Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca, commonly referred to as simply Cuenca, is the capital and largest city of the Azuay Province of Ecuador. Cuenca is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2,560 metres (8,400 feet) above sea level, with an urban population of approximately 400,000 and 700,000 inhabitants in the larger metropolitan area. The center of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its many historical buildings.
Panoramic view of Cuenca, Ecuador, from Turi area
Coat of arms
Atenas del Ecuador (Athens of Ecuador)
Location in Ecuador
|Founded||April 12, 1557|
|Founded by||Gil Ramírez Dávalos|
|Named for||Cuenca, Spain|
|• Mayor||Marcelo Cabrera|
|• City||70.59 km2 (27.25 sq mi)|
|Elevation||2,560 m (8,400 ft)|
|Highest elevation||2,550 m (8,370 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||2,350 m (7,710 ft)|
|• Density||5,700/km2 (15,000/sq mi)|
|The population total is of the urban parishes of the Municipality of Cuenca (the canton), which make up the city of Cuenca; the metro population is the population of the canton cuenca, areas urbanas of azogues , biblian and deleg in the cañar province. Gualaceo and Paute in the azuay province.|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (ECT)|
|Area code(s)||(+593) 07|
|Website||Official website (in Spanish)|
According to studies and archeological discoveries, the origins of the first inhabitants go back to the year 8060 BC in the Cave of Chopsi. They were hunters, hunting everything the Páramo offered them, and nomads, following the animals and seasons. Their culture is represented by tools such as arrows and spears, which have been found throughout the Andean valley. The culture was most present about 5585 BC.
Later the early indigenous people used the stable climate, fertile soil and abundant water to develop agriculture. They grew potatoes, melloco, chocho, squash and quinoa. They also domesticated animals such as cuys (guinea pigs) and camelids: llamas and alpacas.
Their technology was also advanced. For example, they started creating ceramics. In fact, ceramics constitute the greatest number of artifacts which archeologists use to study their culture. The period from 5000 BCE to 2000 BCE is not represented well in the archeological record. Beginning around 2000 BCE, the people developed a more highly organized society, demonstrating delegated responsibilities, such as the managing of water and control of plagues. People were specialized as administrative and religious authorities (known as shamans). This occurred during the periods of Chaullabamba, Huayco, Pirincay, Monjas, Putushio, Huancarcucho and Jubones. From then until 500 AD began the periods of Tacalshapa III and the Cañari people, who were absorbed into the Incas in the 15th century.
Cuenca was originally a Cañari settlement called Guapondeleg. Archeologists believe Cuenca was founded around 500 AD. Guapondeleg translates into "land as big as heaven." Less than half a century before the conquistadors landed, the Incas, after a bitter struggle, conquered the Cañari and occupied Guapondeleg and the surrounding area. Though the Incas replaced the Cañari architecture with their own, they did not suppress the Cañari or their impressive achievements in astronomy and agriculture. As was customary for the Incas, they absorbed useful achievements into their culture. They renamed the city Tomebamba. The city became known as the second Cusco, a regional capital.
After the defeat of the Cañari, probably in the 1470s, the Inca emperor, Tupac Yupanqui, ordered the construction of a grand city to be called Pumapungo, "the door of the Puma". Its magnificence was said to have rivaled that of the Inca capital of Cuzco. Indians told stories to the Spanish chroniclers of golden temples and other such wonders, but by the time the Spaniards found the legendary city, all that remained were ruins. They wondered what happened to the fabled splendor and riches of the second Inca capital. After having been abandoned by the Cañari and then the Incas, Tomebamba was sparsely populated until the 1550s.
Tomebamba is considered a candidate for the mythical city of gold which the Spanish called El Dorado. The Spanish thought El Dorado was burned by the inhabitants after they heard of the Spanish conquests. Tomebamba's destruction by its inhabitants prior to the arrival of the Spanish suggests it may have been what the Spanish called El Dorado.
The Spanish settlement of Cuenca was founded on April 12, 1557 by the explorer Gil Ramírez Dávalos. Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza, then Viceroy of Peru had commissioned the founding and ordered the city named after his home town of Cuenca, Spain. It was founded decades after other major Spanish settlements in the region, such as Quito (1534), Guayaquil (1538), and Loja (1548). Cuenca's population and importance grew steadily during the colonial era. It reached the peak of its importance in the first years of Ecuador's independence; Cuenca achieved its independence on November 3, 1820. It became the capital of one of the three provinces that made up the nascent republic. The other two capitals were Guayaquil and Quito.
As per the last INEC estimate for 2015, the population of the Cuenca canton was 580,000 inhabitants, of which 400,000 constitute the urban population (i.e., the population of the city proper). The economic development is based on industry and agricultural development.
Cuenca Metropolitan Area includes the cities of Azogues, Biblian and Deleg in the cañar province and the cities of Paute and Gualaceo in the Azuay province with a population of 730,000 inhabitants, however, Cuenca's influence in the cultural, economic and educational areas extends to all the remaining cities 50 miles (80 kilometres) around.
Cuenca is a city known for its textile making, along with furniture and other crafts like hats and shoes. They also export many flowers to places such as the United States and countries in Europe. The hats that they are well known for making are straw hats. The tourism industry is big as well in addition with the main university there, “La Universidad de Cuenca”. Cuenca has many cathedrals there that are a part of the sightseeing as well as other national parks. For the future, Ecuador has been working on electrolytic hydrogen for use of better resources that are environmental friendly. With Cuenca located in the sierras of mountains and much forest area nearby, mining and logging are industries there. Some of the common mined resources are kaolin, plaster, limestone, sand, specialized rocks, and carbon. Also, Cuenca is known for making tires for cars. As far as farming, it has shrunken in the economy, but is still important part of the city. Beekeeping is actually a big part of it as far as the usual of livestock and growing crops. Some of the typical crops grown are wheat, barley, rye, oats and corn.
Cuenca, capital of the province of Azuay, is located in the sierra of the Andes in the Austro or southern region of Ecuador. It is approximately nine hours south of Quito and four hours east of Guayaquil. The city ranges from 2,350 to 2,550 metres (7,710 to 8,370 feet) above sea level.
The dominant features of the city's geography are also the source of its name in Spanish: the four rivers of Cuenca (meaning a basin made by a confluence of rivers). These rivers are the Tomebamba (named after the Inca culture), Yanuncay, Tarqui and Machangara, in order of importance. The first three of these rivers originate in the Páramo of Parque Nacional Cajas to the west of the city. These four rivers are part of the Amazon river watershed. Cuenca is surrounded by mountains on all sides, with passes to the west, south and east.
Cuenca Canton contains the following parishes:
Cuenca features a subtropical highland climate (Cfb) under the Köppen climate classification. Like the rest of the Ecuadorian Andes, Cuenca enjoys a mild climate year-round. Days are generally warm and nights are cool enough that sweaters or jackets are usually desired. The average daily temperature is 14.7 °C (58.5 °F). There are two seasons: rainy and dry. The dry season, with some variation, falls between June and December. The rainy season, which is characterized by bright sunny mornings and afternoon showers, falls between January and May. The heaviest rains come in the invierno (wet season) of March, April and May.
The first university in the city was established in 1867 and is the Universidad de Cuenca. It is considered the third oldest university of the country, right after the Universidad Central del Ecuador (1836) and the Universidad Nacional de Loja (1859). Ever since, the city has been growing and more universities were created with new careers. This led to the declaration of Cuenca as the City of Universities by the National Assembly of Ecuador on January 4, 2011.
The city has the following Universities:
The first one is classified as an A category university the next two are B category and the last one is D category. This was stated by the Council for Evaluation, Validation and Assurance of the Quality in Superior Education of Ecuador (CEAACES)
|Historic Centre of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
The Catedral Nueva
|Criteria||Cultural: ii, iv, v|
|Inscription||1999 (23rd Session)|
|Buffer zone||1,836.94 ha|
Most tourists visit the historic area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between the river Tomebamba and the street Gran Colombia to the north, General Torres to the west, and Hermano Miguel to the east. This area's compactness, grid-like layout, and numerous readily identifiable monuments make it easy to navigate. Outside this area the city can be confusing, as there are dozens of narrow colonial streets with similar buildings.
Major fiestas of Cuenca come at the time of the "Mass of Children" that is carried out the day of the Arrival of Kings (January 6 - Epiphany Day), or in the commemoration of the independence of the city (November 3), during which processions, cultural acts and dances are organized. The nearby Cañar plantation (in the county of the same name) features the biggest Inca ruins in Ecuador.
One of the festivities celebrated in Cuenca and in other parts of Ecuador is "El Carnaval". This is celebrated three days prior to Ash Wednesday. Families get together to celebrate what started as a "pagan ritual". Now it is celebrated by wetting friends and random people with water balloons and spraying "Carioca" a nonstaining foam.
Additionally, Cuenca's Independence Day is celebrated at the beginning of November. The festivities span a number of days and consist of various parades, concerts, cultural events, and artisan fairs.
The gastronomy of Cuenca shares characteristics with other mountainous parts of Ecuador. As in other regions of Ecuador, cuy (guinea pig) and hornado are popular traditional dishes. Additionally, dishes made from potatoes and corn (mote (food)) such as Llapingachos, mote pillo, mote pata, and morocho are popular. Trout, which can be caught in nearby El Cajas National Park, are another popular dish.
In Cuenca, lunch is the largest meal of the day and is typically served in two courses. The first course is soup which is followed by a plate of stewed or grilled meat and rice.
Cuenca's inter-provincial bus station, called the Terminal Terrestre as it is in most cities, is well organized and clean. It is located on Avenida España in the northeastern corner of the city, a twenty-minute walk or a brief taxi ride from the historic center. Also, many City buses provide frequent service as indicated by the "Terminal Terrestre" placard on the windshield. A guide to using the City buses, maps of the routes and an online trip planner can be found at CuencaTransit.com
Buses arrive and depart throughout the day. Service is available to major cities, such as Guayaquil and Quito and also to nearby cities such as Loja, Riobamba, or Machala. The distance to Guayaquil is 243 km. and the bus takes nearly 4 hours on the highway Durán-Pto.Inca-Molleturo (I582W), a scenic ride through the Cajas National Park. Quito is 497 km from Cuenca and the trip takes around 10 hours on the Road Pan-American Highway (I35N). Many prefer to travel by bus at night. Those who choose to travel overnight should exercise caution due to reported bus hijacks which have resulted in armed robbery. 
The airport, named Aeropuerto Mariscal Lamar (Mariscal Lamar International Airport), is due east of the Terminal Terrestre (bus station) on Avenida España. It's a 5-minute walk from the bus station. Four airlines currently serve Cuenca; AeroGal, LAN Ecuador, and TAME fly to Quito daily while Línea Aérea Cuencana (no longer operating as of November 2013) and TAME fly to Guayaquil. This is Ecuador's third busiest airport. Over 1,400,000 passengers a year pass through its gates.
According to the Moovit Public Transport Index, Cuenca's bus system compares extremely favourably with other cities in Latin America. The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Cuenca, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 51 minutes, with only 7% of public transit riders riding for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a bus stop or bus station for public transit is 11 minutes, while a mere 9% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 3.8 km, while 0% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.  In 2018, the flat-rate bus fare is 30 US cents, 15 cents for children, students, seniors, and the disabled.
Cuenca is twinned with:
The 41st South American Junior Championships in Athletics were held in Cuenca, Ecuador, between May 30–31, 2015.Antonio Borrero
Antonio María Vicente Narciso Borrero y Cortázar (29 October 1827 – 9 October 1911) was Vice President of Ecuador from 1863 to 1864, and President from 9 December 1875 to 18 December 1876.
Antonio Borrero was born in Cuenca, Ecuador and completed much of his education in his home town. He received his law license in Quito. He served as President of Ecuador for little over a year before being overthrown in the Revolution of Veintemilla. He was exiled by Jefe Supremo (Supreme Chief) Ignacio de Veintemilla and lived for a number of years in Peru and Chile. After the overthrow of Veintemilla in 1883, he was allowed to return to Ecuador where he practiced law and worked as a journalist and writer until his death in Quito in 1911.
His administration supported free suffrage, press freedom and guarantees of individual rights. He was urged to by liberals to hold a national assembly to amend the Garciana Constitution and establish the Republic on more modern lines.C.D. Cuenca
Club Deportivo Cuenca is an Ecuadorian football club based in Cuenca. They currently play in the Serie A, the top-flight football league in the country, and is one of two clubs from Cuenca to have played in the top-flight (the other being LDU Cuenca).
Historically an undistinguished club in Ecuador, they have had a recent string of success in the Serie A. They are one of two clubs outside Quito and Guayaquil to have a national championship, which they won in 2004. Since then, they have been a near consistent top club in the country, including numerous Copa Libertadores participations.
Deportivo Cuenca was founded on March 4, 1971 and is the second oldest club in the city after Tecni Club. Their home stadium is Estadio Alejandro Serrano Aguilar, which was named after former club president and mayor of Cuenca. Because of the limited number of clubs from the Province of Azuay that have played in the Serie A, Deportivo Cuenca has no major local rivals.Colegio Alemán Stiehle
Colegio Alemán Stiehle de Cuenca (German: Deutsche Schule Stiehle Cuenca) is a German international school in Cuenca, Ecuador. It serves years 1-12.Damián Lanza
Damián Enrique Lanza Moyano (born April 10, 1982) is an Ecuadorian footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Clan Juvenil in the Ecuador Serie B. Lanza was born in Cuenca and is half Argentinian, through his father.El Tiempo (Ecuador)
El Tiempo is a newspaper published in Cuenca, Ecuador. It has been published since April 12, 1955.Estadio Alejandro Serrano Aguilar
The Estadio Alejandro Serrano Aguilar Banco del Austro is a multi-purpose stadium in Cuenca, Ecuador. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of Club Deportivo Cuenca and Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Cuenca. The stadium holds 16,540 spectators and opened in 1945.Fausto Quinde
Fausto Vicente Quinde Vizcaíno (born February 13, 1976 in Cuenca, Azuay) is a male race walker from Ecuador. He competed for his native country at the 2003 Pan American Games and the 2008 Summer Olympics.
He was the bronze medalist at the Pan American Race Walking Cup in 2007 and has represented Ecuador at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup.Jefferson Pérez
Jefferson Leonardo Pérez Quezada (born July 1, 1974 in Cuenca) is a retired Ecuadorian race walker. He specialized in the 20 km event, in which he has won the only two medals his country has ever achieved in the Olympic Games.
He won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics, becoming the youngest-ever gold medal winner in the 20 km walk event. Following his win he embarked on a 459 km pilgrimage, walking, jogging and running from Quito's Franciscan cathedral to his hometown of Cuenca. In the 2008 Olympics he won the silver medal in the same competition at 34 years of age, before announcing his retirement from the sport.In the 2003 World Championships in Paris, France, Pérez also set the world best performance (as there are no world records in race walking) with 1:17:21 in the 20 km.
Pérez had fourth-place finishes in the 20 km walk at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.L.D.U. Cuenca
Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Cuenca is a football club based in Cuenca, Ecuador currently in the Second Category Ecuadorian football Championship.Manuel María Borrero
Manuel María Borrero Gonzalez (10 May 1883 – 7 June 1975) was President of Ecuador in 1938.Mariscal Lamar International Airport
Mariscal Lamar International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Lamar) (IATA: CUE, ICAO: SECU) is a high elevation airport serving Cuenca, the capital of the Azuay Province in Ecuador. It is named after the Peruvian military leader and politician José de la Mar, a native of Cuenca.Miriam Ramón
Miriam Elitsavet Ramón Duran (born February 10, 1973) is a retired female athlete from Ecuador, who competed in the race walking events.Rosalía Arteaga
Rosalía Arteaga Serrano (born December 5, 1956) is an Ecuadorian politician who served as the country's first female head of state as acting president for a few days in 1997.She was born in Cuenca, Ecuador. She became Vice President in 1996, following the election of Abdalá Bucaram as President. On February 6, 1997, however, President Bucaram was declared unfit to govern by Congress. Arteaga and congressional leader Fabián Alarcón became locked in a dispute over who should succeed Bucaram since the constitution was vague on the issue. Initially, Alarcón was sworn in with the support of Congress. On February 9, however, Arteaga, who had insisted that as vice president she should become president, was sworn in instead as Ecuador's first female president. Two days later, however, on February 11, with the support of Congress and the army, Alarcón was sworn in again, and Arteaga resigned.
Arteaga continued to clash with Alarcón and resigned from her post as vice president in March 1998. She then ran for president in the elections that were held in May 1998 but received only 3% of the vote.
Arteaga was secretary-general of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization until 2007 and is a member of the editorial board of the Encyclopædia Britannica.Samantha Arévalo
Samantha Michelle Arévalo Salinas (born September 30, 1994) is an Ecuadorian swimmer. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, she competed in the Women's 800 metre freestyle, finishing in 29th place overall in the heats, failing to qualify for the final. She trains in Rome,Italy.South American U18 Championships in Athletics
The South American U18 Championships in Athletics (Campeonato Sudamericano U18 de atletismo) is a biennial athletics event
organized by "Confederación Sudamericana de Atletismo" (CONSUDATLE), the South American area association of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF). Starting in 1973, the competition was open for athletes under-17 in the early years. Since 2000 the international age group definition (under 18) has applied. Up until the 2016 edition the competition was known as the South American Youth Championships in Athletics. The tournament is open for athletes from CONSUDATLE member federations. Athletes from IAAF members of other geographical areas may be invited.
However, they are not considered in the classification.Tarqui, Cuenca Canton
Tarqui is a parish (parroquia) in Cuenca Canton, Azuay, Ecuador.
It encompasses the communities of Atucloma, Santa Lucrecia, Tañiloma, Acchayacu, Bellavista, Las Américas - Estación, Gullanzhapa, Morascalle, Tutupali Chico, Tutupali Grande, Manzanapamba, El Verde, Chaullayacu, Santa Rosa, Chilcatotora, Parcoloma, San Pedro de Yunga, Chilcachapar, Cotapamba, Francesurco, San Francisco de Totorillas, Rosa de Oro, Santa Teresa, and Gulagpugro.Tumebamba
Tumebamba, Tomebamba (hispanicized spellings) or Tumipampa (Kichwa for "Knife Field", Tumi: Knife, Pampa: Field) was a former main regional city in the Inca Empire. Tumebamba was chosen by the Emperor Huayna Capac (ruled 1493–1525) to be the Inca northern capital. The city was largely destroyed during the civil war between Huáscar and Atahualpa shortly before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in 1532. The Spanish city of Cuenca, Ecuador was built on the site of Tumebamba although a portion of the Inca city is preserved at the archaeological sites of Pumapunku and Todos Santos.
|Climate data for Cuenca, Ecuador|
|Record high °C (°F)||33.0
|Average high °C (°F)||22.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||15.3
|Average low °C (°F)||10.9
|Record low °C (°F)||0.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||67
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)||20||21||22||19||15||11||10||10||12||16||13||10||179|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||155||113||124||120||155||150||186||186||150||155||150||155||1,799|
|Source #1: Temperatures: Climate Ecuador, Voodoo Skies|
|Source #2: Other: Cuenca Climate Guide |
Provincial capitals in Ecuador
Within regions, north to south
de los Tsáchilas