Cultural Spark at Quito’s Old Town

Cristina Zaldumbide

Quito´s historical old town
Quito´s historical old town

The core of colonial Quito, Old Town, reflects its history under the Spanish influence as well as the grandeur of its national spirit.  Narrow streets, colonial architecture, meaningful churches, and relevant museums are the ones holding its legend.

It is a bustling area overwhelmed with street vendors, rushed pedestrians, careless drivers and hundreds of tourists, all playing a part in its culture. As busy as it is, there’s always a moment to discover its significance.

The Catedral Metropolitana is located on the southwest side of the plaza. Jose Antonio de Sucre, an icon of South America’s independence battles, is buried there. Behind the main platform, the altar known as Nuestra Senora de los Dolores shows its stunning beauty. Its significance goes back to August 6, 1875 when President Gabriel Garcia Moreno gave his last breath after being shot outside the presidential palace. He was an Ecuadorian politician who served twice as president of Ecuador during the late 19th century. He was assassinated at the end of his second term, when news about him being elected a third time traveled rapidly throughout the country. Gabriel Garcia Moreno was popular for its strict conservatism, catholic perspective and his rivalry with the figure of the liberal party, Eloy Alfaro.  He still remains in the hearts of many that cherished Ecuador as much as he did.

On the other side of the plaza, the Government Palace is situated. One of the most attractive features of the plaza is the balconies which were originally from the palace of Les Tuilleries in Paris, and were received as a gift after the French Revolution in 1789. At the entrance to the main courtyard stand two guards in full uniform who must be among the most photographed people in the country.

Quito is a city with abundant history and culture, but its amazement is also focused on daily tourist attractions. One of the most important one is the restaurant Café Mosaico. It is elegant, sophisticated and offers Greek, American and Ecuadorian food. Even though its food is exquisite, its customers actually pay for its mesmerizing panoramic view of the city that captures its historic background.

The Old Town represents the hearts and battles of the Ecuadorian people and demonstrates through its architectural style the enduring legacy of our past conquerors, the Spanish. Walking through the Old Town is like walking in a cultural paradise where the past and present blend into one.


Cafe Mosaico. (2013). Retrieved Septmeber 26, 2013, from

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands Travel Guide. (2009). Old town Quito. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from

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