On a site 26 km (16 mi.) north of Quito’s centre, you’ll find the Equatorial Monument. It was built as a tribute to the French scientists who determined the shape of the earth in the 18th century. The towering 30 m (98 ft) structure is a monument to the equatorial line, and does not mark the actual site. The actual path of the equator lies a little further north. Each side of the monument faces a cardinal direction, and on the top, is a 4.5 m (14.7ft), 5 ton (10 000 lb) globe. Surrounding the monument is a tourist centre that is a perfect imitation of a colonial Spanish town known as Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World City).
Visit the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument, with its colourful displays of the life of Ecuador’s various ethnic groups. Be captivated by the Intiñan Solar Museum, which reveals the diverse theories of the Incas to determine the middle of the world.