Heritage, Culture, and Charms of
Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca
Courtesy City of Cuenca
Cuenca’s people, culture, traditions, and services coalesce making Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca the most sought-after city in Ecuador for visiting tourists and for foreign retirees choosing Ecuador as their new home.
The harmony that exists between its history, colonial architecture, and the warmth of its people, were instrumental in UNESCO’s declaring Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca a Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1999.
The Historic Centre of Santa Ana de los Cuatro Rios de Cuenca has preserved its image as a colonial town. The essential aspects of its original character are demonstrated by its many large Spanish colonial buildings welcoming locals and visitors. These heritage homes were built with traditional materials such as adobe, bahareque, and straw and were designed around a central interior courtyard. The exterior façades are dominated by windows and balconies. The commitment to preserving this unique architecture is why Cuenca was recognized by the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OCPM) as a heritage city.
The present city administration led by Ing. Marcelo Cabrera, Cuenca’s mayor since 2014, along with the Municipal Directorate of Historic and Patrimonial Areas, has committed to the recovery, restoration, and conservation of Cuenca's cultural heritage, a commitment to those who visit and live in Cuenca to make you feel at home.
The commitment to restoring this popular architecture, along with coordinated efforts to recover buildings abandoned long ago, is this administration’s demonstration of its desire to preserve Cuenca’s heritage assets for its citizenry. Approximately 10 million dollars has been invested in the recovery and restoration of 14 patrimonial buildings. The purpose is to increase the patrimonial value to the city by placing these buildings into service for the citizenry. Read on to learn more about some of these buildings.
- Casa del Arco, located on Av. Loja, originally was built by the Church. It then passed into the hands of a family who performed agricultural work. It now provides space encouraging art and music for children.
- The House of the Murals, built in the center of the city and originally known as Casa Aguilar, is now home to the Multiple Center, providing medical assistance to municipal employees.
- Recently inaugurated, Casa Palacios Abad, located in the Plaza del Otorongo, dating from the late Nineteenth Century, is one of the best representations of Vernacular architecture. It houses the first Center for People with Disabilities.
- La Casa Tienda, located in El Vado, will be used for the promotion and commercialization of handicrafts. Work is currently underway on the restoration of Casa de la Lira, one of the five emblematic houses of El Vado.
- Casa Márquez, which will be used for the promotion of scenic arts. Ullauri House, on Tarqui Street and Vásquez House, will be used as a Child Development Center for children up to 12 years old.
- The House of Duties and Rights, located in Plaza San Francisco, is in the process of being restored and will be occupied by a Community Police Unit (UPC) to reinforce the security of the Historic Center.
- Casa de la Mujer will be used to promote crafts made by Cuencan women.
- Mary Corilé House is about to open, located on Rafael María Arízaga street. It was owned by writer Mary Corilé, an icon in the literary world of Cuenca. It will become a center promoting the economic and social development of the area.
- Casa Rodríguez located in El Vado, Casa Donoso, and Casa del Migrante, which are in the process of being restored, will be used for social and cultural themes.
These and many other projects allow us to promote Cuenca from a different perspective. Their purpose is not only to educate those visiting or residing in the city but to showcase Cuenca’s history to both the national and international communities.
The commitment is to protect the city and its heritage. We love what we do.
The services provided by the Mayor's Office of Cuenca can be viewed through its website which has an English version.
Address: Simón Bolívar and Presidente Borrero, corner.
City Hall of Cuenca
Address: Calle Sucre between Benigno Malo and Luis Cordero
Phone: 07- 413-4900
www.cuenca.gob.ec (English version available)
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