Address: About 25 miles (40 km) from Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de Quito. It takes about an hour from the city center to the airport.

Isolated in the Andes at an altitude of 9350 feet (2850 meters), Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded by the Spanish in 1534 on the ruins of an Inca city. The city takes pride in being the best-preserved, least altered historic center of Spanish America.

La Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande, among the locals) is the central square of the city and one of the symbols of the executive power of the nation. The square is bounded by the Palacio de Carondelet, Palacio Arzobispal and Plaza Grande, Catedral Metropolitana and Palacio Municipal.

Palacio de Carondelet. This is the official residence of the President of Ecuador. When the president is in residence, it’s closed to visitors.

Palacio Arzobispal. This is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Quito and official residence of the Archbishop of Quito.

Next to Palacio Arzobispal is Palacio de Pizarro, now known as Plaza Grande. It is actually a hotel with only 15 suites. Published room rates range from $366 to $2684 per night, inclusive of breakfast, taxes and service charge.

Catedral Metropolitana de Quito. Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre, the leading figure of Quito’s independence, is buried here, in addition to several former Presidents of Ecuador. There is also a plaque behind the main altar marking the spot where President Gabriel García Moreno died on August 6, 1875. After being slashed with a machete outside Palacio de Carondelet, he was carried, dying, to the cathedral.

Palacio Municipal. This is the seat of the Metropolitan Government of Quito. Its architecture is visibly modern, which is in stark contrast to the buildings on the other three sides of Plaza Grande. Here lies the office of the Mayor of Quito (also the offices of the 21 councilors).

Now let us explore what is outside Plaza Grande. First, this is Centro Cultural Metropolitano, which houses the municipal library and lecture rooms and hosts temporary art exhibitions.

I love taking pictures of churches. In Quito’s Centro Histórico, there are probably 40 or so churches.

I love this church, but sadly I don’t remember its name.

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