The city is picturesquely situated on the lower slopes of Pichincha volcano in a narrow, fertile valley of the Andes Mountains at an elevation of 2850 m (9350 ft) above sea level. Because of its elevation it has a pleasant, moderate climate despite being just south of the equator.
Quito is the oldest South American capital and retains much of its colonial aspect. The city is laid out mainly according to a rectangular plan and has an expansive central plaza, many quiet parks and flower gardens, and numerous steep, narrow streets. The architecture of Quito is chiefly in the Spanish baroque style.
The city was damaged by several earthquakes in the 19th century. It is the political, administrative, and cultural capital but has lost its primary economic position to Guayaquil, with which it has had a railway link since 1908. Quito was Ecuador's chief economic center until the early 20th century, when it was displaced by Guayaquil.
Quito has little heavy industry. Its chief manufactures include textiles, processed food, beverages, leather, cement, furniture, and gold and silver handicrafts. Quito is the capital of Ecuador.
Population (1990) 1,100,847.
The city is linked with the Pacific Ocean by roads and a railroad (opened 1908), and is on the Pan-American Highway.
Major cities near Quito:
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