QUITO, Ecuador, April 15 "“The capital of Ecuador has been named the 2011 American Capital of Culture and has scheduled a full slate of concerts, festivals, fairs and events through December.

Quito is a living jewel with its 320-acre historic center full of 130 monuments and 5,000 heritage properties.  Founded in the 16th century and built on the ruins of an ancient Inca city, Quito sits at over 9,000 feet surrounded by towering Andean volcanoes.  Throughout 2011, its historic theatres, cultural centers, plazas and patios will host exhibitions, plays, musical performances and festivals showcasing Ecuadorian folklore, the city's rich culture, jazz, sacred music and much more.

To mark Quito's status as the American Capital of Culture, these events are scheduled:

Ø  Festival of Sacred Music, April 11-24

Ø  International Biennale of Guitars, May 19-21

Ø  International Festival of Singers, June 20-26

Ø  "The Song of the Festival" Exhibition, June 1-15

Ø  Frankenstein, The Musical, July 20-26

Ø  Exhibition of Manuel Cholango, August 4

Ø  Fair of Quito's Sweets and Traditions, August 17-20

Ø  Ecuador's Jazz Festival, September 12-18

Ø  International "Music of the World" Festival, October 17-23

Ø  Urban Art Happenings, November

Ø  Tribute to Ecuadorian Artists – December

Ø  Christmas Concert "“ December

Additionally, other exhibitions will take place at the Museo de la Ciudad, the Casa de las Artes, the Community Development Center of San Jose de Conocoto, the Humboldt Association, the Interactive Museum of Science and other cultural institutions around the city.

"Over the last ten years, more than $250 million has been invested in restoring the city's architectural heritage," Luz Elena Coloma, General Manager of the Quito Visitors' Bureau, explained.  "As this year's American Culture Capital, Quito wants to show our visitors many more aspects of our rich artistic traditions," she said.

The city was chosen by the International Cultural Capitals Bureau (IBOCC), an organization accredited by the Organization of Americans States, the European Parliament and the Latin American Parliament.  The capital of Ecuador was named UNESCO's first World Heritage site in 1978.

For further information, contact your travel provider or go to www.quito.com.ec.