The Plaza de la Independencia, colloquially known as Plaza Grande, is where Quito’s daily life and historic and national symbolism collide. Spiked with palm trees and dotted with locals going about their business, the central element of the square, and an icon of the city, is the monument to the independence heroes of August 10, 1809. This is the date celebrated as the First Cry of Independence of the Royal Audience of Quito from the Spanish monarchy, perhaps the most important event in the formation of the modern country. At the heart of both the political and religious ambits of the city, the square is worthy not only of a pass-through, but of a few hours spent soaking in Quito life.