Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of above sea level, it is the highest official capital city in the world and the one which is closest to the equator. an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 2,671,191 according to the last census, 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 Metropolitan District of Quito. The canton recorded a population of 2,239,191 residents in the 2010 national census. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.
The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. The central square of Quito is located about south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo, to avoid confusion, as the word is Spanish for equator.
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