La Plaza Grande – Quito, Ecuador - Atlas Obscura

Quito, Ecuador

La Plaza Grande

Quito's historic, main square dates back to the 16th century. 

The beautiful center of Old Quito, the Grand Plaza is an anchor of everyday life for thousands of locals.

Surrounded by four buildings that underscore the historical influence of religion and government on Ecuadorian culture (the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Cathedral of Quito), La Plaza de Independencia, as it is also known, is one of the city’s best people-watching spots.  

The square is also rich in history. At its center, it features a statue of the Heroes of the Independence. Commissioned in 1899 and unveiled in 1906, the memorial symbolizes the country’s victory in its war for independence from Spain. 

If you’re able, it’s best to visit the square on Monday morning, when you can watch the “Changing of the Guard” – a grand, thirty minute ceremony held on the first  day of every week featuring a massive military band, parade, and an appearance by non-other than the President of Ecuador. It’s a sight not to be missed. 

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