City of Quito

A nine-hour bus ride north of Cuenca through the Andes brought me to Ecuador’s capital, Quito. At an altitude of 2,850 m above sea level it is the highest capital in the world.

view from the bus between Cuenca and Quito

view from the bus between Cuenca and Quito

Located in a narrow valley it is now a large longitudinal city spreading north and south from the historic centre. Before the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century it had been a settlement for a succession of indigenous groups, most recently the Incas.

Quito - street on site of prehispanic settlement

Quito - street on site of prehispanic settlement

I stayed in a hostel run by two jolly German men and on my last night shared a dormitory with a man from Liechtenstein who told me that most border crossing agents outside Europe have never heard of it and have difficulty believing the passport isn’t a fake from an invented country. Which puts my difficulty in persuading people that ‘British’ is a nationality (most people have only heard of England) into perspective.

Quito - courtyard of city museum, in 17th century hospital

Quito - courtyard of city museum, in 17th century hospital

Quito has some wonderful church interiors, in a local version of the Baroque style that is, according to UNESCO “a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art”. The most wonderful church is the Jesuit College of La Compañía, full of gold ornamentation and ornate altars. Photography was forbidden but seeing so many other people flouting it I did sneak one picture myself.

Quito - interior of Jesuit church

Quito - interior of Jesuit church

The exterior too was rather wonderful, but the street outside too narrow to allow me to take a decent photograph, so I decided against building this as my Lego model.

Quito - Jesuit church

Quito - Jesuit church

Instead, I chose another church with a similarly decorated interior and full of paintings but with a much plainer exterior.

Quito

Quito

Shortage of parts meant I had to compromise on the proportions somewhat.

Lego Quito

Lego Quito

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2 Responses to City of Quito

  1. danandrew says:

    Glad it`s not only me that has to keep explaining what/where Reino Unido is!

    • Jax says:

      I’ve given up on Reino Unido – people hear the last word and think I’m American, which would never do. I’m tempted to claim I’m Welsh sometimes, just to see how that goes – about as well as being from Lichtenstein I expect.

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