Pending an imminent revival after more than two months of isolation, the capital of Ecuador, Quito, offers a wide virtual proposal to present its best heritage to local and international tourists, in order to encourage their “physical return” after the pandemic.
Through virtual visits with the possibility of 360-degree viewing, the Ecuadorian Municipality launched the initiative for tourists to discover “a completely different experience”, in order to awaken the interest of knowing these places in person once restrictions are lifted , next June 3.
“Since March 16, a concept of graphic production and content has been created to take to the website and maintain the offer of educational and exhibition museology,” Virginia Vivar, head of Communication for the Foundation Museums of the city.
THE CENTER OF THE DIGITIZED WORLD
Known as the capital of the center of the world, for being located south of the equator, Quito has been a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1978 and houses one of the best preserved colonial helmets in America, with several churches and monuments of the XVI and XVII centuries.
Its architectural jewels, museums and cultural centers from now on are part of the varied online offer, still to be known by many of its regular visitors and which are being accessed by tourists abroad, many of them Ecuadorians.
The Church of La Compañía stands out, the most representative and important baroque temple in colonial America and one of the most important religious monuments in historic Quito.
In a virtual tour, you can see its imposing naves and its dome, covered in 23-carat gold foil, which gave it the name of the “Temple of Solomon” in America.
The arrival of the Jesuits to the city in 1586, “marks a before and after”, indicates in a video a guide of the building whose construction began in 1605 and lasted 160 years, in which several architects who took as a model intervened two Italian churches.
Another emblematic place that has made the leap to the web is the Basilica del Voto Nacional, which competes in importance as the largest neo-Gothic religious temple in America, whose construction lasted more than 100 years and was initially a project contracted to the French architect Emilio Tarlier.
The French architect designed the plans between 1890 and 1896, inspired by the Parisian cathedral of Notre Dame.
A NEW MUSEUM
Located in the heart of Quito, the City Museum is located in the old San Juan de Dios Hospital, a building considered a World Cultural Heritage Site by Unesco, where the history of the city and the 400 years of life of the hospital are exhibited. .
Also in the old town, the Museo del Carmen Alto is an emblem of religious art in the old homonymous monastery, which treasures the life and work of the first saint of Ecuador, Marianita de Jesús.
The audiovisual offer to be able to contemplate remotely also includes the Parque Museo del Agua-Yaku, a space located on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano and which invites, especially the little ones, to delve into different aspects of the essential liquid.
The Interactive Science Museum (MIC), the Center for Contemporary Art, the Botanical Garden, the National Museum, the Guayasamín Foundation, among others, complete the wide museum and cultural range that is within easy reach.
Vivar explained to Efe that the City Museums Foundation, which manages five spaces in Quito, has translated the traditional offer in permanent and temporary rooms into a new concept, through the websites of each of the museums and social networks.
Part of it is the 360 tours that are currently oriented towards digital demand, although the person in charge acknowledges that not all traditional visitors are “highly technological”.
AN INTERACTIVE WORLD
To the online offer are added scientific talks or talks, such as those proposed by the Science Museum or the Water Museum, so that its visitors can carry out, for example, experiments with homemade resources.
But not only the tangible culture is being promoted telematically, but also the immaterial, that which can be learned through the performing arts or historical narratives.
In this context, Andrea Fonseca, member of Quito Eterno, an independent organization with 18 years of existence, which used to take dramatized tours of historical content highlighting the memory of a heritage city, has sought how to reach tourists and is succeeding.
“Since the way of life changed, we had to rethink how to move forward and reach our audience,” he told Efe.
The exhibitions of historical figures of the organization on platforms such as Facebook Live, have managed to gather 60,000 followers on average and 900 views in a single transmission.
And it is that in these times of isolation and restrictions on mobility, the web has become a dissemination tool that allows you to reach the most remote corners of Quito, and at the touch of a button move the tourist through its almost five centuries of history.