Historic Centre of Santa Ana
de los Ríos de Cuenca (1999)
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||Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca is set in a valley surrounded by the Andean
mountains in the south of Ecuador. This inland colonial town (entroterra),
now the country's third city, was founded in 1557 on the rigorous planning
guidelines issued 30 years earlier by the Spanish king Charles V. Cuenca still
observes the formal orthogonal town plan that it has respected for 400 years.
One of the region's agricultural and administrative centres, it has been a
melting pot for local and immigrant populations. Cuenca's architecture, much of
which dates from the 18th century, was 'modernized' in the economic prosperity
of the 19th century as the city became a major exporter of quinine, straw hats
and other products.
In its justification for inscription the UNESCO states that Cuenca illustrates the successful implantation of the principles of Renaissance urban planning in the Americas. The successful fusion of different societies and cultures in Latin America is vividly symbolized by the layout and townscape of Cuenca. Finally Cuenca is an outstanding example of a planned inland Spanish colonial city.
Sources and links:
Other World Heritage Sites in the Ecuador (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Ecuador section, for further information on the individual properties.
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Revised 03 aug 2006