La Florida Museum

There are several reasons for visiting the “La Florida” Museum, located in the San Vicente neighborhood of la Florida in northern Quito. One of them is to see the extremely detailed museographic work carried out since 2004, which makes this place an interesting piece of history.

Archeological finds from a cemetery of Quito’s original inhabitants, settled there between 220 A.D. to 680 A.D. can be found in the museum. During the first part of the tour, visitors can see ten tombs in the shape of wells, approximately 15.5 meters in depth and 2.5 meters in diameter. Only three are kept open, the rest were closed due to humidity.

The historian Vicente Altamirano mentions that the excavation process began in 1985, with some important pieces made from gold being corrupted. Studies on the location reveal that several of the inhabitants buried there were buried in the fetal position, similar to the position of a child in its mother’s womb, legs bent, hands over their chest. The meaning of this is that once dead, people returned to the womb, Mother Earth’s womb. Those buried were laid to rest facing the Pichincha, as it was considered the home of the gods and deserving of such homage.

The other part of the museum contains restorations of ancestral faces, whick by their facial features appear to be Spanish, Asian and Inca. Artisanal work is also on display in the form of pots, ponchos, and whistles used to communicate, for example to call “mingas” (communal work parties), and to call important meetings; works of clay with geometric designs, metalwork, textile remains, yeast found in pots, one of them pink in color, dated as the oldest in the world.

Another reason to visit this place is to enjoy a great view of the city, where with a little luck and a clear day, the Cotopaxi and other nearby volcanoes become part of the scenery.

Opening hours are from 08:30 to 16:30. Ecuadorians and foreigners may visit the museum for free. This is an ideal place to reflect on the history of the original inhabitants of Quito, in order to learn where we come from, who we are, and how the funeral rite was performed in spaces that later became inhabited as the city grew, taking over its natural surroundings.

Text & Photo: Annabel López Villavicencio - @annitalopez4

To See
Gold and spondylus shells as tomb accessories

To Smelle
Transport yourself through history and recreate the place’s funerary environment

To Feel
The textures of the clay artifacts and the decoration of the funerary urns.

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