You have to come to Cuenca!
In fact, Cuenca is a city rooted in the Andean mountains of southern Ecuador. It is known for the banks of the Tomebamba River and its handicrafts, its central square, its parks, its streets, the New Cathedral with its blue dome, and the Old Cathedral from the 16th century. Cuenca is the most enchanted among all cities, it is a place where its cultural traditions are respected.
The city of Cuenca, as well as its history, is widely represented in many of the city’s museums. Also, it offers visitors spectacular opportunities to do outdoor activities, taste its gastronomic riches and its colonial architecture. What to expect to visit this Ecuadorian city!
Read on to find out everything you long to know about Cuenca.
The history of Cuenca begins long before the arrival of the Spanish and even the Incas. Where the city is, it was previously a settlement of the Cañari culture called Guapondeleg (land as big as the sky), and it is believed that it was founded around 500 AD. After a time the Incas conquered the Cañaris and occupied Guapordeleg and its surrounding areas and thus Cuenca rises above the ancient Inca city. The people of Cuenca come from a rich ethnic heritage made up of native peoples such as the Cañaris and Incas, in addition to others who arrived during the colonization of America, mainly the Spanish, but also, to a much lesser extent, Afro-descendants.
Another important fact is that Cuenca became the third capital of the province that made up the nascent republic, the other two being Guayaquil and Quito.
Cuenca, with a little over 400,000 inhabitants, enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year. Days are usually warm while nights are cool enough to wear a sweater. This city should be in your first travel option. The typical character of the city is also born from this mixture, the so-called “Chola Cuencana”, formerly it was about peasant women dedicated to agricultural work, although now it is also common to see them in the city, and is the product of miscegenation between indigenous people of the region and the Spanish.
Did you know?
The city was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on December 1, 1999, for preserving the original grid of the historic center from 1557. It is also inserted in a valley watered by four rivers: Tomebamba, Yanuncay, Tarqui and Machángara.
Its highest point is the Nudo del Cajas, at 4,500 meters above sea level, where the Cajas National Park is located.
Living in Cuenca has the advantages of finding buildings of different architectural styles that surprise you or make you smile remembering the past. Most of its buildings reflect a Spanish colonial design built later in the 19th century. In the most modern areas there are buildings that reflect this same sense of belonging to a city and the parks symbolize love and respect for the city.
In Cuenca there are so many interesting and fun things to know such as observing the biodiversity of the Cajas National Park and experiencing the native wildlife of Ecuador at the Amaru rescue center and a horseback ride through the Andes. In addition, there are walks through the cloud forest of Girón and an impressive waterfall called El Chorro. Also, explore the Inca ruins of the archaeological complex of Pumapungo and the archaeological complex of Ingapirca. In addition, you can go up to the new cathedral of Cuenca, which is one of the greatest architectural attractions in the country. Construction began in 1885 and ended around 100 years ago. Visitors can also learn about the production of the toquilla straw hat, visit the handicrafts of neighboring cantons, take a bike ride or a picnic along the Tomebamba River, rest in the warm volcanic mineral waters of the Baños parish. You can even buy Andean handicrafts in the international plazas and centers and stroll through the open-air flower market.
In Cuenca, the festivities of the Holy Innocents are of particular interest due to the enthusiasm with which the inhabitants celebrate them, many people go out to celebrate in the streets with various types of costumes. Another of its traditions is the Cuenca carnival and its gastronomy present on this date. Holy Week in Cuenca is one of the central commemorations of the Christian liturgical calendar, religious tourism can be carried out with the great variety and quantity of crafts, as well as typical food.
Corpus Christi is one of the most important popular religious manifestations and is one of the most colorful celebrations in the country, a reflection of its popular and religious culture of a people who love their traditions, which over time have not yet disappeared.
The independence of Cuenca is celebrated on November 3 where every year the inhabitants celebrate these festivities. The pass of the traveling child, is known by this name to an image of the Child God. Cuenca also celebrates the old year with various groups of society preparing platforms, preparing characters and artists for the party.
For those who want to know the typical dishes of Cuenca’s cuisine and are thinking of visiting the province of Cuenca, in addition to enjoying its natural landscapes and its beautiful villages, they should not forget to do so either about its varied and exquisite gastronomy, its typical dishes that you can eat , all of them made with the products of the land, based on ancient recipes that have passed from generation to generation preserving the aromas and flavors of yesteryear.
Below we show you the typical food of Cuenca and its most typical dishes of this beautiful province to find out what ingredients are part of them, as well as its most traditional drink, the famous resoli. If you plan to visit the province of Cuenca, you can stay in one of the rural houses in Cuenca that we have available.
Morteruelo is a typical food from Cuenca that to a certain extent could be assimilated to pâté. Zarajos is based, as its main ingredient, on the intestines of suckling lamb, which, after being marinated, are rolled up on a branch and then fried in olive oil, although they can also be roasted in the oven or grilled. , the migas with egg constitute a very popular dish and much appreciated in the gastronomy of Cuenca. Ajoarriero is a kind of paste that is usually added to certain dishes. The shepherd’s gazpacho is a traditional dish from the province of Cuenca. One of its main characteristics is that its basic ingredient is the cenceña cakes, which are made with unleavened bread, that is, without yeast, the alajú is an exquisite sweet typical of Cuenca.
Cuenca is a quiet city, with enviable health, cheerful and attractive, hard-working and progressive, which has all the resources and compliments that life offers to man. And, to complement this, its inhabitants are friendly and hospitable, with the simplicity and chivalry typical of their temperament that overflows with cordiality.
Everything is possible in this magical city that has a lot to offer to all its temporary and regular inhabitants.