The New Student's Reference Work/Quito
Quito (kē′ tō), the capital of Ecuador, lies almost on the equator, on the east of a great plateau, at the foot of a volcano and at an elevation of 9,351 feet. The appearance of Quito is picturesque, with beautiful mountains on every side. This, with its clear, healthy and temperate climate maintaining perpetual spring, makes it one of the most charming cities of South America; yet the abrupt changes from the hot sun of midday to the chills of evening make pneumonia and diseases of the chest very common. Public buildings include a university, seminary, institute of science, observatory, museum, library of 20,000 volumes, cathedral, archbishop’s palace, city-hall, capitol, a penitentiary, hospital, lunatic asylum, retreat for lepers, a score of churches and three times as many monasteries. Most of these are in a dilapidated condition, for which it is hard to find any reason but laziness; for they retain their lands and revenues, and the offerings of the faithful, who nearly all are Indians are as constant as ever. Indeed, Quito is the paradise of priests and church bells jangle all day long; for Ecuador is the pope’s most faithful province and the one state which refuses to recognize the unity of Italy and the condition which resulted from the occupation of Rome. There are only two or three good stores and no hotels; the daily market in the square before the monastery of San Francisco is the general purchasing place; and the religious houses serve for hotels. Quito was founded in 1534, and has suffered frequently from earthquakes. Population about 80,000, mainly Indians and Mestizos (half-Spanish or Creole and half-Indian). See Ecuador.