Quito, formally known as San Francisco de Quito is the capital city of Ecuador. It is located in the north highlands of the country, in the Guayllabamba river basin. The city is built on a long plateau lying on the east flanks of the Pichincha volcano. At an elevation of 2,800 meters above sea level, Quito is both the highest official capital in the world and also the capital which lies closest to the equator. The central square of Quito is located about 25 kilometres south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word Ecuador is Spanish for equator.
According to the 2014 consensus, the population of Quito is 2,671,191. In the year 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations. Quito is one of Ecuador’s two major industrial centers (the other being Guayaquil), and produces textiles, pharmaceuticals, light consumer goods, and hand-crafted objects of leather, wood, gold, and silver. Quito is the primary financial, educational, cultural and political center of Ecuador. Tourism is also a vital part of the city’s economy.
The historic centre of Quito, known as “Old Town” is a popular destination and has one of the largest historic centers in the Americas. The city, along with Kraków, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978. European influences have combined with the inspiration of indigenous art to create a unique Quiteño style that has resulted in Quito being referred to as the “Florence of America.”
Alcalde Mauricio Rodas committed Quito to the Global Compact in August 2014 as one of his first actions as new mayor to establish Quito as a Sustainable City.