Quito Tourist Attractions
Located high in the Andes the city of Quito is the capital of Ecuador. The historic Old Town of Quito is filled with colonial architecture and is the largest historic center in South America. Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site with many old churches, beautiful public squares, and quality museums.The city has long been a favorite with artisans and is a great place to buy local crafts. Visitors will find everything from ceramics and wood carvings to clothing. Many of these are the result of traditional crafts and skills that have been passed down from generation to generation.For many people Quito will be the first stop on a trip through Ecuador. There is plenty to see and do in this unique city and visitors should allow some time to experience all that Quito has offer.
A World Heritage Site, the Historic Center in Quito is well preserved with old buildings that are now public monuments and museums. The most famous of these are the San Francisco Church and Plaza Grande.
Rumipamba Archeological & Ecological Park
The Rumipamba Archeological & Ecological Park exposes evidence of habitation here as far back as 2000 BC. The site shows Pre-Inca walls as well as Inca walls, and roads of the Yumbo people. The onsite museum displays ceramics and other finds from the archeological dig here which is ongoing in some areas. The Rumipamba Archeological & Ecological Park, which is open to the public, is actually only a portion of the actual archeological site.
San Francisco Church
The Church of San Francisco in Quito stands on the Plaza San Francisco, dominating one entire side. The origins of this church, originally called St Paul's, date back to the first half of the 1500s.White washed twin towers flank each side of the entrance and the most impressive part is perhaps the size of the building. The interior though is an incredible Baroque work of art and a must see on any trip to Quito.
Convent Museum of San Francisco
In the Church of San Francisco is the Convent Museum of San Francisco, one of the largest of its kind in South America. On display are works from the Quito School of Art and the forefather to this school, the San Andrés College of Art and Sculpture, which was begun here by the Franciscans. Various rooms showcase religious paintings, sculptures, carvings, porcelain, textiles, and handcrafted furniture.
Central Bank National Museum
The Museo Nacional del Banco Central del Ecuador in Quito is one of the most popular museums in the city. It deals with the cultural and artistic history of Ecuador. The museum contains some impressive artifacts from religious icons to ceremonial masks and many gold items. Archeological artifacts reveal insight into the Inca Era.
The Escuela Taller Quito is a craft school for artisans, where young people can learn the techniques and traditions from trained artists. The school is housed in a former hospital in the Old Town, which has been restored.Visitors can see artists at work, learn a little about the design process, and buy works that are for sale.
The Guayasamín Museum is located in the home of artist Oswaldo Guayasamín. On display is his personal collection which includes important archeological finds from the area. Most impressive though is the collection of Guayasamín's own artwork.Guayasamín is a 20th Century artist whose works and talent have been recognized around the world.
Interactive Science Museum
Located in a former factory building the Interactive Science Museum (Museo Interactivo de Ciencias) is a family oriented museum. Many displays are interactive and designed to promote learning, particularly for children. The Interactive Science Museum features a permanent collection as well as changing exhibits so there is always something going on at the center.
One of Quito's best museums is the City Museum (Museo de la Ciudad). The City Museum is housed in the former Hospital of Saint John of God which was built in the mid 16th Century.The museum explores the social history of Quito from Pre-Colombian times onward.
La Florida Archaeological Site
The La Florida Archaeological Site reveals Pre-Inca burial site located 15 meters below ground. The excavations have found a large number of ceramics, jewelry, and other treasures at the site. The area has been turned into a museum and is now open to the public.
The Mindalae Museum in Quito is a great place to learn about the traditional crafts and craft making process. Crafts and arts from the various regions of Equador are on display here in this huge facility. There is also a shop where visitors can purchase items.
The Virgin of Quito Monument
On hill overlooking the city of Quito is the Monument to the Virgin of Quito. The huge statue was work of Spanish artist Augustín de la Herrán Matorras. The monument stands 45m (148 ft) high and can be accessed from the interior. Visitors can climb up for panoramic views over the city.
The Center for Contemporary Art
The Center for Contemporary Art (Centro de Arte Contemporaneo) in Quito opened in 2008. The center is located in the former San Juan military hospital and is designed to feature changing exhibits.
Yaku Water Museum
The Yaku Water Museum is located in Quito's Old town. The museum focuses on water as a resource but also looks at it from a cultural perspective. In addition, the views from Yaku Museum are amazing as it sits on the side of the Pichincha Volcano.
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