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Cuenca - Ecuador: World Cultural Heritage

City of Cuenca
Nestled in a hidden valley apart from the rest of Ecuador, Cuenca keeps its cultural pride and heritage alive among the bussle of thousands of large and small businesses. Among the activities are numerous traditional cultural events and fiestas complete with authentic costumes, museums, art exhibits, fine concerts and a myriad of other interesting activities, should your stay permit indulgence in such. To see the real Cuenca in a day, in depth, is impossible and for that reason we recommend a typical visit lasting for several days to hit the high points and to really see the city. The low cost of living contributes to an inexpensive, hospitable, yet cozy environment in Cuenca. Low crime and well guarded streets offer secure touring in Cuenca by all who wish to enjoy its splendor. Business endeavors flourish here due to the tourism and affluence in general. In 1999, honoring Cuenca's history, the UNESCO declared its center a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Ecuador's third largest city, Cuenca, has long been a favorite among tourists and photographers, both foreign and Ecuadorian.

Things to do in and around Cuenca
There are many good places to buy local wares, which include embroidered blouses, natural sheep wool sweaters, gold and silver filigree jewelry and weavings with tie-dyed patterns called ikat. Crafts, as well as fresh produce, are also on sale at the weekly Thursday market which is held around 9 de Octubre and 10 de Agosto squares.
Cuenca also makes a good base from which to visit Parque Nacional Cajas, as well as local thermal baths and villages.
Ingapirca is the major Inca site in Ecuador, but opinions are mixed about the significance of the ruins. The archeological site is which ruled these hills for several hundred year before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, is believed it might have had religious and ceremonial purposes; and the complex may have been for runners carrying imperial messages from Quito to Tomebamba.

· Did you know?

The Panama hat is actually an indigenous product of Ecuador. Panama hats got their name because they were shipped through Panama on their way to the United States. The erroneously named hats are woven from thin straw, which grows in Ecuador's coastal lowlands. The straw is harvested, shipped to weaving centers such as the Andean City of Cuenca, and made into hats by weavers.

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