Saturday, July 13, 2013

Inca Ruins at the Equator

On Saturday, July 13, 2013, my friend from work, a new volunteer, and I headed out for a day trip to the Mitad del Mundo complex about an hour away by bus from Quito.  It was probably the most toursity thing I have done so far on the trip this summer, but it was on my list of things to do and we just needed  quick, easy day trip (three of my co-workers were running the 21 kilometer Quito half-marathon the following day).  We got to the complex relatively early in the morning.  There is not a ton of stuff to see there - just the monument and the line of the fake equator (the monument was built and then when GPS was later used to calculate its exact location, it was discovered to be 240 meters south of the real equator).  

Despite it being a really touristy location, there were Ecuadorian families who brought their children there too.  At least on the weekends, there are also groups that dance.  When we happened to be there on a Saturday morning, there was a fairly large group of children who did some nice dances from indigenous groups in the region.
After wandering around a bit, we headed out of the complex and down a street to grab some lunch.  From lunch, we walked back up past the Mitad del Mundo complex to visit the Inti Ñan museum.  This museum was much better, focused on indigenous groups of the region plus a few interesting, simple science experiments on the equator, like balancing a raw egg on a nail (the real equator this time, as measured with GPS).  
After the Inti Ñan museum, we went to visit Rumicucho, Incan ruins from around 1480 or 1500.  The view of the surrounding area from the top of the ruins is magnificent.  It is so cool to be standing in what was an Incan fortress and ceremonial worship cite.  
There is not too much left of the fortress, other than the foundations of a few walls, the foundation and stairs of a main building, and the terraces cut into the hillside.  The short video I took standing on the site of the surrounding view simply does not do it justice.  

There is another site, called Ingapirca, which is between Quito and Cuenca, that supposedly has the best preserved Incan ruins in Ecuador.  I really hope that I get a chance to see that too while I am here.


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