The Mitad del Mundo (Spanish for Middle of the World) is a tract of land owned by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. It is located in the San Antonio parish of the canton of Quito, 10 km north of the city of Quito.
The grounds contain the Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo, a museum about the indigenous ethnography of Ecuador whose building serves at the same time as a 30-meter-tall monumemt which marks one of the points where the equator goes through the country. The pyramidal monument, with each side facing a cardinal direction, is topped by a 4.5 meter diameter, 5-ton globe. Inside the monument is the small museum with exhibits of elements of indigenous Ecuadorian culture, such as clothing, ethnic groups, and activities. A small town surrounding the monument fuctions as the tourist center, replicating a colonial Spanish town and called "Ciudad Mitad del Mundo" (Middle of the World City).
The area in the north of the province had been the object of a number of studies attempting to determine the exact location of the equator, with the first result being obtained in the early 1700s by Charles Marie de La Condamine. At the end of the 18th century, General Charles Perrier, from the French Academy of Sciences, was sent to lead a mission to verify that result. Later, in 1936, with the support of the French American Committee, an Ecuadorian geographer named Dr. Luis Tufiño built a 10 meter monument in San Antonio de Pichincha. In 1979, the monument was moved 7 km to the west, to the town of Calacalí. Today, a new and much larger monument stands in San Antonio de Pichincha, after being constructed between 1979 and 1982. It is made of iron and cement and covered with cut and polished andesite stones.
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