Ecuador has a long and fascinating history, starting with the Quitus, who inhabited the area as early as 3000 BCE. The Incas came to power in the 15th century and ruled the land until the Spanish conquest in the 1500s, when Ecuador was absorbed into the Spanish Empire and became a colony of Spain. During this time, indigenous languages were replaced by Spanish and Catholicism spread across the land, along with Spanish traditions like bullfighting and Andalusian flamenco music. A few hundred years later, Ecuador became an independent nation and has been developing ever since as its own unique culture.
The Beauty of Quito
The food in Ecuador is delicious, and the people are so friendly! I highly recommend trying the ceviche when you visit. You can find it at most restaurants, and it’s a must-try dish. The communication barrier wasn’t an issue for me, as English is widely spoken throughout the country. Plus, the lakes and museums are absolutely stunning. If you’re looking for a breathtaking culture to explore, I highly recommend Ecuador!
There are many different food options that will be sure to delight your taste buds. Plus, there are no communication barriers with the locals, which made it easier for me to travel around without feeling intimidated. There’s plenty of amazing museums filled with treasures from history if you enjoy sightseeing or taking photos of nature scenes that remind you of home. And finally, let’s not forget about the waterfalls and stunning landscapes – there is never a dull moment in this country!
Quito and the Incas
The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America, and Quito was its second most important city after Cuzco. The Incas conquered Quito in the 15th century and made it one of the centers of their empire. The Incas built many magnificent buildings in Quito, including the Temple of the Sun, which is now known as the Cathedral of Quito. Ecuador’s indigenous people are a mix of different cultures, including the Inca, Maya, and Aztec. Spanish is the official language of Ecuador, but there are also many indigenous languages spoken in Ecuador, including Quechua and Shuar.
The Incas built many magnificent buildings in Quito, including one of the most well-known—the Temple of The Sun, now known as Cathedral of Quito. Other important landmarks include San Francisco Church, which is one of Quito’s oldest churches; La Compania de Jesus Church, which is a Jesuit church built in 1586; and El Sagrario church, a baroque-style church that’s considered to be one of Ecuador’s most beautiful churches. Outside of Quito are numerous ruins left behind by pre-Columbian civilizations such as Tena Monastery near Tena on Napo River in western Ecuador.
The Incas didn’t leave many monuments behind in Quito, but they did build a few structures including the Acllawasi, which is now known as Intiñan Solar Museum. There are also numerous Incan ruins outside of Quito, including Imbabura Province—which includes Rumi Punku, a wall of stones with niches that was once used for sacrifices—and Tena on Napo River in western Ecuador. At Tena is El Cajas National Park with Tena Monastery. This monastery was built by Franciscans in 1576 and became one of Ecuador’s first libraries.
Linguistic Diversity in Ecuador
On the northwestern edge of South America, Ecuador shares borders with Colombia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean. Ecuador is a land of great linguistic diversity. There are nine indigenous languages spoken in the country, as well as Spanish, which is the official language. Indigenous languages include Quichua, Shuar, Achuar, Zapara, Shiwiar, Awa-Cuaiquer, Cofan, Siona-Secoya, and Huaorani. These languages are spoken by about 1% of the population.
98% of Ecuador’s population speaks Spanish as their native tongue. Many Native American Indians speak Spanish with an accent known as mestizo. Mestizo is a word that refers to someone who has mixed European and Native American ancestry. In other words, they have been part of two cultures but have not chosen one over the other. Mestizo speakers may be raised in one culture or both. For example, they may speak only Spanish at home with their family but speak only English at school because their parents want them to succeed academically so they can find better jobs when they grow up outside Ecuador.
Cultural Festivals in Ecuador
The country also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometers west of the mainland. Ecuador is one of 17 countries in the world with extremely diverse species. The new constitution of 2008 is very progressive regarding nature and Ecuador has some of the best environmental laws in South America. For example, Ecuador is the first country in the world to implement rights for nature into its constitution.
Many of Ecuador’s largest festivals are connected to nature, often involving processions or pilgrimages. For example, La Virgen del Caravaggio is a procession carried out in Quito by members of both sexes. Participants make their way from San Sebastian church to La Compania church on September 24th each year to celebrate Virgen del Caravaggio. They wear white robes, caps and black face masks in honor of Pascua, who is said to have appeared as a simple Indian woman at a time when Catholicism was first being introduced into Ecuador.
Mountains, Lakes, Rivers, and Beaches
The capital of Ecuador is Quito. Ecuador’s official language is Spanish. Other languages spoken in Ecuador include Quechua, Shuar, and Awa-Cuaiquer. Ecuador is divided into four different regions, Costa (coast), Sierra (highlands), Oriente (east), and Galápagos Islands.
There are two major rivers that flow through Ecuador – Amazonas and Santiago. There are also many small rivers. One of these small rivers is Cotopaxi River, which starts at Cotopaxi Volcano and flows through several towns on its way to the Pacific Ocean. There are about 400 different species of birds that live in Ecuador’s forests, many types of mammals including bats, monkeys, armadillos, tapirs and pumas. Many wild cats such as cougars inhabit this area too.
The Sierra (highlands) are in northern Ecuador including Cotopaxi National Park which has volcanoes that can reach 18000 feet high. The capital of Ecuador is Quito, which is also in the Sierra region. At it’s highest point is Mount Chimborazo at 20700 feet above sea level where weather conditions are so dry that snow never falls on its peak.