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Ciudad Mitad del Mundo – The city at the middle of the world

Tijana Radeska

The Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, meaning “Middle of the World City” is located at the San Antoñio area of the canton of Quito, Ecuador, only 26 kilometers north of Quito. It is a tract of land that is owned by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, Ecuador.

There is the Monument that highlights the exact location of the Equator, measured by a Franco-Spanish Geodesic Expedition in 1736. Although this is where travel agencies would send you, it is not the actual equator.

The first monument “Mitad del Mundo” Photo credit

The first monument “Mitad del Mundo” Photo credit

The real equator is actually 250 yards away, as it was determined only a few years ago through the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology that was not possible in the 18th century. 

The first monument “Mitad del Mundo” Photo credit

The first monument “Mitad del Mundo” Photo credit

 

Mitad del Mundo Photo credit

Mitad del Mundo Photo credit

 

Mitad del Mundo – Middle of the earth Photo credit

Mitad del Mundo – Middle of the earth Photo credit

Even though the mistake was revealed, the Ecuadorian government had already built the Mitad del Mundo Museum( Museum at the Middle of the Earth) along with a 32ft high monument on the old site in 1935 to honor the French mission guided by local geographer Luis Gudiño.

In spite of its inaccurate coordinates, the monument was replaced in 1972 with a new 98ft high monument, named “Ciudad Mitad del Mundo”. It is a pyramidal monument topped by a globe which weighs 5 tons. Inside the monument, there is a small museum  where a variety of indigenous items of Ecuadorian culture can be seen. On the weekends there are various cultural and musical events held at the Central Plaza just in front if the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo.

Mitad Del Mundo Central Plaza. Photo credit

Mitad Del Mundo Central Plaza. Photo credit

 

Intiñan Solar Park Photo credit

Intiñan Solar Park Photo credit

 

The actual site is at a much earlier indigenous religious site in the mountains in the background, left by a culture with advanced skill in astronomy. Photo credit

The actual site is at a much earlier indigenous religious site in the mountains in the background, left by a culture with advanced skill in astronomy. Photo credit

 

And a grizzly connection of indigenous paraphernalia, including these shrunken heads Photo credit

And a grizzly connection of indigenous paraphernalia, including these shrunken heads Photo credit

 

Intiñan Solar Park Photo credit

Intiñan Solar Park Photo credit

 

Intiñan Solar Park Photo credit

Intiñan Solar Park Photo credit

A few years ago, an Ethnographic Museum Monument was built on the exact location of the equator as determined by GPS measurements.

It is known as the Intiñan Solar Museum and hosts exhibitions about indigenous Ecuadorian culture. The tour guides also demonstrate phenomena believed to be possible only on the Equator. For example, by moving a bowl of water north and south of the marked equator line, you can purportedly see a change in the direction of flow from clockwise to anti-clockwise as the equator is crossed.

 

Pululahua volcano Photo credit

Pululahua volcano Photo credit

There are more tricks that visitors can try themselves such as balancing an egg on its end or weakening muscles due to latitude.

Read another story from us: Panama hats are made in Ecuador not Panama

Taxi drivers from Quito can take you on a three to four-hour tour of both places.