For some, Ecuador feels like the cradle of civilization. For native Ecuadorians, this couldn’t be more real – and their independence is just one aspect of daily life on display at one of their most arousing tourist destinations.
Perhaps the most visited place in all of Quito, the Plaza Grande is on Avenida Venezuela. Some of Ecuador’s most famous attractions are located in Quito and, as such, the entire city is a UNESCO-recognized heritage location.
The Plaza Grande is nearly the literal center of Quito – all plans for this ancient city were drawn around it. In 1612, the main colonial state powers were brought to the square, and many are still headquartered here.
The Plaza Grande is also known as the Plaza de Independencia. Several monuments surround the square, the most notable the Monument of Independence. It was built more recently than others at less than 200 years ago, but it symbolizes everything Quito saw up to the 1900s – and everything they’ve seen since. The overall meaning of the Monument of Independence is its symbolism of triumph over the Spanish colonial regime. Flowers are strewn on the monument every August to commemorate Quito’s independence in 1809. The monument was built on an 8-sided stone surface with steps on two opposing sides.
Another monument in the Plaza Grande is that of the Independence Lady. Our Lady of Independence stands atop a globe that represents the world, with a golden ring symbolizing the equator. At the cardinal points are lions’ heads with golden rings in their mouths. Beneath each golden ring are a set of acanthus leaves.
Finally, the Palace of the Archbishop was the Archdiocese’ headquarters as well as Quito’s archbishop’s residence. The conquistador, Bonilla, purchased the land in 1545 to begin construction on a palace. In 1775, the palace underwent many renovations to restore it to its former glory. And then again in 1858, further restorations and modifications were performed to ensure the infrastructure of the building. It wasn’t until 1970 that it was deemed a total reconstruction would be necessary due to the age of the palace, some of which was still original materials.
Visiting the place of Ecuadorian independence is an incredible thrill you’ll be glad to mark off your bucket list.