City of Cuenca

Ecuador, Cuencal

Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador, capital of the Azuay province. It is located in the Sierra, the highlands of Ecuador at about 2500m (8200 ft) above sea level.

Founded in 1557, partly on an existing Inca settlement, Cuenca maintains its historical colonial buildings and architecture, with its churches and cathedrals very fine examples. photo. It is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites and considered the cultural capital of Ecuador. There are a number of Spanish language schools in the area that attract an international student body.

The region of Cuenca was already inhabited nine thousand years ago. The Cañari people settled here due to its favorable climate, abundant water and ideal land for cultivation. Extraordinary pieces of ceramic of this period, notable for their design and technique, are to be found in the museums. In the middle of the 15th century, the Incas came to this area and founded the city they called Tomebamba and a few years later, in 1557, the Spanish claimed the city and renamed it Cuenca.

Visitors to Cuenca, Ecuador, are always impressed by its beautiful churches, cobblestone streets, and colonial homes decorated with ironwork balconies. While the charm of the city draws tourists there, it is the grace and quiet dignity of its people that makes them stay. Religiously devout, friendly, and culturally conservative, Cuencanos are promoters of the arts, and many cultural and artistic events can be found at any given time within the city. Also a university town, Cuenca boasts eight universities. Home to many poets, writers, artists, and philosophers, Cuenca is a hotbed of cultural thought and reflection on Ecuadorian history and culture. For these reasons, this colonial city is known throughout the country as “The Athens of Ecuador

Cuenca Attractions

The town has an Old World, Spanish colonial feel - flower boxes on windows, wrought-iron balconies, red-tile roofs, cobblestone streets and a lively market (open Thursday, with a smaller market on Saturday). It's also a center for arts and crafts - many of the things sold in Quito and Guayaquil come from this area.

Old cathedral

It was built in 1557, but with the time it was being small for the faith of the town. In 1880, they decided to built up a temple to replaced it. At the present time, the old Cathedral is in restoration process.

New cathedral

Their towers remain truncated due to a calculation error of the architect. If it would have been concluded, the structure of this church to the Immaculate Concepción, would not have been able to resist the weight. In spite of the architect's immense mistake, the New Cathedral of Cuenca is a monumental work of faith that began to be built in 1880. Of style neogótico, highlights their domes blue and white that have become in an entire symbol for the city. Their facade is made of alabaster and local marble, while the floor is covered with pink marbles, cared from Carrara (Italy). Santo Domingo Church

Park Abdon Calderon

It is the main of Cuenca. In their benches, people meet to converse and to be loaded of the tranquility that emanates of each one of its corners. In their surroundings the Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral are located, besides the Municipality.

Monastery of El Carmen de Asuncion

In their atrium a coloring market of flowers supplements the beauty of the church been founded in 1682. Their sculpted in stone facade and their golden pulpit, are only some of their attractions.

Monastery and Museum of La Concepción

Tombs of the XVII century and a complete collection of religious art are part of this exhibition. Also, it is not a bad idea to visit the House of the Ecuadorian Culture, the Municipal Museum Remigio Crespo Toral, the Museum of the Central Bank, the Museum of the Aboriginal Cultures or the Church of Santo Domingo or San Blas.

Ruinas de todos los santos

In this old place, four niches of Inca origin exist. Their form is trapezoidal and they are built of stone. There are also remains of a colonial mill.


Less than 50 kilometers from Cuenca, town of Cañari origin, known for its weavers, embroiderers and potters. But this it is not the only point of interest, in the area there is a stone corridor in snake form, built in the preinca time.


A place where the waters reveal of the rivers, streams and lagoons, they seem to unite, to create a temple of the nature, in which the altitude varies from the 3500 to the 4200 m.a.s.l. The fishing of trouts and the observation of birds, are activities that you will be able to carry out.

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