near the village of Guayllabamba, about 12 miles (20 km) outside Quito, has the biggest collection of native fauna in Ecuador, including several kinds of animals that are sometimes targeted in Ecuador in the illegal fur trade.
Other nearby natural attractions include:
* Pasochoa Volcano reserve
* Cotopaxi Volcano National Park
* Illinizas Peaks Ecological reserve
* Antisana volcano reserve
* Rucu and Guagua Pichincha volcanoes
* Papallacta and Oyacachi Thermal springs
* Cayambe Volcano - Coca National Park
* Mojanda Cajas lakes
* Mindo Nambillo Cloud forest reserve
* Otavalo crafts market