Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 41, Ecuador

We have arrived in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. This city was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m.

Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America.

Sita's friend was supposed to meet us here to show us the monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compañía, with their rich interiors, which are pure examples of the 'Baroque school of Quito', which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.

Alas, she is unable to.....and we are pressed for time so we will not be touring the city by ourselves.....instead we are going to move on to Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca, which is set in a valley surrounded by the Andean mountains in the south of Ecuador.

This inland colonial town (entroterra), now the country's third city, was founded in 1557 on the rigorous planning guidelines issued 30 years earlier by the Spanish king Charles V. Cuenca still observes the formal orthogonal town plan that it has respected for 400 years. One of the region's
agricultural and administrative centres, it has been a melting pot for local and immigrant populations. Cuenca's architecture, much of which dates from the 18th century, was 'modernized' in the economic prosperity of the 19th century as the city became a major exporter of quinine, straw hats and other products.

Nopi wants to visit the Old Cathedral (Iglesia de El Sagrario) after dinner we drive past it.

It was built in 1557, but soon was too small for the faithful of the town.
In 1880, they decided to build a temple to replace it.
Oops Nopi, at the present time, the old cathedral is in process of restoration. It is no longer consecrated and is operated as a museum, and the museum is not open at night...

Btw, it's Mandela Day today, Happy Birthday Madiba.Have you pledged your 67minutes to helping someone in need??

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