Potosi Silver Mines

The city of Potosi, Bolivia is a beautiful slice of life in a Bolivian city. This is a city that captures the visitors' imagination and draws him into its tempting lure. Take a Bolivia tour and get lost in the spellbinding lull of life on the altiplano, or plateau.

If one looks a map of Bolivia, one sees a land locked and undeveloped, rugged and vast. It is for this reason the well-preserved monuments contrast starkly against the natural wonderland, inspiring Bolivia travel to all parts of the country. Bolivia's natural beauty is well and alive.

Arm yourself with a sense of adventure, a walking map and set out to explore the secluded quarters and shaded alleyways of Potosi, Bolivia. Like the well preserved Incan ruins, these stones, some 500 years old, are still in use, are very much part of Potosi, and is enjoyed by the visitor, who appreciates the old world ambiance of this historic city.

Potosi, Bolivia was second in line to having the name La Plata, as Sucre was once called. This community thrived here because of the large amounts of silver ore deposits. Cerro Rico, (or rich mountain) filled with silver, looks down upon the city, a constant reminder of its claim to fame. Unfortunately, hundreds of Indians died in the silver mines under the Mita system, which made them essentially slave labor - and they were treated and reagarded as such. By 1800, the mines of Potosi were exhausted, and tin became the primary industry in Potosi.

Get a glimpse into what life might have been like in the old days with a visit to the Museo de la Casa de la Moneda. Colonial era painting and exhibits on metallurgy and coin making add life and story to this very important city in Bolivia. Potosi is replete with colonial era treasures, which include domes, columns, and sculpted gates that decorate these important buildings, most of which are usually open to the public. Potosi is filled with rich sumptuous buildings, which contradict the austere feeling of most of this city.

San Benito church is an architectural treasure. Begun around 1700, its carved wood filigrie and incredible Byzantine like domes are a spectacular sight. San Lorenzo and La Torre de la Compañía are some of the best examples of the exquisite and finely crafted houses of worship, created in true Spanish flair. The churches of the Saints Santo Domingo, Santo Augustine and San Barbara are also open to visitors. Bolivia tours made by every kind of visitor should include a visit to fascinating, historic Potosi.

No visit to Potosi would be complete without a visit to Sumaj Orcko, whose Pailaviri silver mines are still important and regularly visited for its natural beauty. As with any other highly desired resource, Potosi evolved into a city that revolved around the silver as long as it was there to be mined. At its height in 1650, over 150,000 people lived here, and it would be safe to say that it was the most populous city in the world at the time.


The Santa Teresa Museum has equally stunning displays of religious splendor but in a gallery setting. Enjoy the descriptions and take in the historical information to gain a real understanding of the history within these walls and enrich your Bolivia travel experience. As with each city in Bolivia, Potosi is unique and distinguishes itself as a place unlike any other.



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