Cuenca, Or Rambae, a city of Ecuador, capital of a province of the same name, in the department of Asuay, 65 m. S. E. of Guayaquil and 175 m. S. S. W. of Quito; lat. 2° 55' S., lon. 79° 13' 15" W.; pop. about 32,000. It is built in a beautiful plain in the valley of Yunquilla, more than 8,000 ft. above the level of the sea, which is well watered by irrigating canals leading from neighboring rivers. The city is regularly laid out, with broad, straight streets, but the houses are mostly low and mean in appearance, being built of adobe bricks. It is the see of a bishop, and has a cathedral, two parish churches, a Jesuit college, four convents, a hospital, a governor's residence, chamber of finance, prison, and other public edifices. There are also extensive sugar refineries and manufactories of cotton cloths, hats, pottery, confectionery, and of a cheese resembling Parmesan. The trade, besides these manufactures, is chiefly in grain and cinchona bark. The climate is agreeable, and the surrounding country produces the various cereals, sugar, cotton, and cochineal. Gold, silver, copper, mercury, and sulphur are found in the vicinity. In the environs are many notable Indian ruins, among which is the great highway of the incas.
South of the city is the mountain of Tarqui, which was selected by La Condamine, Bouguer, and Godin, in 1742, for establishing their meridian line. In 1828 the battle of Tarqui; between the armies of Colombia and Peru, was fought near Cuenca.