June 22, 2010

a day in Potosi

On Sunday we visited Potosi. I was very excited because after almost 10 years living in Bolivia {on and off} I was finally going to visit this beautiful city of which I have heard and read so much. It is a two and a half hour drive from Sucre so we went on a day tour.

Potosi was the largest city in the Western Hemisphere during the colonial era, it was also the most populated city in the world. The "Cerro Rico" was mined for silver and tin for over 500 years. The silver mines found in Potosi are the largest ever found in the Western Hemisphere. They became a major commercial hub of the Spanish colonies and resulted in the colonization of the entire stretch between Cuzco, Peru and Potosi, Bolivia.

Mendez Bridge - the limit between Potosi and Chiquisaca
Cerro Rico in the back of the photo

To this day, Potosi still sits on a tremendous treasure in the form of magnificent architecture and history. The city is well known for its cultural content and beautiful paintings. On December 11, 1987, UNESCO declared Potosi a World Heritage Site for the richness of its history and architecture.

early morning arrival in Potosi... icicles and -5 C!

With an altitude of 4,090 meters above sea level, Potosi is a an amazing place to visit, it is the highest city in the world. With this altitude the climate often offers cool weather and sometimes freezing rain. We wore our warmest clothes and still felt very cold in the early morning hours and especially inside the churches.

Potosi was once considered "the best place to live," where ornate cathedrals and mansions were built and the roads were said to be made of silver. Some of the wealthiest and most respected people in the world lived in Potosi. It was a colonial masterpiece.

Love this sign that tells you the altitude - 4,060 meters above sea level.


  1. I am visiting your blog for the first time and it's very inspirational. Your pictures are amazing!

  2. AnonymousJune 23, 2010

    These are fascinating posts: t his and the previous one of Sucre (that blue in the table/chairs is just wonderful and sort of other-wordly). Your pictures say so much; nice to see a totally, and to me unknown, new part of the world.

  3. Thank you! We really enjoyed the visit to both cities! It is a great trip to go with the kids


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