Ambato (ämbäˈtō) [key], city (1990 pop. 124,166), capital of Tungurahua prov., central Ecuador, in a high Andean valley. A major commercial and transportation center, Ambato is noted for the variety of fruit grown in its outskirts and is called the "Garden of Ecuador." Sugarcane, grains, and cotton are also raised, and hides are processed. The city produces footwear and textiles. Picturesque Ambato is a favorite resort of the rich. Among its fine buildings is an old cathedral. The city has been frequently damaged by volcanic eruptions and earthquakes and in 1949 was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake.