First Geodesic Mission
The First Geodesic Mission arrived to Ecuador in 1736 conformed by the French Pedro Bouger, Luis Godin and Carlos Maria de la Condamine, the Spanish Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa and the Ecuadorian Pedro Vicente Maldonado to verify of scientific way the Earth roundness. The studies mission lasted nine years and after this long period of time, it began to call the territory of Quito “Territories of Ecuador” taking the reference to the parallel that divides the planet in two hemispheres. One second mission arrived to Quito in 1802, headed by the French Charles Perrier and it settles down in the country and it corroborated the data collected by the first group of investigators.
In 1836, the Ecuadorian geographer Luis Tufiño, located the landmarks left by the First Mission and to commemorate the visit of the scientific expedition, an obelisk of 10 meters high in San Antonio de Pichincha was erected, which was later transferred to Calacalí by the Provincial Council.
The City Half of the World
The Honorable Provincial Advice of Pichincha, HCPP, initiated in 1979 the construction of the present monument of 30 meters high, to emphasize the importance of the work of the First Geodesic Mission. Next to this block, the tourist villa was built “City Half of the World”, using classic colonial architectonic outlines: the church, the greater park and the town hall. Surrounding to these constructions is a bullring, several artisan warehouses, restaurants, cafeterias, post office.
The location of the Half of the World is city is 13 kilometers to the north of Quito. Equinoctial or parallel imaginary line zero (0°0 ‘ 0″) crosses east valley, dividing the planet Earth in two hemispheres: North and the South.
From the terrace of the monument reminder to the scientific expedition of century XVIII the Andean surroundings of Half of the World can be contemplated. And in their interior are nine levels that conform the Ethnographic Museum, where the variety of ethnic groups that live in the four regions of Ecuador are displayed. At the entrance of the City Half of the World, the tourists can find the 13 busts that represent the scientific members of the French Geodesic Mission. This street is called the Geodesic Avenue
Towards the north, the City Half of the World is the sample characteristic of the colonial style, tourist can appreciate the Central park, scene of the cultural and artistic programming which happen every weekend. The only church in the world furrowed by the Equatorial Line, residences of colonial architecture where the national art are exhibit, crafts, textiles and jewelry shops.
The following route is in the South hemisphere where is the Planetarium, the Solar Museum, installed in the Germany Pavilion; this is an exhibition of the archaeological sites and investigations that are taking place in the Equinoctial Valley.
In the France’s Pavilion is the exhibition of the history of the exact measurements of the Earth, through instruments, photographers, illustrations and scale models are showing in detailed to the tourists.
The Philatelic Museum is another attraction that City has. Here are exposed thematic educational, ecological, sports, culture; philatelic, numismatic presentations and currency and paper money.
The Foundation “Quito Colonial” presents and displays in its rooms the Scale models of the Historical Center of Quito, Guayaquil, and in the future it will be present Galapagos Island and Cuenca City.