Mitad del Mundo - The Equator
Mitad del Mundo means "The Equator". Even though the equator runs through many cities around the world, Quito has become famous for it. Mitad de Mundo consists of one dominant monument, smaller monuments that lead up to it, a small village that has been constructed around the equator site and a quaint museum. It is a truly fascinating and exciting attraction in Ecuador and is located just approximately 20 kilometers outside of Quito. The Equator was discovered and mapped out by a French geodesic expedition team that was led by an explorer named Charles-Marie de La Comdamine in the year 1736. Even though those early geographers were about 250 meters off the mark, it was an extraordinary feat at the time.
Due to the misguided efforts of the French, the thirty-meter monument that is the focal point of the Mitad del Mundo Square, complete with a painted line to indicate the equator, is basically a false equator indicator. But these are mere details and many visitors cannot resist the photo opportunity, to prove to family and friends that they are indeed capable of being in two places at once. Namely the southern and northern hemisphere!
The Equatorial village that has been constructed around the monument has been built to closely resemble an authentic village and includes homes, a church, stores and even a cockfighting ring. Here visitors will be able to purchase keepsakes, explore the little shops and enjoy refreshments. The smaller monuments situated nearby stand as a memorial to the men who lost their lives in the wars.
The Museo Inti Nan is where the great adventure lies. It is built on the true equator and has a signpost that will indicate when you are standing in the center of the earth. This is an interactive museum and it is the experiments and events that take place at the museum that make The Equator such a popular attraction in Ecuador. You will be witness to the Corollas effect; when water is run over a globe, the water will run straight over the equator and will rotate over the globe clockwise to the south of the equator and anti-clockwise to the north of the equator. You will also learn how easy it is to balance an egg on a nail and experience the difficulty of walking straight when walking on the equator line.
And if you have always wondered how to make a shrunken head, you will be able to see step-for-step instructions on how to make your own shrunken head. Not for the weak at heart. Before leaving you will receive a certificate stating that you have stepped across the equator at Mitad del Mundo - a memento for you to remember the adventure and experience of this site and country by for years to come.