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Time Traveller: Quito, 1978

Time Traveller: Quito, 1978
Quito in Ecuador was the first in the world to get the heritage tag, Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ecuadorian capital Quito was the first cultural centre in the world to receive the heritage tag

Nayanika Mukherjee
August 22 , 2019
Less than 1 Min Read

Unless plagued by hermit-like seclusion, you’ve probably heard of Unesco’s 2019 additions to the venerated World Heritage Sites list. Millennial chatter poured out online as Jaipur earned a laurel for its urban planning and artistic traditions, while those from Gen X attempted a roll-call of the 12 original names from 1978. If you’re still curious, minutes of that fateful September meeting show that Ecuadorian capital Quito was the first cultural centre in the world to receive the heritage tag, preceded by three all-stars of the geographic kind. Built atop Inca ruins in the 1500s, this is one of the best-preserved and least-modified cities in Latin America. Fusing European, Moorish and indigenous styles, the city developed its own baroque school of architecture, reflected in altar pieces, sculptures and its many spiritual citadels. The region has been witness to pre-Columbian societies, as well as the ravaging of Spanish conquistadors, both of whom were forced to adapt to the rugged Andean topography. Indeed, modern houses and squares still follow the original plans from 1734. As of today, Quito has over 16 lakh residents and rests on the slopes of the active Pichincha volcano.


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