The Center of the World

The Center of the World
September 19, 2011 Lainie Liberti

Zero Degrees

During our Quito visit, Miro, our friend (and fellow volunteer) Alisha and I went to the “Middle of the World” a place where the longitude and latitude meet at 0 degrees. This is the point on the globe where equinoctial line divide  the northern and southern hemispheres and has a thick red painted line to mark the location. So there you are, and of course, there’s only one obvious thing to do….straddle the  northern & southern hemispheres with your feet. (And I did just that)

 

Museo de Sitio Solar Intiñan

After our visit to the Guayasamin’s ‘The Chapel of Man’, we were up for something a little  lighter.

The Center of World proved to be just that. We were blessed with an English speaking guide at the Middle of the World Museum who shared with us stories of former residents of the land, their rituals and traditions. The museum had a miniature display village and as we toured the grounds, we learned about some of their customs including preparing a drink from the sacred San Pedro cactus, deciphering spiritual symbolism within the totems,  the tradition of placing the dead into adobe vessels in preparation for their transition into the underworld and (our favorite) shrinking enemies heads and placing them on a stick ( a skill Miro and I did not  previously have).

From the Intinan Museum site:

You can observe the fantastic world of the mystical Ecuadorian culture in an ecological and scientific habitat in live, in the “Way of the Sun” the museum that is located in Lulumbamba valley, 25 Km (15,53 miles) of the capital, exposes a sample about the Andean cosmovision of the ancestral cultures, based on arching-astronomical scale models (temples).

It has the only one of its kind solar clock in the world that has two faces on the equator line, an agricultural calendar: a stone index that shows the 4 stations, that also indicates the solstices of the 21 of June and 21 of December (the longest day in the north/south of the planet) and the equinoxes of the 21 of March and 23 of September when the sun falls perpendicular and shade does not exist at all.

-more here-

You spin me right round baby….

But the highlight of our visit had to be the witnessing first hand the water draining and funneling clockwise in the northern hemisphere, and counter clockwise in the southern hemisphere.  This was something I had learned about on the Simpsons.

Our friend Alisha (who is  featured in Podcast Episode  # 26 ), put together a wonderful video of our experience at the Middle of the World, we’d love to share with you here:

Please be sure to visit this link to read Alisha’s  post about her experience at the

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