Riobamba (full name San Pedro de Riobamba) is the capital of the Chimborazo Province in central Ecuador, which is located at the Chambo River Valley of the Andes. It is 200 km (125 miles) south of Ecuador's capital Quito and located at on the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
The region surrounding Riobamba was a Puruha Indian territory before it was conquered by the Incas during the late 15th century. In 1534, the city was founded in the San Miguel plains, becoming the first city in modern-day Ecuador to be established. In 1563 the city became part of the Spanish Empire's newly-formed Royal Audience of Quito. The city was completely destroyed by earthquake in 1797, but rebuilt a few years later 14 km (9 miles) away from its original location (near a village named Cajabamba in the plains of San Antonio de Aguiscate). The city still retains much architecture from the Spanish period.
In the Ecuadorian War of Independence Riobamba first declared independence on November 11, 1820 but was soon retaken. The city finally became part of an independent Gran Colombia in 1822, and then a separate Republic of Ecuador in 1830.
On November 20, 2002, 8 people were killed and hundreds wounded when an explosion in the munitions depot at the Galapagos Brigade arsenal in Riobamba, set off a series of blasts. Such was the force of the explosion that many residents said their initial reaction was that there had been an earthquake or volcanic eruption. Windows were blown out more than 1.5 kilometres from the arsenal, and many of the injured suffered lacerations from flying shards of glass.
According to Colonel Arturo Cadena, a military spokesman in Quito, the initial explosion occurred during maintenance work inside the dump. In April 2003, the army published its final report into the explosion. The report holds the Santa Barbara munitions factory directly responsible for the explosion, which the army is calling an accident.
Geography & climate
Riobamba is located in the center of the country in the sierra region, within close proximity to the Chimborazo volcano. Like many cities in Ecuador, Riobamba has a near constant temperature year-round, with a wet and dry season. Its altitude (2754m) and closeness to Chimborazo give the city a cool climate year-round, with temperatures averaging between 23 C and 14 C.
The economy of the city mainly focuses on the agricultural production of the surrounding local populations. Besides this, Riobamba has an open-air market where indigenous artisans display their wares, where people can find manufactured products as textiles, handicrafts, leather goods, beer, and dairy products. Riobamba is also an important trade center of cattle-ranching.
Universities include Universidad Nacional de Chimborazo, Escuela Superior Politecnica de Chimborazo, Universidad Politecnica Salesiana, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and Instituto Tecnologico superior Isabel de godin.
Riobamba is a mid-level city in Ecuador, and the 10th largest in terms of population. It is the urban center of the Riobamaba canton, with a historic center that has a number of well-preserved churches.
The main celebration in Riobamba is Fiesta del Nino Rey de Reyes, which starts in December and ends on January 6. It has many colorful parades and music during the festivities. Another celebration is Riobamba's Independence Day on 21st of April. During those days people enjoy many concerts, drinking and lively parades. As most of the population does not work during these festivals, it is very difficult to find accommodation or any other service. The last festivity in Riobamba is its Foundation, which takes place at the 11th of November.
MuseumsAteno de Chimborazo
It is a privately run museum with sculptures, furniture, photographic materials, and documented memorabilia, located on Velasco 24-25 and Veloz.Armas
It exhibits a wide selection of uniforms, arms as well as religious materials which depict various epochs of Ecuador's history, located on Ave. Heroes de Tapi.Arte Religioso de la Concepcion
This museum has a gem-encrusted gold monstrance. The art encased in this religious collection is comes from the 18th century. entry.
Ciencias Naturales del Colegio Maldonado
Casa de Bolivar
Antropologico del Banco Central
Etnografico de la Casa de la Cultura
Churches in Riobamba include Catedral, Basilica del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, Concepcion, La Merced, San Antonio, San Alfonso, Casa Madre, and Capilla del Colegio Salesiano "STAR".
Riobamba is a good base to climb Carihuairazo, Chimborazo, Sangay and Altar. There is a ball game in Riobamba called "the mamona", which is played with a leather ball. It is usually played by the locals all afternoons at the Plaza Roja. Mountain biking is another common sport. Swimming can be practiced in CENAEST, where temperate swimming pools and Spa attract many tourists. Cockfights are usually seen during Riobamba's festivities and on weekends at the Gallera San Francisco. Riobamba is the home city of one top-level football club, Centro Deportivo Olmedo.
[http://municipioderiobamba.gov.ec/ Official website of the municipality (In Spanish)