Cuenca, Ecuador

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Cuenca
City
Cuenca, Ecuador
Cuenca-city.jpg
Panoramic view of Cuenca, Ecuador, from Turi area
Flag of Cuenca, Ecuador.svg
Flag
Escudo de Cuenca (Ecuador).png
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): 
Atenas del Ecuador (Athens of Ecuador)
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Cuenca
Location in Ecuador
Coordinates: 2°53′50.69″S79°00′16.13″W / 2.8974139°S 79.0044806°W / -2.8974139; -79.0044806 Coordinates: 2°53′50.69″S79°00′16.13″W / 2.8974139°S 79.0044806°W / -2.8974139; -79.0044806
Country Ecuador
Province Azuay
Canton Cuenca Canton
FoundedApril 12, 1557
Founded byGil Ramírez Dávalos
Named for Cuenca, Spain
Parishes
Government
  MayorPedro Palacios
Area
  City70.59 km2 (27.25 sq mi)
Elevation
2,560 m (8,400 ft)
Highest elevation
2,550 m (8,370 ft)
Lowest elevation
2,350 m (7,710 ft)
Population
 (2015)INEC estimates
  City400,000
  Density5,700/km2 (15,000/sq mi)
   Metro
700,000
 The population total is of the urban parishes of the Municipality of Cuenca (the canton), which make up the city of Cuenca; the metro population is the population of the canton cuenca, areas urbanas of azogues , biblian and deleg in the cañar province. Gualaceo and Paute in the azuay province.[ clarification needed ]
Demonym(s) Cuencan
Time zone UTC-5 (ECT)
Postal code
010150
Area code(s) (+593) 07
Climate Marine
Website Official website ‹See Tfd› (in Spanish)
Cuenca City Hall in Bolivar Street Municipio de Cuenca (Ecuador).jpg
Cuenca City Hall in Bolívar Street

Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca, commonly referred to as simply Cuenca, is the capital and largest city of the Azuay Province of Ecuador. Cuenca is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2,560 metres (8,400 feet) above sea level, with an urban population of approximately 400,000 and 700,000 inhabitants in the larger metropolitan area. The center of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its many historical buildings.

Azuay Province Province in Ecuador

Azuay, Province of Azuay is a province of Ecuador, created on 25 June 1824. It encompasses an area of 8,309.58 square kilometres (3,208.35 sq mi). Its capital is Cuenca. It is located in the south center of Ecuador in the highlands. Its mountains reach 4,500 m (14,800 ft) above sea level in the national park of El Cajas.

Ecuador Republic in South America

Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. The capital city is Quito, which is also the largest city.

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration in education, sciences, and culture in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

Contents

History

First inhabitants

According to studies and archeological discoveries, the origins of the first inhabitants go back to the year 8060 BC in the Cave of Chopsi. They were hunters, hunting everything the Páramo offered them, and nomads, following the animals and seasons. Their culture is represented by tools such as arrows and spears, which have been found throughout the Andean valley. The culture was most present about 5585 BC.

Páramo high-altitude wet tundra in South America

Páramo can refer to a variety of alpine tundra ecosystems. Some ecologists describe the páramo broadly as "all high, tropical, montane vegetation above the continuous timberline". A more narrow term classifies the páramo according to its regional placement in the northern Andes of South America and adjacent southern Central America. The páramo is the ecosystem of the regions above the continuous forest line, yet below the permanent snowline. It is a "Neotropical high mountain biome with a vegetation composed mainly of giant rosette plants, shrubs and grasses". According to scientists, páramos may be "evolutionary hot spots" and among the fastest evolving regions on Earth.

Andes Mountain range in South America

The Andes or Andean Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. The Andes also have the 2nd most elevated highest peak of any mountain range, only behind the Himalayas. The range is 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, 200 to 700 km wide, and has an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

Later the early indigenous people used the stable climate, fertile soil and abundant water to develop agriculture. They grew potatoes, melloco, chocho, squash and quinoa. They also domesticated animals such as cuys (guinea pigs) and camelids: llamas and alpacas.

Agriculture Cultivation of plants and animals to provide useful products

Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first.

Potato plant species producing the tuber used as a staple food

The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum, native to the Americas. In many contexts, potato refers to the edible tuber, but it can also refer to the plant itself. Common or slang terms include tater, tattie, and spud.

Quinoa species of plant, quinua

Quinoa is an annual seed-producing flowering plant grown as a grain crop. It is a pseudocereal, not a grass, unlike wheat and rice. It is botanically related to spinach.

Their technology was also advanced. For example, they started creating ceramics. In fact, ceramics constitute the greatest number of artifacts which archeologists use to study their culture. The period from 5000 BCE to 2000 BCE is not represented well in the archeological record. Beginning around 2000 BCE, the people developed a more highly organized society, demonstrating delegated responsibilities, such as the managing of water and control of plagues. People were specialized as administrative and religious authorities (known as shamans ). This occurred during the periods of Chaullabamba, Huayco, Pirincay, Monjas, Putushio, Huancarcucho and Jubones. From then until 500 AD began the periods of Tacalshapa III and the Cañari people, who were absorbed into the Incas in the 15th century.

Irrigation artificial application of water to the land

Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. Irrigation also has other uses in crop production, including frost protection, suppressing weed growth in grain fields and preventing soil consolidation. In contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as rain-fed or dry land farming.

Public health preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through organized efforts and informed choices of society and individuals

Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting human health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals". Analyzing the health of a population and the threats it faces is the basis for public health. The public can be as small as a handful of people or as large as a village or an entire city; in the case of a pandemic it may encompass several continents. The concept of health takes into account physical, psychological and social well-being. As such, according to the World Health Organization, it is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Shamanism A practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with the spirit world

Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with what they believe to be a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world.

Pre-Columbian society

Cuenca was originally a Cañari settlement called Guapondeleg. Archeologists believe Cuenca was founded around 500 AD. Guapondeleg translates into "land as big as heaven." Less than half a century before the conquistadors landed, the Incas, after a bitter struggle, conquered the Cañari and occupied Guapondeleg and the surrounding area. Though the Incas replaced the Cañari architecture with their own, they did not suppress the Cañari or their impressive achievements in astronomy and agriculture. As was customary for the Incas, they absorbed useful achievements into their culture. They renamed the city Tomebamba . The city became known as the second Cusco, a regional capital.

Cañari

The Cañari are an indigenous ethnic group traditionally inhabiting the territory of the modern provinces of Azuay and Cañar in Ecuador. They are descended from the independent pre-Columbian tribal confederation of the same name. The historic people are particularly noted for their resistance against the Inca Empire. Eventually conquered by the Inca in the early 16th century shortly before the arrival of the Spanish, the Cañari later allied with the Spanish against the Inca. Today, the population of the Cañari, who include many mestizos, numbers in the thousands.

<i>Conquistador</i> soldiers, explorers, and adventurers primarily at the service of the Spanish Empire, and also to the Portuguese Empire

Conquistador is a term widely used to refer to the knights, soldiers and explorers of the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire. During the Age of Discovery, conquistadors sailed beyond Europe to the Americas, Oceania, Africa, and Asia, conquering territory and opening trade routes. They colonized much of the world for Spain and Portugal in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

Cusco Place in Peru

Cusco, often spelled Cuzco, is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region and of the Cusco Province. In 2017, the city had a population of 428,450. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft).

After the defeat of the Cañari, probably in the 1470s, the Inca emperor, Tupac Yupanqui, ordered the construction of a grand city to be called Pumapungo, "the door of the Puma". Its magnificence was said to have rivaled that of the Inca capital of Cuzco. Indians told stories to the Spanish chroniclers of golden temples and other such wonders, but by the time the Spaniards found the legendary city, all that remained were ruins. They wondered what happened to the fabled splendor and riches of the second Inca capital. After having been abandoned by the Cañari and then the Incas, Tomebamba was sparsely populated until the 1550s.

Tomebamba is considered a candidate for the mythical city of gold which the Spanish called El Dorado . The Spanish thought El Dorado was burned by the inhabitants after they heard of the Spanish conquests. Tomebamba's destruction by its inhabitants prior to the arrival of the Spanish suggests it may have been what the Spanish called El Dorado.

Spanish settlement

The Spanish settlement of Cuenca was founded on April 12, 1557 by the explorer Gil Ramírez Dávalos. Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza, then Viceroy of Peru had commissioned the founding and ordered the city named after his home town of Cuenca, Spain. It was founded decades after other major Spanish settlements in the region, such as Quito (1534), Guayaquil (1538), and Loja (1548). Cuenca's population and importance grew steadily during the colonial era. It reached the peak of its importance in the first years of Ecuador's independence; Cuenca achieved its independence on November 3, 1820. It became the capital of one of the three provinces that made up the nascent republic. The other two capitals were Guayaquil and Quito.

Population

As per the last INEC estimate for 2015, the population of the Cuenca canton was 580,000 inhabitants, of which 400,000 constitute the urban population (i.e., the population of the city proper). The economic development is based on industry and agricultural development.

Cuenca Metropolitan Area includes the cities of Azogues, Biblian and Deleg in the cañar province and the cities of Paute and Gualaceo in the Azuay province with a population of 730,000 inhabitants, however, Cuenca's influence in the cultural, economic and educational areas extends to all the remaining cities 50 miles (80 kilometres) around.

Economy

Cuenca is a city known for its textile making, along with furniture and other crafts like hats and shoes. They also export many flowers to places such as the United States and countries in Europe. The hats that they are well known for making are straw hats. The tourism industry is big as well in addition with the main university there, “La Universidad de Cuenca”. Cuenca has many cathedrals there that are a part of the sightseeing as well as other national parks. For the future, Ecuador has been working on electrolytic hydrogen for use of better resources that are environmental friendly. With Cuenca located in the sierras of mountains and much forest area nearby, mining and logging are industries there. Some of the common mined resources are kaolin, plaster, limestone, sand, specialized rocks, and carbon. Also, Cuenca is known for making tires for cars. As far as farming, it has shrunken in the economy, but is still important part of the city. Beekeeping is actually a big part of it as far as the usual of livestock and growing crops. Some of the typical crops grown are wheat, barley, rye, oats and corn. At the turn of the century the country's economy was affected by the change in currency, from sucre to USD. [1]

Geography and location economy

Cuenca, capital of the province of Azuay, is located in the sierra of the Andes in the Austro or southern region of Ecuador. It is approximately nine hours south of Quito and four hours east of Guayaquil. The city ranges from 2,350 to 2,550 metres (7,710 to 8,370 feet) above sea level.

The dominant features of the city's geography are also the source of its name in Spanish: the four rivers of Cuenca (meaning a basin made by a confluence of rivers). These rivers are the Tomebamba (named after the Inca culture), Yanuncay, Tarqui and Machangara, in order of importance. The first three of these rivers originate in the Páramo of Parque Nacional Cajas to the west of the city. These four rivers are part of the Amazon river watershed. Cuenca is surrounded by mountains on all sides, with passes to the west, south and east.

River Tomebamba next to the city centre Rio-tomebamba-centro-cuenca.png
River Tomebamba next to the city centre

Parishes

Cuenca Canton contains the following parishes:

Climate

Cuenca features a subtropical highland climate (Cfb) under the Köppen climate classification. Like the rest of the Ecuadorian Andes, Cuenca enjoys a mild climate year-round. Days are generally warm and nights are cool enough that sweaters or jackets are usually desired. The average daily temperature is 14.7 °C (58.5 °F). There are two seasons: rainy and dry. The dry season, with some variation, falls between June and December. The rainy season, which is characterized by bright sunny mornings and afternoon showers, falls between January and May. The heaviest rains come in the invierno (wet season) of March, April and May.

Climate data for Cuenca, Ecuador
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)33.0
(91.4)
29.9
(85.8)
28.8
(83.8)
33.0
(91.4)
32.0
(89.6)
31.6
(88.9)
29.5
(85.1)
34.0
(93.2)
31.2
(88.2)
33.0
(91.4)
33.0
(91.4)
33.0
(91.4)
34.0
(93.2)
Average high °C (°F)22.4
(72.3)
22.4
(72.3)
21.9
(71.4)
21.7
(71.1)
21.4
(70.5)
20.4
(68.7)
19.9
(67.8)
20.4
(68.7)
21.3
(70.3)
22.3
(72.1)
23.1
(73.6)
23.1
(73.6)
21.7
(71.0)
Daily mean °C (°F)15.3
(59.5)
15.8
(60.4)
15.6
(60.1)
15.3
(59.5)
14.4
(57.9)
13.6
(56.5)
13.3
(55.9)
13.3
(55.9)
14.7
(58.5)
15.3
(59.5)
14.7
(58.5)
15.6
(60.1)
14.7
(58.5)
Average low °C (°F)10.9
(51.6)
11.1
(52.0)
11.2
(52.2)
10.9
(51.6)
10.6
(51.1)
9.8
(49.6)
9.4
(48.9)
9.1
(48.4)
9.5
(49.1)
10.1
(50.2)
10.2
(50.4)
10.6
(51.1)
10.3
(50.5)
Record low °C (°F)0.0
(32.0)
0.0
(32.0)
1.0
(33.8)
1.0
(33.8)
0.0
(32.0)
−0.6
(30.9)
−3.0
(26.6)
−1.1
(30.0)
−1.0
(30.2)
−2.0
(28.4)
−0.6
(30.9)
0.0
(32.0)
−3.0
(26.6)
Average rainfall mm (inches)67
(2.6)
85
(3.3)
107
(4.2)
109
(4.3)
77
(3.0)
68
(2.7)
53
(2.1)
47
(1.9)
56
(2.2)
73
(2.9)
69
(2.7)
67
(2.6)
878
(34.5)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)202122191511101012161310179
Mean monthly sunshine hours 1551131241201551501861861501551501551,799
Source #1: Temperatures: Climate Ecuador, [2] Voodoo Skies [3]
Source #2: Other: Cuenca Climate Guide [4]

Education

Universities

The first university in the city was established in 1867 and is the Universidad de Cuenca. It is considered the third oldest university of the country, right after the Universidad Central del Ecuador (1836) and the Universidad Nacional de Loja (1859). Ever since, the city has been growing and more universities were created with new careers. This led to the declaration of Cuenca as the City of Universities by the National Assembly of Ecuador on January 4, 2011. [5]

The city has the following Universities:

The first one is classified as an A category university the next two are B category and the last one is D category. This was stated by the Council for Evaluation, Validation and Assurance of the Quality in Superior Education of Ecuador (CEAACES) [6]

Primary and secondary schools

International schools:

Main sights

Historic Centre of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Cuenca, Ecuador.jpg
The Catedral Nueva
Criteria Cultural: ii, iv, v
Reference 863
Inscription1999 (23rd Session)
Area224.14 ha
Buffer zone1,836.94 ha

Most tourists visit the historic area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between the river Tomebamba and the street Gran Colombia to the north, General Torres to the west, and Hermano Miguel to the east. This area's compactness, grid-like layout, and numerous readily identifiable monuments make it easy to navigate. Outside this area the city can be confusing, as there are dozens of narrow colonial streets with similar buildings.

Major fiestas of Cuenca come at the time of the "Mass of Children" that is carried out the day of the Arrival of Kings (January 6 - Epiphany Day), or in the commemoration of the independence of the city (November 3), during which processions, cultural acts and dances are organized. The nearby Cañar plantation (in the county of the same name) features the biggest Inca ruins in Ecuador.

Landmarks

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Cuenca.jpg
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Surroundings

View of Cajas National Park Cajasview ecuador.jpg
View of Cajas National Park
Lacs en miroir (Mirrored lakes) in Cajas National Park Ecuador cajas national park.jpg
Lacs en miroir (Mirrored lakes) in Cajas National Park

Culture

Festivities

One of the festivities celebrated in Cuenca and in other parts of Ecuador is "El Carnaval". This is celebrated three days prior to Ash Wednesday. Families get together to celebrate what started as a "pagan ritual". Now it is celebrated by wetting friends and random people with water balloons and spraying "Carioca" a nonstaining foam.

Additionally, Cuenca's Independence Day is celebrated at the beginning of November. The festivities span a number of days and consist of various parades, concerts, cultural events, and artisan fairs. [7]


Gastronomy

The gastronomy of Cuenca shares characteristics with other mountainous parts of Ecuador. As in other regions of Ecuador, cuy (guinea pig) and hornado are popular traditional dishes. [8] Additionally, dishes made from potatoes and corn (mote (food)) such as Llapingachos, mote pillo, mote pata, and morocho are popular. Trout, which can be caught in nearby El Cajas National Park, are another popular dish. [9]

In Cuenca, lunch is the largest meal of the day and is typically served in two courses. [10] The first course is soup which is followed by a plate of stewed or grilled meat and rice.

Transport

Street view of Simon Bolivar Street, named after Simon Bolivar, next to Calderon Park, in the Historical Center. Calles Centro Historico de Cuenca.JPG
Street view of Simón Bolívar Street, named after Simón Bolívar, next to Calderón Park, in the Historical Center.
Street view of, Tranvia de Cuenca Tranvia de Cuenca 01.jpg
Street view of, Tranvía de Cuenca
Street view from top deck, 2nd floor view. double decker bus in Cuenca, Ecuador Cuenca Ecuador..pic 3.5a Tour Bus, South America Andes Mountains.jpg
Street view from top deck, 2nd floor view. double decker bus in Cuenca, Ecuador

Bus station

Cuenca's inter-provincial bus station, called the Terminal Terrestre as it is in most cities, is well organized and clean. It is located on Avenida España in the northeastern corner of the city, a twenty-minute walk or a brief taxi ride from the historic center. Also, many City buses provide frequent service as indicated by the "Terminal Terrestre" placard on the windshield. A guide to using the City buses, maps of the routes and an online trip planner can be found at CuencaTransit.com

Buses arrive and depart throughout the day. Service is available to major cities, such as Guayaquil and Quito and also to nearby cities such as Loja, Riobamba, or Machala. The distance to Guayaquil is 243 km. and the bus takes nearly 4 hours on the highway Durán-Pto.Inca-Molleturo (I582W), a scenic ride through the Cajas National Park. Quito is 497 km from Cuenca and the trip takes around 10 hours on the Road Pan-American Highway (I35N). Many prefer to travel by bus at night. Those who choose to travel overnight should exercise caution due to reported bus hijacks which have resulted in armed robbery. [citation needed]

Airport

The airport, named Aeropuerto Mariscal Lamar (Mariscal Lamar International Airport), is due east of the Terminal Terrestre (bus station) on Avenida España. It's a 5-minute walk from the bus station. Four airlines currently serve Cuenca; AeroGal, LAN Ecuador, and TAME fly to Quito daily while Línea Aérea Cuencana (no longer operating as of November 2013) and TAME fly to Guayaquil. This is Ecuador's third busiest airport. Over 1,400,000 passengers a year pass through its gates.

Tram

A tram/light rail line is currently under construction and due to open in 2019.

Cuenca public transportation statistics

According to the Moovit Public Transport Index, Cuenca's bus system compares extremely favourably with other cities in Latin America. The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Cuenca, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 51 minutes, with only 7% of public transit riders riding for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a bus stop or bus station for public transit is 11 minutes, while a mere 9% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 3.8 km, while 0% travel for over 12 km in a single direction. [11] In 2018, the flat-rate bus fare is 30 US cents, 15 cents for children, students, seniors, and the disabled.

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Cuenca is twinned with:

See also

Related Research Articles

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Cojitambo

Cojitambo is an Inca and pre-Inca archaeological ruin, a popular rock climbing site, and a small village west of Azogues, capital of Canar province of Ecuador.

Ecuador is a country with vast natural and cultural wealth. The diversity of its four regions has resulted in hundreds of thousands of species of flora and fauna. It has about 1640 species of birds. The species of butterflies line the 4,500, the 345 reptiles, 358 amphibians and 258 mammals, among others. Ecuador is considered one of the 17 countries where the greatest biodiversity of the planet is concentrated. Most of its flora and fauna live in 26 areas protected by the State. It also offers historical attractions such as Quito, food and a variety of cultures and traditions.

References

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