A maze of colonial streets, wrapped in modern city and surrounded by mountains. Spread across a spectacular Andean valley, Quito is situated 2850m (9350ft) above sea level and has snowcapped volcanic peaks. While the old town sparkles with indigenous character and recently restored colonial splendor, the 'new town' screams hotels, high-rises and too-trendy cafes.As a Unesco World Heritage Site, building in the old town has been strictly controlled since 1978. The city is a flush with pride - 2006 marked the final instalment of its huge restoration project. Buildings have been spruced up, historic theaters have been revived and the once-sketchy streets are now safe.