Quito is also formally known as the San Francisco de Quito and is the capital city and largest city of the Republic of Ecuador. With a high elevation of approximately nine thousand three hundred and fifty feet above the sea level, Quito comes second in the highest capital cities in the world. It is also the closest to the equator. The city is located conveniently within the Guayllabamba river basin down the eastern slopes of the Pichincha stratovolcano in the Andes mountain ranges. A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1978, Quito was among the very first cities to be given the declaration. It is a proud home to the best and unfiltered, unaltered, and the most well-preserved historic centers in the Americas region. Ancient cultures have been well-preserved in Quito, as have many ancient architectures featured in numerous churches and other buildings. The Cathedral church within the central Plaza Grande Square is one of the ancient structures in the city. It has been constructed to feature a stunning blend of European, local, Moorish, and indigenous styles. The same applies to the ornate Compania de Jesus Jesuit Church. The National Museum of Quito has been famed for being home to some of the most real and most natural historical aspects of Ecuador, and it receives most of the daily visitors touring the city. For pre-Columbian art and craft pieces, visitors go to the iconic Casa del Alabado. Modern artists like those of Oswaldo Guayasamin have been preserved away in the Fundacion Guayasamin and Capilla del Hombre for the public to enjoy. The modern TeleferiQo is a cable car that provides for rides up and down the Pichincha Volcano, from where visitors are treated with sweeping views of the city below, as well as the scenic Parque Vulqano amusement park below.
Quito enjoys a variety of climates, depending on a region's hemisphere, seeing that it is located right next to the equator. The majority of the city falls within the Southern Hemisphere and enjoys a subtropical highland climate of Köppen Cfb. The Northern Hemisphere enjoys a warm-summer Mediterranean climate of Köppen Csb. Generally, the climate of Quito is cool, thanks to its high elevation and proximity to the equator. There are two main seasons; winter and summer, and the annual average temperature read maximums of 21.4°C (70.5°F) and 9.8°C (49.6°F). Between October and May is the wet season, and is referred to as winter. The temperature remains stable, and the rainfall is as high as 171.5mm (6.8") in the wettest month. Between June and September is the dry season, also called summer. It has steady temperature ranges and is marked by moderately dry days. Quito enjoys relatively stable weather all year round, especially in regards to the temperature ranges. This factor contributes significantly to making it a year-round travel destination. The peak of the ravel season happens to be between March and April, around the Easter festivities, and during winter, between December and January. Some of the key events include the Carnival Festival that is usually held on varying dates between February and March. The festival is marked with beautifully-synched parades and colorful costumes decorations. Another event is the Fiestas de Quito, usually held annually in December to mark the founding of the city, amid endless feasting, peaceful street processions, activities like fireworks, and eventually culminating in stunning firework displays.