Loja, ”South Sentinel"
The province of Loja is a province full of wealth, culture and tradition. Each corner offers multiple possibilities for knowledge, recreation and experiences. It is characterized, by its religiosity and its devotion to the Virgin of the Swan.
Tourist Attractions of Loja
As main centers of tourist attraction, the cathedrals that thrive throughout the city of Loja are highlighted, the valleys and the beautiful landscapes fill this province, full of charm and green.
- The Petrified Forest of Puyango: is shared jointly with the province of El Oro has great scientific value, and is part of one of the few tropical dry forests in the world.
- Vilcabamba: located south of the city of Loja, has a special charm, its inhabitants are less than a thousand, and have an excellent average life, tourists come looking to find and have the benefits of this longevity.
- The Malacatos Valley: Among one of the most beautiful valleys in terms of landscape and flora.
- Pilgrimage to the parish of El Cisne: It is one hour away from Catamayo. The religious temple of the virgin of the Swan of gothic style is located here and is one of the largest in the province of Loja. The holidays in El Cisne take place in August beginning on 17th and ending on November 17th. During those four months the population increases in Loja and much more in El Cisne. The tour begins in San Pedro de la Bendita then passes to Catamayo where they receive it with fireworks, after 3 days, the virgin continues to Loja where most of the tourists stay to see her and then the virgin returns to El Cisne in November.
- Catamayo: hospitable city that is ready to receive the tourist or the traveler who travels through the place, possessing an enviable climate and with a very wide tourist infrastructure.
- Paltas: it is a canton of the province of Loja named after the presence of the pre-Inca ethnic group Palta, which is the fundamental element of provincial ethnography and history.
- Flowering of the Guayacanes in Mangahurco: The welcoming to the new year is given by nature, in the south of Ecuador at the Festival for the Flowering of the Guayacanes, a unique natural spectacle that happens with the first rains of the which we call "Winter", in the month of January.
- Zapotillo, Loja province: The towns of Mangahurco, Bolaspamba and Cazaderos, are surrounded by an extensive forest of guayacanes, the largest in Ecuador. Because it has a dry climate and is located at approximately 300 meters above sea level, it is considered one of the most important dry hot forests in the region, however with the arrival of the new year the winter season begins, and the first rains of the year bring the flowering of these timber, which has been a reason to increase the presence of tourists in the area every year, both for the beauty of the trees and for the characteristic aroma of the flowers of guayacán.
- Jipiro Park: In the Palta language means resting place, it is a children's cultural and recreational park, one of the most important recreation centers in Loja.
Typical food of Loja
Gastronomy of the Province of Loja
- Repe form Loja: The repe is a delicious typical soup that is prepared with banana or green banana, milk, spices, cheese, and coriander.
- Peas with guineo: The pea soup with guineo is a typical dish (similar to the repe, but not exactly the same) prepared with green bananas, peas, onion, condiments, cheese and coriander.
- Pork jerky: The cured pork jerky is one of my favorite typical dishes, it can be found in many restaurants, but they all say that the best jerky is prepared in Catamayo (Latoma). This jerky consists of thin fillets of pork or pork that are seasoned with cumin and garlic, and then dried in the sun, and prepared roasted or fried. The jerky is served with cassava, onion and tomato tan, rice, and a good chili pepper.
- Tamales with seed chile: Loja is known for its exquisite tamales, which are filled with a condumio of chicken or pork, and wrapped in achira leaves. They are served with the infallible seed chile, a delicious slightly spicy sauce that is prepared with zambo (pumpkin / squash) peas liquefied with coriander, peppers (hot peppers), and spices. Tamales are served for breakfast or afternoon coffee.
- Humitas: The humitas lojanas, also sometimes called simply humas, are prepared with tender corn, eggs, cheese, and cream, and cooked in the steamed corn leaves. Like tamales they are served for breakfast or with coffee.
Culture and traditions of the "South Sentinel"
The "tusorio" is one of the ancient customs of the Quilanguenses, nowadays some still practice it. It consists of the haircut to a child of 4 to 6 years old by the Godfather of Baptism, it is customary for each guest to the party and that cuts the "jimba" (braid) of the child, you must deposit a quantity of money for the child's needs; The party costs are borne by the child's parents, the sponsor must leave if he prefers any details for his godson.
History of the province of Loja
The political-administrative structure of the current province of Loja, begins from the dismemberment of Ecuador of Gran Colombia. (Maldonado, Vivar and Vélez, 2005: 21):
On July 23, 1824, the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Republic of Colombia created the province of Loja attached to the department of Azuay, consisting of four cantons: Loja, Zaruma, Cariamanga and Catacocha. Azuay, with Cuenca as its capital; Loja, with its capital the city of Loja.
On May 29, 1861, the government of Ecuador decrees that the province of Loja consist of the aforementioned cantons plus the Jambelí canton, the latter composed of the parish of Santa Rosa, the Jambelí Islands and the lands of the south coast that. They belong to the former Presidency of Quito. Article 10 of the Decree in reference states that the canton Loja is composed of the parishes of La Matriz, El Valle, San Sebastián, Chuquiribamba, San Pedro, Santiago, Saraguro, Gonzanamá, Malacatos, Vilcabamba, Chito, Zumba and the tribes and land included in the Jaén government of the Old Kingdom of Quito. This means that, in the sixties of the nineteenth century, the province of Loja covers practically the entire Southern Region of Ecuador, composed of the current provinces of El Oro, Loja and Zamora Chinchipe.
On August 30, 1869, the Jambelí canton is dismantled from the territory of Loja and the change of the names of the Cariamanga cantons by Calvas and Catacocha by Paltas is decreed. And on April 4, 1897, by resolution of the National Assembly, the Zaruma canton is separated to integrate it into the province of El Oro (created in 1884), leaving the province formed by three cantons: Loja, Paltas and Calvas. Later administrative divisions in the republican era defined the current constitution of 16 cantons.