Ancestral Wellbeing


Ancestral Wellbein


The Quito of the Pre-Inca period

The existence of an ancestral population that occupied the current city of Quito and its surrounding valleys long before the arrival of the Incas is recognized. It is also true that there is still no consensus among Quito scholars on the type of settlement and its level of social, political, administrative and religious significance, due to the scarcity of architectural archaeological remains. For example, we have positions like those of Jorge Trujillo, who affirms that Quito was: 鈥淎 symbolic space, endowed with different meanings. As a geographical space it has limits: to the north with the equinoctial line (Middle of the World) to the south, the plains that extend from the roll or Yavirac. To the west, the entrance to the land of the western yumbos: Calacal铆, Lloa and Tambillo. To the east, the accesses to the lands of the eastern Yumbos: Oyacachi, Papallacta and Pintag 鈥. It includes the surroundings or areas of the imaginary equatorial line. Therefore, it also includes the access corridors to the areas of influence of the western mountain range, which flow into the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. To the east, the limits reach the upper reaches of the Napo and Mara帽贸n river basins 鈥(cited: Trujillo, 2008: 299-300).

Bibliographic source: Archaeological Atlas of the DMQ

Yumbo Culture:

The “Country of the Yumbos” was located in the mountainous territory to the west of the province of Pichincha. The old towns of Calacal铆, Mindo, Nanegal, Nono and Lloa, and others -already disappeared- such as Alamb铆, Llambo and Cachillacta were protohistoric settlements of the Yumbos. Catacoto deserves special mention, since, despite having been very important during the colony, it also disappeared.

The archaeologist Holguer Jara, has dedicated several years to the investigation and study of the Yumbos people. He maintains that this culture disappeared in the mid-17th century due to eruptions of neighboring volcanoes Pichincha and Pululahua. Those who survived these catastrophes had to go up the mountains in search of safer land in the Amazon, where there are still human settlements belonging to that culture. They only remember by tradition, that they come from the other side of the mountains.

Bibliographic source: Encyclopedia of Ecuador

What are Culuncos?

They are the Pre-Inca roads that remain intact in the northwest of Pichincha. They are part of the Yumbo culture.

These trails are witnesses of a commercial organization that developed between 800 A.D. until the Spanish conquest. The Culuncos are hidden within the dense vegetation on the slopes of the mountains. They extend from the Highlands to the Coast and over the years they became the paths of the Spanish conquerors, republicans, loggers and liquor dealers. These paths still exist.

What are Petroglyphs?

Petroglyphs (rock engravings) are symbolic designs engraved on rocks, which were made by wearing down their surface layer. Many were man-made in the Neolithic period.

Bibliographic source: Encyclopedia of Ecuador


In order to understand the religious thought of ancient indigenous societies, we must first understand some of its characteristics: First, the way in which our ancestors defined the cosmos. They considered the Universe as an organized and harmonious whole, made up of three superimposed levels, that is, three parallel worlds united thanks to an axis, or axis mundi.

In the world above or Superworld, inhabited the Gods and spirits. Second: the middle world, where living beings, including plants, animals and humans lived. Third: the world below or the underworld, where the ancestors (Ucuyaya), the deceased and other powerful spirits associated with death and fertility were.
The continuity of life depended on the constant flow of vital forces through these worlds. According to the indigenous thought, the spirits of the primary world created the cosmos with numerous overlapping layers that by then were represented in three groups:

Hanan Pacha or the heavenly world: World from above or above the world, where are the air and the spirits or Gods. This world is luminous, arid, hot, masculine, rational and linear. It is the domain of solar animals, such as eagles, buzzards or jaguars, in their solar form.

Kay Pacha or the middle world: That is, our world, where minerals, plants, animals and human beings live in intimate connection. It includes the sky in which the sun and the stars roam. It is also a transit place for the beings of the parallel worlds.

Uku Pacha or Underworld: The world below, where the spirits related to death and fertility live, along with water animals such as: amphibians, snakes, bats and night jaguars. They were associated with sexuality and instincts. This world is dark, wet, cold, feminine, intuitive, and circular.


Quito Turismo has designed three tourist routes to discover the ancestral richness of the Yumbo Culture: we invite you to discover, feel and appreciate this ancient ethnic group of our city.

You will have the opportunity to cross the ancient paths, learn the traditional history of the Yumbos and, above all, fill yourself with the energy that these magical places of the rurality of Quito provide. Meet our communities, tourism associations and cultural groups in the rural parishes of Quito.



The park is approximately 40 hectares in size. Here, since 2001, cultural remains of pre-Hispanic times have been found, mostly architectural remains. The site is named after the Rumipamba gorge (stone plain) that rises on the western flanks of the Pichincha volcano and runs through this sector


Tulipe means “water that comes down from the tolas (tombs)”. It is a subtropical sanctuary open to the public, where you can deepen our knowledge about the history of the Yumbos people. They embodied their knowledge of architecture and geometry in monumental structures to honor their gods with purification rites.


The La Florida Site Museum was opened in 2009. In this place, the public can learn about the history of the Quitu people. The exhibition displays recovered architectural, funeral and cultural pieces.


Rumicucho in Quichua means “stone corner”. These archaeological ruins are located north of Quito, where we can clearly know what a temple dedicated to the Sun God was like.

From its privileged location, you can see the La Marca hill and the Cayambe volcano, which form a horizontal east – west line, which marks the exact place where the Sun passes through at its equinox.


It is located in the north center of Quito, in the Perucho parish. It is the place to learn about the Piruchana Culture.

The exhibition has archaeological pieces and models of this important culture, which are exhibited in this new cultural alternative place in north-central Quito.

Estructuraci贸n de Guion Tur铆stico/Arqueol贸gico

El levantamiento de la informaci贸n se realiz贸 en conjunto con el Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio IMP y Quito Turismo.

Guion tur铆stico reconocimiento arqueol贸gico del Culunco-Guantopungo-Pelagallo, ubicado en la parroquia de Calacal铆

Est谩 ubicada al noroccidente de Pichincha en la Parroquia de Calacal铆, zona que ha jugado un rol muy importante dentro del proceso hist贸rico cultural. Las razones son la presencia del pueblo Yumbo y su estrat茅gica ubicaci贸n que permit铆a a diferentes pueblos de la costa y sierra ecuatorianas, intercambiar (o realizar trueque como se conoce t茅cnicamente). La enorme variedad de productos con los que se contaba, sean estas cer谩micas, herramientas, productos agr铆colas, etc.

Si se preguntan: 驴c贸mo realizaban estos intercambios? La respuesta est谩 bajo sus pies. Los pueblos hac铆an uso de Culuncos, lo cual era la conexi贸n para las diferentes regiones y pueblos del Ecuador. Su uso ten铆a objetivos comerciales. Estos caminos formados a manera de trinchera con paredes de tierra de 3 a 4 metros de alto, no s贸lo articulaban redes comerciales, tambi茅n se vinculaban con la arquitectura simb贸lica del paisaje.

Tenemos una privilegiada visi贸n paisaj铆stica en la zona de los culuncos, adem谩s de estar cerca del bosque protector del r铆o Guayllabamba, la reserva geobot谩nica Pululahua y el Bosque nublado de Yunguilla. Esto es evidencia de la mega diversidad existente (especialmente por su abundante fauna de aves). Respecto a flora, la zona tiene arrayanes, orqu铆deas, cedro, u帽a de gato, bromelias, chilca, cauch铆n, mora, morti帽o, valeriana, entre muchas otras. Con relaci贸n a la fauna existen: ardillas, armadillos, guantas, murci茅lagos, osos de anteojos, pumas, cabeza de mate, venados, 谩guilas, b煤hos, p谩jaros carpinteros, gallo de pe帽a, colibr铆es, gavilanes, entre m谩s especies.

En la 茅poca de los Culuncos los elegidos para atravesar los caminos, eran los m谩s fuertes, ya que para realizar los trueques 鈥 cambios, deb铆an llevar objetos pesados por largas distancias que les tomaba d铆as, semanas e incluso meses. Estos comerciantes eran conocidos como Mindalaes y Cachas.

Ubiqu茅monos 10.000 a帽os en el pasado, en un per铆odo conocido como Pre-cer谩mico. Las sociedades eran n贸madas, cazadores y recolectores. En esos tiempos donde ya exist铆a el trueque y el principal producto de la sierra era la obsidiana (roca de vidrio volc谩nico), sin embargo, se encuentra evidencias arqueol贸gicas en la costa, dando como evidencia as铆 el intercambio comercial.

Hace 5.500 a帽os aproximadamente, un hito importante nos envuelve, el cual origina los inicios de la agricultura, permitiendo, a las sociedades volverse sedentarias.

El intercambio con la costa sigue, de lo que se hallaron objetos antiguos de influencia coste帽a de lo que se cree pertenec铆an a cultura Chorrera, hechos con cer谩mica y l铆tica, en las zonas de Cotocollao (Altiplano de Quito) y Nueva Era o en Tulipe (Noroccidente de Quito). Tambi茅n se encontraron objetos de obsidiana en la costa, lo cual supone que el intercambio interregional era permanente.

Lastimosamente un evento natural afect贸 a varias zonas. La erupci贸n del volc谩n Pululahua ocurrida hace 2.500 a帽os dej贸 gran parte de la zona cubierta de ceniza, afectando a los sitios arqueol贸gicos y obligando la migraci贸n de las poblaciones. Cerca de 1.000 a帽os tomo para que las zonas fueran nuevamente pobladas y retomar la organizaci贸n social existente, incluyendo el intercambio de productos entre costa y sierra. 聽

Otros vestigios de elementos cer谩micos de influencia coste帽a fueron encontrados en el valle de Quito (Cotocog y Jardines del Este en Cumbay谩).

En el per铆odo de Integraci贸n que data de los a帽os 500 hasta el 1.500 D.C, fue una 茅poca de consolidaci贸n para la sociedad Yumbo. En la parte alta y media del bosque nublado, ten铆an una extensi贸n territorial de 900 km2 y eran una organizaci贸n compleja, estructurada por cacicazgos. Aqu铆 la red de culuncos, que ten铆a conexi贸n entre Mindalaes y Cachas, serv铆an para el intercambio de productos como: papas, ma铆z, quinua (zonas altas), algod贸n, coca y aj铆 (zonas bajas), adem谩s del intercambio con la concha Spondylus (Costa), obsidiana. En ese entonces se manten铆a una relaci贸n equilibrada y respetuosa entre los pueblos.

La cer谩mica del pueblo Yumbo est谩 constituida por una variedad de vasijas como c谩ntaros, ollas, torteros, compoteras, cuencos y platos. Las superficies exteriores de las mismas est谩n alisadas, algunas pulidas y decoradas con engobe (capa fina de pintura).

Los Yumbo tambi茅n construyeron tolas o mont铆culos artificiales, interrelacionados entre s铆, las cuales representaban jerarqu铆a social o se les daba el uso para rituales funerarios. Se evidencia el contacto con diferentes pueblos debido a que sus tolas y arqueolog铆a jerogl铆fica demuestra la influencia de distintos pueblos. En Cochasqu铆 (tolas como pir谩mides con plataformas) y de la Amazon铆a (dise帽os en piedra con formas antropomorfas o humanas y zoomorfas o de animales).

La conquista Inca signific贸 un ligero cambio al uso de los culuncos, pues la dominaci贸n y control se estableci贸, sobre las zonas migratorias y comerciales cerca de los r铆os Alambi, Tulipe y Guayllabamba, consolid谩ndose la presencia Inca. Como prueba arqueol贸gica est谩n los Ba帽os del Inca en Tulipe.

Finalmente, con la Colonia y la Rep煤blica se rompe totalmente la din谩mica comercial y la cosmovisi贸n andina. Se impone pagos de productos por dinero, y se hace uso de los culuncos para transportar aguardiente (licor) y madera. Esto propici贸 el contrabando, estableciendo una din谩mica capitalista.


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Quito Turismo - Visit Quito

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Quito Turismo - Visit Quito