The Pan-American Highway heads south to Cuenca, the centre for the most important pre-Columbian site in the whole of Ecuador: the Ingapirca Inca ruins. Ingapirca means Inca stone wall and this vast, magnificent complex includes fortifications, courtyards, terraces, temples and houses constructed without the use of mortar. There is also a brilliantly presented museum with a superb scale model of the whole site.
Set on the banks of the Río Tomebamba and the most important city in the southern highlands, Cuenca is a graceful and charming city and a great favourite with Ecuadorians. There is a wonderfully relaxing mix of cobbled streets with cafes, galleries and gorgeous architecture. On holidays to Cuenca enjoy the beautiful gardens, the four rivers winding around the town and the ubiquitous and elegant Spanish ironwork balconies. This is a cultural treasure and the beautifully preserved historic centre is a World Heritage site.
Cuenca is famous for its beautiful handicrafts, especially clothes, both modern and traditional, fine artistic ceramics and jewellery. Gold and silver are mined locally and this is a very important staple industry. It is also a centre for straw hat manufacture, including the famous Panama hat that actually originated in Ecuador, not Panama. President Roosevelt wore one on a visit to Panama during the building of the canal – and much to the annoyance of the Ecuadorians, the name Panama hat was given and has remained until today!
If you’d like to find out more about holidays to Cuenca, email us or ring for a chat on 01582 766 122.
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