The capital of Ecuador with a population of nearly three million, lies appox. 2,800 metres above sea level upon the slopes of an active volcano massif of Pichincha. Quito is usually the gateway for many tourists arriving at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport.

Together with Kraków, Quito was the first city to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quito was founded by the Spanish conquistadors in 1534 and the historic centre of is now a living museum of the traditional Spanish colonial architecture and style. Palaces, cathedrals, churches and plazas showcase the artistic tradition known as the Quito School or "Escuela Quiteña". Quito is sometimes referred to as the Florence of America. The city is divided into three administrative and geographic areas: Northern, Central, and Southern.

The Northern area is a modern civilised city full of modern architecture. Most of the administrative bodies, business and shopping centres, upper-class residential districts and embassies are located in this part of the city. It is also the centre of Quito's nightlife. The Central area consist of the historic part with the narrow streets, plazas, cultural sites and many museums.

The Southern area is the fastest developing part and consists mainly of residential districts for lower-income classes without a significant importance for tourists. The El Panecillo Hill, with the grand aluminium monument of the Madonna (Virgen de Legarda), sports a terrace offering great views of the whole city.

Another of the city's attractions is a cable car line to one of the Pichincha peaks at 4,200 metres above sea level. In good weather, the ride offers breathtaking views of the snow-capped volcanoes surrounding Quito. Only a couple of kilometres north of Quito lies the famous tourist citadel, the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo. Nearby lies the Intiñan Solar Museum, an ethnographic museum with an interesting exhibition of various Ecuadorian cultures and demonstrations of various physical phenomena connected with the Equator.

The hotspot of Quinto nightlife is the area known as the Mariscal, bounded by the Reina Victoria, Amazonas, José Calama and Wilson Street. The area is packed with bars, night clubs, internet cafés, hostels, restaurants and clubs offering all kinds of music.


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