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Did you know that Ecuador has this name because it is geographically located on the equatorial line of the Earth? Or that it was in the 19th century when this feature was actually discovered?
In this post we invite you to learn more about the Middle of the World City, the park that pays tribute to the Middle of the World installed in Quito.
What is the Middle of the World City?
If you go to the north of Quito, capital of Ecuador, you will find land with great symbolic meaning for this country.
It is a large park built to tell the whole world the exact location of the equatorial line, which was discovered after a French-Spanish geodesic mission in the 18th century. The results at that time, dated this place as the precise point through which the Equator passed.
This is why, years later, in 1936, it was decided to create a monument at the exact spot of the discovery. This monument, 10 meters high, was present until 1979, when it was decided to create a new and larger one, 30 meters, to highlight the importance of this place.
Currently, some 500,000 visitors arrive here each yearto appreciate this scientific landmark. Luckily, there are many, many more tours in Ecuador to do if you want to take advantage of this trip.
Monument to the Mitad del Mundo
The new monument in reference to Ecuador has a pyramidal structure, and is empty inside. But don’t be alarmed, you won’t feel ripped off if you visit.
Each side points in a cardinal direction. In addition, inscriptions commemorating the mission that helped discover this landmark were created on each side of the monument.
Thus, the west side of the pyramid is dedicated to the group of Spanish scientists, while the east side is dedicated to the French group. The north side is dedicated to the memory of Pedro Vicente Maldonado, an Ecuadorian scientist who helped in this discovery. Finally, on the south side is the shield of the country, Ecuador.
On the tip of the pyramid, there is a 5-ton globe that crowns the monument. Undoubtedly, it is one of the must-sees if you think what to see in Ecuador.
Finally, inside the monument itself, a small museum with elements of Ecuador’s indigenous culture was created. Different dresses, as well as a review of the diverse ethnic groups that this country has, and some of the activities they performed.
It is undoubtedly a great place to learn about the country’s ancient settlers, as well as their traditions, and learn about the evolution of gastronomy of Ecuador.
From this main monument, a line was drawn in an easterly direction, which marks the equatorial line.
This line has been since it was created, a tourist attraction. Visitors to this place are often photographed on either side of the equator symbolizing the change of hemisphere.
However, further studies that have been carried out have determined that this place is actually not really the equator.
Exactly, the entire structure is located approximately 240 meters south of the true equator, although this place retains the symbolism of being half of the world.
In addition to the main monument and the equatorial line, in this enclosure, you can find other attractions. There are several permanent exhibition pavilions so that, whenever you go, you have exhibits to see.
The most important is the Guayasamín Pavilion. In this, you can find an exhibition of the different works of Oswaldo Guayasamín, the most famous Ecuadorian painter in history.
In another of the pavilions, the France Pavilion, you will find the French Geodesic Museum. Here you can see all the information about the studies of the Geodesic Mission and information about the Academy of Sciences of Paris.
Finally, you can’t leave the place without seeing the Planetarium, a model replica of the city of Quito during colonial times.
The Real Middle of the World
The Cerro Catequilla is an elevation very close to the Middle of the World City. It has nothing to do with the Chimborazo climb, but it also has its charm.
There you will find the Pillar of the Sun Monument, which is formed by 12 heads, each symbolizing a month of the year.
It is in this place where, with the latest GPS technology, it has been possible to demonstrate that the Middle of the World of Ecuador really is. Thus, Catequilla is exactly at latitude 0º 0′ 0″, being able to move from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere in just one movement.
Would you like to live the experience of being in two hemispheres almost at the same time? Do you know any other place where the equatorial line passes beside the Middle City of the World?