Located on the foothills of the mighty Andes Mountains of Ecuador, the national capital of Quito holds the distinction of being the highest capital city in the world. The active Pichincha volcano looms over the city, built over the fertile Guayllabamba river basin and home to over two million people. But the city rests easy, its culture a naturally brewed mix of different parts of Ecuador. For those looking to explore this beautiful country, there is no better place to start than Quito. ALSO READ: Top 10 Cheapest Holiday Destinations in 2018 Revealed in New Study  Also Read - Settle in These Scenic And Impressive International Destinations With Simpler Immigration Policies

The city of Quito with the Cotopaxi volcano erupting in the background

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Plaza de San Francisco in the old town part of Quito

Plaza de San Francisco in old town Quito, Ecuador Also Read - Then, Where is Nithyananda? Ecuador Says it Didn't Provide Him Asylum

Activity in the Plaza Grande in the colonial center of the city

Activity in the Plaza Grande in the colonial center of Quito, Ecuador



The neogothic style of the Basilica of the National Vow (Basilica del Voto Nacional) illuminated during the Quito light festival

The neo - gothic style Basilica of the National Vow (Basilica del Voto Nacional) illuminated with colorful lights during the Quito light festival

View of the towers of the Basilica iwith the city visible in the background

View of the towers of the Basilica in Quito, Ecuador with the city visible in the background

View of the historic center of Quito with Panecillo hill rising in the background

View of the historic center of Quito, Ecuador as with Panecillo hill rising in the background

View of El Panecillo in the center of Quito with Cotopaxi in the background

View of El Panecillo in the center of Quito with the Cotopaxi in the background

Interior of the Church and Convent of Saint Francis in Quito

Interior of the Church and Convent of Saint Francis

Mitad Del Mundo (Middle of the World) Monument near the city

Mitad Del Mundo (Middle of the World) Monument near Quito, Ecuador

The city of Quito, illuminated by night

The city of Quito in Ecuador by night

Plaza Grande in old town Quito, Ecuador at night

Plaza Grande in old town Quito, Ecuador at night

Calle La Ronda, a typical colonial street in the historic district of Quito

Calle La Ronda, typical colonial street in historic district, Quito, Ecuador

The city’s historic center remains largely unaltered over the centuries, one of the best preserved windows into the history of American civilization. In fact, Quito and Kraków were the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Sites, declared back in 1978. Another big attraction: the equatorial line that passes just around 25 km north of Quito’s central square. The country’s name itself is Spanish for equator. Quito today is a tightly squeezed together blend of the modern, with sharply designed apartment buildings and homes and busy streets lined with traffic and shops, as well as the relaxed life of the old town and its monuments and ruins and market stands.