Plaza de la Independencia, Quito - Stein Travel

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Welcome to Plaza de la Independencia

The square, also known as Plaza Grande, has always been the heart of the city, and as the hub of the old centre, it is the best place to sit and people-watch. Around the square are the Cathedral, the City Hall, the Government Palace and the Archbishop's Palace, the most notable municipal and religious buildings in the city. The cathedral, the oldest church in South America, is one of the city's most impressive historical and architectural sites. Both the Government Palace and the cathedral were scenes of shocking murders: in 1875 President García Moreno was murdered by machete, and in 1877, the Bishop of Quito was poisoned during a Good Friday Mass.

Spanish is the official language, but Quechua is the main language spoken among the indigenous people.

The US Dollar (USD) is the official currency in Ecuador. In 2000 the sucre was replaced by the dollar as the legal currency, but despite dollarization, the sucre will likely persist in rural areas for a while longer. It is recommended that travellers bring both US dollar notes and travellers cheques as other foreign currencies are difficult to exchange outside of Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. Small denominations in good condition are the easiest to exchange outside of the main cities. In the main centres most currencies can be exchanged at banks and exchange houses ( casas de cambio) at variable commission rates. ATMs are available in the cities, and major credit cards are accepted in tourist areas and large hotels although a commission of 6-8% is often charged.

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