Transportation

The Mitad del Mundo (Spanish: Middle of the World) is a tract of land owned by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. It is located in the San Antonio parish of the canton of Quito, north of the center of Quito.

The grounds contain the Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo, a museum about the indigenous ethnography of Ecuador. The 30-meter-tall monument, built between 1979 and 1982, was constructed to mark the point where the equator was thought to pass through the country at the time. In fact, a line down the center of the east-facing staircase, and across the plaza, was meant to mark the equator, and countless tourists over the years have had their pictures taken straddling this line. Also, residents said that among other things, placing one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other foot in the southern hemisphere makes you stand right in the equator and weigh less at the equator. However, the entire structure is about 240 meters south of the true equator, which was not precisely located until recently, with the advent of GPS technology.

The pyramidal monument, with each side facing a cardinal direction, is topped by a 4.5 meter diameter, 5-ton globe. Inside the monument is a small museum that displays elements of indigenous Ecuadorian culture, such as clothing, descriptions of the various ethnic groups, and examples of their activities. Mitad del Mundo contains other attractions such as a Planetarium, an amazing miniature model of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and restaurants. On weekends, Mitad del Mundo's Central Plaza is host to varied musical and cultural presentations for tourists.

A small town surrounding the monument at the Museo Etnográfico functions as the tourist center, replicating a colonial Spanish town and called "Ciudad Mitad del Mundo" (Middle of the World City).