San Francisco de Quito is the capital and the largest city of Ecuador. At an elevation of 2,850 metres (9,350 ft) above sea level, it is the second-highest official capital city in the world, after La Paz, and the one which is closest to the equator. Quito has a tropical highland climate. Because of its elevation and its proximity to the equator, Quito has a fairly constant cool climate. The average temperature at noon is 18.7 °C (65.7 °F) with a normal night-time low of 9.3 °C (48.7 °F) The annual average temperature is 14 °C (57 °F) The city experiences only two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season, June through September (4 months) is referred to as summer; the wet season, October through May (8 months) is referred to as winter. Annual precipitation, depending on location, is approximately 1,000 mm (39 in).
It is located on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains. With a population of 2,671,191 according to statistical projections (2019), Quito is the most populous city in Ecuador. It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of the
Metropolitan District of Quito.
Due to its geographical location and elevation, Quito receives a great amount of solar radiation, being one of the locations in the planet that receives the most.
The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. Quito and Kraków, Poland, were among the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO, in 1978. The central square of Quito is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) 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.
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