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"Ciudad Mitad el Mundo" - Geodesic Mission

In 1736 the First Geodesic Mission arrived to our country. Its main objective was to measure an arch of a meridian to prove the shape of the Earth. The Spaniards Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa noted sailors joined three French scientists; Bouguer, Godin and La Condamine. Upon arrival to Ecuadorian land, Pedro Vicente Maldonado an Ecuadorian scientist joined the mission. His great knowledge of geography and geology was a valuable asset to the cause. He collaborated carefully to secure the success of the mission.

In addition to its scientific contribution, the Geodesic Mission known at that time as the great enterprise ever attempted, hold great importance for our country. For instance, they informed the world that our country be known as Ecuador, as well as the studies that divulged social, cultural and anthropological aspects. The universal measure of longitude; the meter has its origin in the cosmographies studies made in Ecuador by the French Academy.

At the end of the nineteenth century the Paris Academy of Science anxious to confirm the results obtained by the scientist in the XVIII century, sent to Ecuador a Second Mission. General Charles Perrier led this mission, by increasing the longitude of the meridian arch; they planned to verify the results obtained in 1745.

In 1936, the French American Committee sponsored the idea of the Ecuadorian geographer Dr. Luis Tufiño and raised a monument commemorating 200 years of the arrival of the First Mission. They chose to raise a monument of 10 meter high in San Antonio de Pichincha, a place where the French Scientist never arrived.

Dr. Luis Tufiño established the Equatorial Line based on the pyramids of Oyambaro and Caraburo, landmarks erected by the First Mission. This historical monument remained in this place for 43 years. In 1979 it was moved 7km to the West to the town of Calacalí, which does the Equator Line also cross.

Today a new and much larger monument stands in San Antonio de Pichincha to replace the historical pyramid. The construction of the monument's replica performed by the Provincial Council of Pichincha, started in April 1979 and ended in August of 1982. It is made out of iron and cement, covered with the coating of polished and cut andesite stones; this material was taken out of "La Marca" mountain, which is quite close to the monument.

This new monument has the same geometric features as the former pyramid. It is 30 meters tall, three times bigger than the first one, with a large metallic globe at its top. Inside the monument there is an ethnographic museum containing scientific and cultural exhibits.

Cuidad Mitad del Mundo - Equatorial Monument
"Ciudad Mitad del Mundo" -   Quadrangular Pyramid

It is called Equatorial Monument because the quadrangular pyramid is located on the Equator Line, which is 0º-0'-0'' latitude. This line passes through many nations and different continents; however there is only one country reclining on the Pacific Ocean that bears its name, the "Republic of Ecuador" (1830).

The quadrangular pyramid, with its four monoliths on its angled bases, which have the same geographic orientation, ends on its top with a spherical metal globe that represents the Earth with its respective relief of the five continents and the oceans. This globe is 4.5 meter in diameter, weighs 5 tons, and is encircle by a metal band indicating the Equator Line.

The orientation of the monolithic sphere corresponds with the true position of the Earth, that is, the minor axis of the poles is parallel to the axis of rotation.
Each of the four sides of the pyramid corresponds to the geographic orientations: North, South, East and West.

The impressive structure of the houses forms a replica of a colonial Spanish town, which functions as an Equatorial Tourist Complex called "Ciudad Mitad del Mundo".

"Ciudad Mitad del Mundo - Colonial Spanish Town

This tourist complex has a church, an equatorial plaza, bull-fighting arena, a cock-fighting house, parks, monuments, workshops, warehouses, cultural and scientific museums etc..., that will offer to the tourists lots of attractions.
"Ciudad Mitad del Mundo - Touristic and Cultural Center