Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,800 meters above sea level), it is the second highest official capital city in the world, after La Paz, Bolivia. Located in Ecuador, South America, Quito is situated in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha Volcano, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 2,671,191 according to the last census (2014), Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha Province and the seat of the Quito Canton|Metropolitan District of Quito. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations, UNASUR. Quito, a beautiful city and capital of Ecuador, offers great cultural activity throughout its districts and is a great starting point for visits to the rest of Ecuador.
The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas, and is undoubtedly one of the cities main tourist attractions. Quito, along with Kraków, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978. The central square of Quito is located about 25 km south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 km of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as "Mitad del Mundo" (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word "ecuador" is spanish language for "equator".