From Monday to Sunday, from 09:00 to 17:00
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Iquique s/n, Itchimbía
For its spectacular vantage point over the Historic Center, for the families who come to fly kites during windy summers, for its crystal palace, for its trails, weekend recreation, nature, and peace… Itchimbía Park is a must-visit.
The Itchimbía Cultural Centre is located on one of the most important hillsides in the city of Quito, at 2,900 metres. Not only does it afford stunning panoramic views, encompassing the historic centre, the modern city, the Pichincha Volcano and the snow-capped peak of Cayambe, but it was also a sacred site for the civilisations which preceded the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.
The Crystal Palace
One of Quito’s most distinctive buildings, formerly the 19th-century steel and glass structure of the Santa Clara market, has made a dramatic comeback as one of the city’s newest and most impressive attractions. The Itchimbía Cultural Centre boasts a fantastic space for a variety of exhibitions and events, as well as unbeatable views of Quito’s historic heart and dynamic modern city.
In the 1920s, archaeological digs at the site by the eminent Ecuadorian archaeologist Jacinto Jijón y Caamaño revealed a tomb with rich contents, including eight decorative nose loops (two of which are gold), two gold earrings and a necklace.
The Itchimbía hillside is also rich in natural heritage, its 54 hectares home to over 400 different varieties of flowers, 40 bird species and an area of wetland, right in the middle of the city.
In view of its importance, in 1997 the city of Quito, under the auspices of the Fondo de Salvamento del Patrimonio Cultural (Fund for Saving Cultural Heritage), began a project to rescue the Itchimbía hillside and reassert its importance. The project took the form of moving – lock, stock and barrel – the old market of Santa Clara from one side of Quito to the new site, and to use it as a cultural and exhibition space. The elegant iron and zinc market was originally imported from Hamburg in 1889, and bares a striking resemblance to the old market of Les Halles in Paris.
THE ITCHIMBÍA CULTURAL CENTER
In July 2004, the project was completed. The old market now boasts state-of-the-art installations such as computerized lighting, ambient temperature control and excellent acoustics, as well as conference halls, car parking, walkways and a restaurant/café beneath its imposing structure. Much of the hillside has been beautifully landscaped, or else recuperated for recreation purposes. The cultural centre is encased in ultra-modern glass structure, and can be seen glowing in changing colours from many points of the city, a beacon of Quito’s remarkable regeneration and unequalled cultural heritage.