Quito, Ecuador

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Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th Century on the ruins of an Inca city and is located on a plateau at an altitude of 9,350 feet in the Andes along the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano and bordered by the hills of Panecillo and Ichimbia. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The historic district of Quito was the first place in the world to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978.

Quito's history is a long one. During the pre-Columbian era, the contemporary Quito area was occupied by several tribes, including the Quitus. While the Inca controlled Ecuador at the beginning of the 16th century, Quito was the capital of the northern half of the Incan empire. But in 1533, the Inca general Rumiñahui, destroyed Quito to keep it from being captured by the advancing Spanish conquistadors. A year later, however, the Spanish conquered the Inca and the Spanish lieutenant Sebastián de Benalcázar began rebuilding Quito from the ruins left behind by Rumiñahui.

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From 1544 to 1720, Ecuador was a part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until it joined the newly-created Viveroyalty of Nueva Granada. Quito became a Royal Audienca of Spain in 1563, which allowed it to deal directly with Madrid instead of going through Lima for certain political matters. Antonio José de Sucre liberated the city in 1822 during South American troops' revolt against Spanish rule. Several memorable events occurred in the 20th century, including the people dragging the dead body of President Eloy Alfaro, leader of the Liberal Revolution assassinated in the city's prison, through the streets, and the coup d'état attempt on September 1, 1975, when the army attacked the presidential house during the government of General Guillermo Rodriguez Lara. Three years later, Quito was deemed a UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and the city started expanding. There has been an enormous effort to restore Quito after many natural disasters including the 1917 earthquake.

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Quito is an amazing city to visit with beautiful architecture, stunning cathedrals and much more. It is one of those locations that is a must-see.

Join our Tour Host, Jo-Anne and her group as they see and learn more about Quito and the rest of this beautify country on the next Exploring Ecuador tour.

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