May I have your attention, please?
May I have your attention, please?
Will the real Mitad del Mundo please stand up?
I repeat will the real Mitad del Mundo please stand up?
We’re going to have a problem here.
La Mitad del Mundo, middle of the world in English, is a massive monument just a few kilometers north of Quito. It’s a place where masses of tourists funnel to when they’re looking for an attraction in the City. It’s the middle of the world. The equator. Even the namesake of the country, Ecuador means equator in Spanish.
Located just 30 kilometers north of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, the middle of the world stands as a colossal monument that holds a secret. A tribute to a city that straddles two hemispheres – the Ciudad del Mitad del Mundo. The trapezoid stone memorial stands 30 meters high with a brass globe at the top where one can go (for a fee) and see the rest of the site.
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What secret does it hold?
La Mitad del Mundo is a fake.
The stone monument itself isn’t on the equator. Some French explorers, using pre-GPS technology, messed up in the 18th century and marked the wrong point. The Mitad del Mundo was erected in place after this discovery to lure tourist to the spot. Soon museums and restaurants were built to accommodate the ever-increasing mass of visitors.
Then eventually, the real Mitad del Mundo did stand up. GPS (Global Positioning System) eventually proved the correct spot for the middle of the world. But, what to do with the already built infrastructure where tourist are flocking to? Well, just don’t tell anyone about it and hope they don’t find out. Let those fools continue to drop their money there.
I think they’re trained not to tell visitors where the real spot is to continue making money and covering up their mistake.
The truth is
The real Mitad del Mundo is tucked away just a few hundred meters away on a nondescript cultural museum. The museum is called Inti Nan, which you can easily miss if you do not investigate further than the fake Mitad del Mundo. Here in Inti Nan, is where the cool stuff really happens. You can stand an egg on a head of a nail easily. Water flushes straight down the sinkhole rather spin around in circles. Your brain gets confused if you walk the equator line with your eyes closed. Cool stuff with less fluff.
Just check out this cool video I made on youtube
How did we discover the real Mitad del Mundo?
My fiancé and I did some research beforehand. When we got to the ticket station. We asked the woman at the counter who spoke perfect English to point us to the spot where we could find the real equator. She totally downplayed that she didn’t know what we’re talking about! She even said it’s all real because the equator is 5 km to the left and right. Hah!
It gets better
There are several Mitad del Mundo’s around the world. Duh? The equator runs around the entire planet after all. There must be thousands of the kilometers worth of middle of the world. There’s even another site called Quitsato where another Mitad del Mundo stands. However, here on this tiny museum, they have some cool stuff for you to play with and prove it’s right in the middle of the world. Moreover, it cost no more than $4.
With all that said
I think you still have to visit the fake spot where the monument is erected. It’s a more photogenic spot than the real one. Even though it’s a blunder, the trapezoid monument is still a cool spot to check out. If only they had Androids and iPhones back then, this massive blunder wouldn’t have occurred.
How to get to the real Mitad del Mundo?
You have several options.
- You can rent a car like we did. The road is paved but be wary of the insanely aggressive drivers.
- Take a tour. This might be the most expensive option.
- You can take the bus. The bus to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo is easy to find. The bus line also connects to Quito’s Metrobus system.
- Take a taxi. Taxis are cheap enough but be sure to take the official ones. They have numbered stickers on the side that you can tell apart from the unofficial ones. Make sure the meter is running.
The Itiñan Museum is to the right of the Mitad del Mundo facing the ticket booth. Walk a few meters from the compound and there’s a dirt road that you have to take to get to the museum. Just look for the billboard pictured on this page.
EXCUSE ME? WILL YOU GO TO THE REAL MITAD DEL MUNDO?