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city, south-central Ecuador. It lies in an intermontane basin (cuenca) at an elevation of 8,517 feet (2,596 metres) on the Rio Matadero, a tributary of the Rio Paute. The Spanish colonial city was founded in 1557 by the conquistador Gil Ramirez Davalos on the ruins of the former residence of the Inca ruler Huayna Capac, who had conquered the kingdom of Quitu in the 15th century. The historic centre of Cuenca was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.