BEST VIEWED LARGER
This artwork is derived from a photograph taken during a tour of Ecuador and parts of Central America.
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Taken April 5, 2010 in the capital, Quito, Ecuador.
Lonely Planet says, “climb the church’s clock tower for superb views of the city.” That’s understated. Sure there are great views, but how could they not even mention that you can climb around the innards of the church like Quasimodo? I’ve never done anything like it in my life, and it was so cool. And once you get past the many floors of normal stairs, clamber you will. Luckily for me the place was almost deserted as I climbed the winding staircase to and through the clock tower (where you can see the clock faces from the inside!) and then up the ladders to the bell tower. Here the bells are right there to be touched, should you choose. And then there is a very steep ladder up into the very highest platform. The view is incredible. I could see El Panecillo, the large hill topped by a statue of La Virgen de Quito, also popular for views, and Quito on every horizon. Above the clock face the walls become concrete gingerbread, with nothing to stop the cold wind from whipping through.
You can then take a catwalk underneath the peak of the basilica’s nave and go up super steep ladders to the rear tower for yet another magnificent 360 view of the entire city. There is also an interesting perspective of El Panecillo though the two front clock towers.
San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains. With a population of approximately 1,504,991 in 2005, Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. In 2008 the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.
The elevation of the city’s central square (Plaza de La Independencia or Plaza Grande) is 2,800 m (about 9,186 ft), making Quito the second-highest administrative capital city in the world (after La Paz, Bolivia), and the highest legal capital (ahead of Sucre, also in Bolivia, and Bogotá, Colombia).
The central square of Quito is located about 25 km (15 miles) south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 km (0.6 miles) of zero latitude.
Quito, along with Krakow, were the first Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978.
In 1809, after nearly 300 years of Spanish colonization, Quito was a city of about 10,000 inhabitants. On August 10, 1809, a movement was started in Quito that aimed for political independence from Spain. On that date, a plan for government was established that placed Juan Pío Montúfar as president with various other prominent figures in other positions of government. However, this initial movement was ultimately defeated on August 2, 1810, when Imperial troops came from Lima, Peru, and killed the leaders of the uprising along with about 200 inhabitants of the city. A chain of conflicts concluded on May 24, 1822, when Antonio José de Sucre, under the command of Simón Bolívar, led troops into the Battle of Pichincha. Their victory marked the independence of Quito and the surrounding areas. Just days after the Battle of Pichincha, on May 24, 1822, the leaders of the city proclaimed their independence and allowed the city to be annexed to the Republic of Gran Colombia. Simón Bolívar went to Quito on June 16, 1822, and was present at the signing of the Colombian Constitution on June 24, 1822. When the Gran Colombia dissolved in 1830, Quito became the capital of the newly formed Republic of Ecuador.
El Panecillo is a hill located in the middle west of the city at an altitude of about 9,895 ft (3,016 m) above sea level. A monument to the Virgin Mary is located on top of El Panecillo and is visible from most of the city of Quito. In 1976, the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras was commissioned by the religious order of the Oblates to build a 134.5 ft (41 m)–tall aluminum monument of a Madonna, which was assembled on a high pedestal on the top of Panecillo. Made of approximately 7,000 pieces of aluminum, the monument was inaugurated on March 28, 1976, by the 11th archbishop of Quito, Cardinal Pablo Muñoz Vega. The figure stands on top of a globe, standing on top of a chained snake , symbolizing her triumph over evil.