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Museums in Ecuador

If you were asked to make a list specifying the things that make Ecuador a special country, you would hardly finish the list.

Take the opportunity to go back in time: the best museums to learn about Ecuador’s culture and history

If you were asked to make a list specifying the things that make Ecuador a special country, you would hardly finish the list. The prominent landscapes, the diversity of species and the natural wealth seem to bring together everything that makes Ecuador a unique destination in the world, but there are even more reasons.

Everything we have just described blends harmoniously with an unparalleled historical past and an amazing cultural heritage. Get ready to move into ancient times to understand how Ecuador came to be what it is.

Let’s start with the capital city. Quito itself is a historic city. If you go to the center of Quito, you’ll find colonial history in every corner. One of the places where all this colonial history converges is the San Francisco convent. Similar to a monastery, here you can find a church, four chapels, thirteen cloisters and other facilities. Right after going inside the church, any visitor is forced to look at the remarkable altar located in the middle. Just by taking a few steps, you will realize you are surrounded by art. The baroque style of the construction does not allow you to focus on a single detail. The San Francisco convent houses 4500 works of colonial art. All the works fuse European techniques brought by the Spanish conquistadors with elements from the Ecuadorian natives. Instead of using Eucharistic signs such as grapes, for example, the indigenous artists depicted food from their own daily life such as potatoes or yuccas. All this and more can be found in this obligatory touristic place for any traveler.

Let’s stay with art, but let’s go back in time to pre-Columbian times. Before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors and Catholicism, the native peoples had already developed artistic techniques to create objects made of ceramics, stone, shell, metal, textiles, and wood. This art was captured in sculptures, paintings, architectural works and more. The most important thing in these works was to reflect the connection between human beings and nature. The most recurrent themes were mythological animals, the importance of crops, and the rites around death. If you want to see these works with your own eyes, you should stay in Quito’s historical center and go to the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art “Casa del Alabado”. Here you will find guided tours that will explain all the history behind these exceptional works of art and the Andean Cosmovision.

Remember we said that in Ecuador nature blends harmoniously with history and culture? The historical park of Guayaquil is perhaps one of the best examples of this. Moving now to the second most important city of Ecuador, we can find history, culture, and nature in one place. The historical park of Guayaquil divides itself in three zones. In the wildlife zone you will find a large number of animals endemic to the coastal areas of Ecuador such as parrots, deer, sloths, crocodiles or alligators. In the traditions zone, you will find elements of the daily life of the peasants of the coastal sector of Ecuador in the 19th century. Reconstructions of estates are exhibited to see what life was like for the coastal peasant. In the urban-architectural zone, you will see how life was in Guayaquil in the first decades of the 20th century. For this there are dramatizations, buildings of the time and the exhibition of means of transport such as the railway or the tram that used to be pulled by mules or horses.

If you want to take a souvenir of this historical tour, you must go to the third most important city in Ecuador and visit the toquilla straw hat museum. You may know it better as Panama hat because of the famous photograph of President Roosevelt wearing it while supervising the construction of the Panama Canal. The truth is that this hat was created in the city of Montecristi on the Ecuadorian coast. This garment has been declared intangible cultural heritage of humanity because of its manufacturing process and its millenary and ancestral history. The toquilla straw is a sort of palm grown in Manabí that has gained worldwide prestige. In the toquilla straw hat museum in Cuenca you will learn about the manufacturing process of this hat and choose from a wide variety to take as a souvenir.

Ecuador will not cease to surprise you; its history and cultural wealth goes beyond anything you have ever seen. Don’t forget to visit these places to travel back in time and enrich your experience. Follow us for more tips.

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