GTAT – 10 – QUITO
Tour of Colonial Quito & Middle of the World
Full Day – Private & Shared Services
Visit the most important and representative places in colonial Quito such as: Street of the Seven Crosses, Plaza de la Independencia, the Cathedral, La Compañia Church followed by the Middle of the World and Intiñan Museum
Transfer from your hotel to the colonial area of the city. From here we will explore the colonial heart of Quito on foot. We will walk down quaint cobblestone streets lined with brightly colored colonial houses. These architectural masterpieces roofed in old tiles and decorated with flower-laden balconies are watched over by the winged Virgin of Quito. She stands watch over the city on the Panecillo, a parasitic crater named for its bread-like shape.
We continue along Benalcazar Street, past the house of conquistador Sebastian de Benalcazar and onto Garcia Moreno Street. Also known as the Calle de las Siete Cruces (Street of the Seven Crosses), this was an Incan route to the Panecillo which is thought to have been a center of worship to the Sun and Moon gods. This Incan avenue was transformed into the street most heavily influenced by Christianity in Quito when the Spanish arrived.
We walk along this street to the Plaza de la Independencia. On the south side of the square lies one of the oldest cathedrals in South America: La Catedral de Quito, an impressive white-walled building with green glazed ceramic domes few buildings up, we find the incomparable Iglesia de la Compañía*, a Jesuit church overflowing with Baroque art, its tragic history concealed by gilded décor. The great Plaza de San Francisco and its church have been a center of activity since pre-Incan times when the square was the Tianguez (central marketplace). We will search for the mythical stone of Cantuña’s legend and visit the museum, which houses four thousand pieces including sculptures and oil paintings from the Escuela Quiteña.
(Please note that the church is closed to tourists on Sundays)
After this we will depart to the “Mitad del Mundo” (Middle of the World) complex, making a stop at “El Crater” restaurant for a typical Ecuadorian lunch. The Middle of the World is a 30-meter-high monument located at latitude 0º 0´0” giving you the unusual opportunity of standing in both the north and south hemispheres at the same time while straddling the Equator. To one side of the monument, a Spanish Colonial village replica offers a leisure area, gift shops, and restaurants. This site was highly significant for the ancient Andean people whose cosmovision was centered on the unity of cosmos, nature, and family many thousands of years ago.
We will also visit the Intiñan museum, dedicated to the promotion and study of the nations that inhabit what eventually became the nation of Ecuador. The museum also has several attractions, such as a totem forest, sundials, an example of an Amazonian Shuar home, and experiments that can only be done on the equator.