January 7, 2011
The International Bureau of Cultural Capital Cities awarded Quito, the historic capital of Ecuador, the title of "Cultural Capital of the Americas, 2011". The nomination was announced by the Bureau's Special Committee on September 8th, 2010, the same day when Quito was commemorating its 32 Anniversary of having been declared by UNESCO the first World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978.
This nomination recognizes the extraordinary historic, architectonic and cultural values of the Ecuadorian capital city, which boasts the largest and best preserved historic center of Latin America, in addition to its cosmopolitan nature as a growing metropolis which combines harmoniously the centuries old Historic Center with its churches, domes, squares, monuments and unique colonial architecture, along with modernity on its lively new districts which feature high-tech tall buildings, banking and business centers, state of the art shopping malls and a host of top class hotels, restaurants and vibrant entertainment areas filled with cafes, bars and discos, where large crowds of locals and international visitors mingle, particularly in the night. Quito is also the venue for spectacular museums, art centers, exhibits, dance, theater and all kinds of cultural events.
This nomination will represent for Quito and Ecuador an unparalleled promotion through more than 3000 TV spots, aired by the widely seen international channels Antenna 3 (Spain) and Discovery Channel (U.S.), which will provide exposure for millions of TV viewers about the rich heritage of Quito and the cultural and natural wonders of Ecuador. The millenary capital of Ecuador is nestled amidst a stunning backdrop of Andean mountain country with about seven snow covered colossal volcanoes visible from many of the two million inhabitants metropolis' many lookout points and observatories. The city is located just a few minutes south of the Equatorial Line where a huge monument and a Geographical, Historic and Touristic Complex mark the Earth's Latitude Zero. Quito is the natural gateway to many of the country's natural attractions, most of them within few hours distance, whether the cloud forests and pristine Pacific beaches and coastal plains or the Amazon rainforest and the entire Andean Region.
According to the Bureau and the local Organizing Committee, Quito will be throughout this year the epicenter of intense activity, divided into four stages. The first one, from January to March, will position the city's unique heritage predominantly by means of an international promotion campaign, based on the use of seven pre-selected "treasures" to be used as strategic anchors or windows to highlight the Ecuadorian capital's phenomenal wonders and its attractions and activities which range from religious art and culture to colorful events and centenary traditions or sports, nature and adventure tourism. The campaign seeks to create a high media impact around the world. On March 27th, the Executive Committee of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities will meet in Quito to enhance the occasion.
The second stage, between April and June will highlight the traditional and increasingly famous celebrations of the Holy Week, a perfect occasion to focus on the religious treasures and monuments which the city guards, with its climax being the Good Friday Procession and all the cultural richness which surrounds this celebration, including some outstanding gastronomic specialties of the season.
The third stage of the full year's agenda of events will take place between July and September and will focus on "Green Quito", its parks and public spaces, its natural surroundings, the summer outdoor activities, bird watching, adventure sports along with the presentation of avant-garde environmental projects which make the city not only a patrimonial haven but also a city that cares for the environment on its daily life and practices. Finally, the fourth stage, between October and December will be focused on the colorful traditions, festivals, parades, and an impressive host of events around the celebrations of the city's Spanish Foundation in early December as well as the Christmas and New year's Eve ancestral traditions and rites.
Thus, Quito will glitter with shinier light during all of 2011, an ideal opportunity to visit the magnificent capital of Ecuador and to be part of the year-long multicolored and varied events which have been scheduled to live up to the title of being the Cultural Capital of the Americas, 2011.....