El Centro Histórico de Quito

How time flies when one is busy.  It has been almost a month since our last installment of the Ecuador Chronicles.  Sunday afternoon eating pastry in the park was fun, but one cannot sit in the grass and eat sweets forever.  On Monday morning, Diego, Director of the Academia, gave us a walking tour of the historic center of Quito.  While walking around, Diego gave us a brief history of Quito.

colonial quito Square Square nite square nite 2

There were 26 aboriginal cultures that inhabited Ecuador during its prehistory.  Quito was inhabited as far back as 8 thousand years ago by the Caras culture who were living around a central lagoon in Quito area.  The whole territory was called Quitu at the time.  Cacao, corn, and spondelus shell were used as currency by the various indigenous populations.  Later, the Inca from Bolivia and Peru spread into Quito and colonized the area either by friendly agreements with local communities or through warfare.  The Inca then established Quito as the northern (2nd capital) of the their empire.

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The Inca were in Ecuador only 30-40 years when the Spanish conquistadors arrived, conquered, and settled the region.  The Spanish named it San Francisco de Quito.  During the 1830’s the country became the Democratic Republic of Ecuador.  Between 1999-2005 the population of Ecuador declined due to emigration.  800 thousand people left in less than 4 years, going to Spain (80%), Holland, and Italy mostly.  The economies of these countries were still developing and they needed cheap manual labor.  This attracted Ecuadorians, who did not need a visa to enter these countries, until the laws changed in 2005.

In Ecuador during this time the economy was in decline and banks were closing.  In 2000 Ecuador decided to switch their currency to the US dollar in an effort to revive the economy.  This was risky, because they would no longer have the ability to control currency, but it paid off.  The economy in Ecuador is stable and growing.  Ecuador brings dollars into the country through tourism and exporting goods and services.  Ecuador needs to be productive and efficient to keep the economy healthy.  Main sources of income are petroleum, bananas (#1 producer in the world),  shrimp, roses, tourism, cacao, and coffee.

Center Center Nite

Streets  Streets 2

There were some spectacular sights to see as we walked the historic center of the city.  Quito has 80 blocks of Colonial history and was designated as a World UNESCO heritage site.

  • Iglesia & monastery de San Augustin (1580)
  • Basilica
  • Iglesia de San Francisco (1535)
  • Independence Square
  • Presidential Palace
  • National Bank of Ecuador (former)

bank basillica

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Language and tool-making skills evolved at the same time

Language and tool-making skills evolved at the same time.

Nuestros Día Libre en Quito

 

After spending a few days touring the region north of Quito we had a rare day without an agenda.  We all meet at the Academia and decided we would walk around a bit and explore Quito on our own.  Just go wherever the wind took us.

 Zumba  Zumba 2

As we wandered, we stumbled upon a group Zumba class in the park.  Naturally, we had to join in for a song or two…

teleferico

  IMAG0386  DSCN0378

We then decided we should take a taxi to the Teleferiqo, a cable care that took people most of the way up the Pichincha volcano.  Many people then biked the trails to the top the volcano.  The view of Quito was spectacular

After our morning ride up the mountain we returned and had lunch in a local restaurant.  I had empanadas – a corn and cheese empanada and a green plantain empanada.  Mmmmmm…

Bakery

Following our lunch we went to the local bakery we discovered a block from the Academia to procure desert.  (We spent the rest of the time we were in Quito haunting the bakery)

group (4)

We made our sweet selections and then made our way to Parque de la Carolina for a desert picnic.  We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in the park watching the residents of Quito enjoy Sunday afternoon. It was a nice way to end our day of adventure.

Chair of Social Science, Humanities,
& Foreign Languages

Liberal Arts & University Transfer
Craven Community College

800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562
Email: bellaceroc@cravencc.edu
Phone: 252.638.7328
Fax: 252.638.3231

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