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Potosi Holidays & Travel Guide

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Potosi Holidays Overview

Potosi is located at a height of 4000 meters and is popular as the highest city in the world. It was founded in the year 1546 after rich deposits of silver were found in the historic Cerro Rico and soon became one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the region. The Cerro Rico mines gained popularity as the richest mines in world history and were accounted for a production of almost 60000 tons of silver. According to local folklore, silver had become so common in the city that the mules had to be shoed with them as getting iron into the city was considered to be far more difficult and expensive. El Dorado might have never been found, but one would wonder whether it wasn’t just another name for Potosi and the silver was mistaken for gold.

The enormous wealth also helped in the creation of fascinating architectural wonders, beautiful monasteries and numerous baroque churches, many of which found themselves being listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The silver mines depleted in the 1800s and without the availability of silver, the city soon began to head to a slow economic decline. Today, Potosi is just a shadow of its might and glory of the earlier years, but traces of its wealthy history can still be seen in its beautiful churches, colonial era mansions, splendid gateways and lavish streets.

However, these mines were famous to be death traps for those working in them and it is said that more than 2 million people have perished while mining for silver in these mines. The miners who extract ore from these mines still live in extremely poor conditions and just looking at their state provokes a sense of disbelief. Apart from this one blemish, Potosi is still known to be a real delight for its visitors.

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Potosi holidays - Top Places To Go

1. Cooperative Mines of Cerro Rico
The mines are located in the outskirts of Potosi
What is it? Entering the mines is like a step in to the past. It is a demanding, shocking yet memorable experience. Visitors can experience conditions much the same as when the Spanish used Andean peasants as slave labour to work the wealth from the mines. Guided tours lead groups along the narrow tunnels and up rickety ladders, stopping along the way to chat to the miners at work. Working conditions are primitive, shafts are poorly ventilated and safety provisions barely exist. The miners work by hand, chipping away at the rock and hewing out rough shafts in which to place their dynamite. An occasional blast shakes the tunnels and deafens the ears. Thousands of miners work their way through the mountain with no overall control or plan, chewing their way through bags of coca leaves to fend off hunger and exhaustion, in the hope of hitting a rare vein of silver. Hours of Operation: Phone:



2. Casa Real De Moneda
Calle Ayacucho
What is it? The Casa Real was the Royal Mint House used by the colonial Spanish to turn the silver from the mines into coins to be shipped back to Spain. This is one of Bolivia's best museums, explaining the history of silver production and its influence. Inside are restored presses and wooden minting machines, coins and coin stamps. It also has rooms containing religious art, many by indigenous Andeans, the country's first locomotive and Tiahuanaco artefacts. Hours of Operation: Phone:



Potosi holidays - Top Events


1. Chutillos

From 2007-08-25

To 2007-08-31

What is it? Thousands of locals and an ever increasing number of curious tourists enjoy a variety of music and traditional dance at of Bolivia's most popular festival. The exact origins are not entirely clear but it is heralded as a fuse of pre-Columbian pagan traditions with the religious colonial influences of Christianity, most notably regarded as the feast day of St. Bartholomew. Where is it?




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About This Page

Information on Potosi Holidays, Potosi Hotels, Holiday Packages in Potosi (city breaks, short stays, all inclusive and luxury deals). Also provides links and resources to Air Travel, Flights and Potosi Car Hire Options

Holidays Travel Guide content part sourced rom, copyright © Globe Media Ltd. By its very nature much of the information contained in the travel guide is subject to change at short notice. Travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevent authorities. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to a person as result of information contained above.