Ecuador: Quito

Quito is a mountainous city located within the Andean mountain range in South America. This sprawling city is the Ecuadorian capital and sits 9,350 feet (2,850 m) above sea level. Quito was originally an Incan settlement that fell to ruin and was rediscovered and colonized by Europeans in the 16th century. Quito is home to an interesting mixture of colonial, Moorish and modern architecture and the downtown has been a UNESCO World Heritage Centre since 1978. An earthquake destroyed some of Quito’s most famous buildings in 1859, but the Centro Historic, Historical Center, is still one of the best-preserved in Latin America.

Quito is also home to El Basilica del Voto Nacional. Construction on this Roman-Catholic Cathedral began in 1892; it is still uncompleted. This Basilica is the largest neo-gothic cathedral in Latin America. It has elaborate stained-glass windows depicting biblical scenes as well as native plants and animals.