El Mitad del Mundo



El Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World) is a purpose-built complex of museums and shops that was constructed to mark the equator, the line that gives the country its name. The 96-foot (30m) high Equator Monument is the focus of the square, topped by a brass sphere representing the world, from where a painted line stretches out on either side marking the equator that divides the world, and the complex, into northern and southern hemispheres. Also on the square is a set of weighing scales to illustrate the fact that one loses a bit of weight on the equator, being subject to a lesser force of gravitational attraction than usual. An anthropological museum has interesting displays of Ecuador's indigenous populations and their customs, and there is a scenic lookout at the top.

Address: The site is 12 miles (20km) from Quito

Website: www.mitaddelmundo.com

Transport: Buses leave every few minutes from the corner of América and Colón streets in Quito (New Town), and travel to the roundabout outside the El Mitad del Mundo complex

Opening times: Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 7pm

Admission: $2