Everything about Quito's setting is dramatic. Located on a relatively narrow plateau high in the Ecuadorian Andes, the city is surrounded by mountains and dominated by the Pichincha volcano towering above. Quito's modern districts and newer houses creep up the mountainsides, and its main avenues are thronged with the hustle and bustle of shopping, markets and city life.  

Quito's historic centre, the epicentre of the city, is filled with formidable churches, monasteries and mansions, which earned the city its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Particularly impressive are St. Augustine Convent & the Parliament Building, whose stone mural depicts the history of Ecuador. The main square is flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, Municipal Building and Archbishop's Palace. The nearby the church of San Francisco is one of the great religious buildings of the New World, Baroque influenced by Moorish style.

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