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5 Characters of the Old Town of Quito

In Quito’s Old Town, the streets, squares and shops are full of life ...and only when exploring them does one understand the color, the personality and the people that make up its essence. When you walk around there are certain characters or people who you will definitely run into in this World Culture Heritage city. They remain loyal to their craft or their activity. Here are just a few of them….

  1. Preachers
    Often found below the steps of the Cathedral, these preachers don’t need megaphones (even though some do use them), because their loud voices and effusive and dramatic arm-flinging is enough to draw the attention of the crowds – rather rather than their actual religious lectures…
  2. The retirees of Plaza Grande
    The seniors at Plaza Grande are practically the city’s icons. Their everyday consists of “la banca y el comercio”, which is the name given to their main activity: sitting on the square’s benches, pulling out the day’s newspaper and proceeding to read its every last word.
  3. The mobile exotic juice vendors
    Through the Old Town’s steep and narrow streets, a man behind a juice cart swerves round every corner offering beverages…you could even say potions… that cure all kinds of evil. You can try juices that promise to relieve your headache, backache, kidney disease, heart disease.... you name it. Ask for the famous chawarmishki!
  4. The shoe shiners
    Shoe shine boys are all over Quito’s squares cautiously observing your shoes, spotting every imperfection or stain and promising to leave them spotless! Apart from the boys, you’ll also find official shoe-shine stalls set up to the sides of the squares. The ones on Plaza Grande are institutions.
  5. Seamstresses
    The tradition of dressing figures of saints or of Jesus remains intact in Quito and therefore there are seamstresses dedicated to specifically manufacturing clothing for them. Virgins dressed in velvet and bizarre outfits for baby Jesus are among the most sought after pieces!

Plaza San Francisco Quito


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  • Address: Bolivar Oe6-41 y Cuenca, Quito - Ecuador
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