Ambato (full form, San Juan de Ambato) is a city located in the central Andean valley of Ecuador. Lying on the banks of theAmbato River, the city also sits beneath several tall mountains. It is the capital of the province of Tungurahua, at an elevation of 2,577 meters above sea level. The population is 180,000 (INEC, 2010), making it the tenth most populous city in the country. It is variously nicknamed "City of Flowers and Fruit", "Cradle of the Three Juans", and "Garden of Ecuador." Inhabitants of Ambato are called Ambateños. The current mayor of Ambato is Fernando Callejas Barona.
The city has been fully or partially destroyed by earthquakes several times in its history, most recently on 5 August 1949 when the city and its cathedral were almost completely levelled. The city was rebuilt in the two years following. In honor of the tenacity of the resident Ambateños, the city celebrates the Festival of Fruits and Flowers during Carnival in February. Today, the Festival of Fruits and Flowers is one of the most important in Ecuador.
The city is referred to as "Cradle of the Three Juans" as it was the birthplace of three notable Ecuadorians: Juan Montalvo, a noted essayist of the 19th century, Juan León Mera, the author of the country's national anthem, and Juan Benigno Vela, a key figure in the Ecuadorean independence movement. The city is well known for its production of fruit, tanneries, food products and textiles. It also serves as a main transportation hub, especially for travelers moving south on the Pan-American Highway