Potosi Journals

The Silver Memories of Potosi

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A February 2007 trip to Potosi by SeenThat

Kunti Mine Photo, Potosi, Bolivia More Photos
Quote: Sitting on a silver mountain, Potosi was the biggest and richest city in the Americas; nowadays, it’s a memorial to the slaves who died mining.

The Silver Memories of Potosi

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Overview

By the Central Plaza Photo, Potosi, Bolivia
Quote:
At an altitude of 4070 meters above the seal level, Potosi is – amazingly – almost four hundred meters above Lhasa, Tibet’s capital and thus probably is the highest city in the world. Actually the miners’ neighborhoods climb Cerro Rico well above the 4200 meters line. It was founded in 1545 following the discovery of silver in Cerro Rico by the Spaniards and by the end of the eighteenth century, more than a million people lived there; the biggest and most glamorous city in the Americas. At the 19th century silver production waned and decline began. Nowadays, hardly 120 thousand Quechua people live in poverty, trying to scratch out enough minerals to live a miserable life. Little of the form...Read More

Café Internet Candelaria

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Restaurant

Casa de la Moneda Photo, Potosi, Bolivia
Quote:
LocationPlaced a few meter from the Casa de la Moneda and the Central Plaza, few establishments in Potosi can compete with Candelaria in their location.SetupHowever, location is not everything; accessibility matters too. Here, Candelaria fails miserably due to a very steep and shaky staircase leading from the street to the establishment. Elders and people with disabilities would have a hard time - or would simply fail – to enter the restaurant; moreover, considering the establishment is well over four-kilometers above the sea level, the task becomes even harder.Once inside, things get better. Five crowded basic tables are covered with colo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 2, 2008

Casa Real de Moneda

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Attraction | "Casa Nacional de la Moneda"

Casa Real de Moneda Photo, Potosi, Bolivia
Quote:
Maybe the best museum in Southern Bolivia, the National Coining House is where the silver extracted from the nearby mines was transformed into coins. It is next to Potosi’s central plaza; its construction began in 1572 and the center worked until 1767 using rudimentary technologies and slaves work. In 1773, the structure we see nowadays was inaugurated on the original – albeit expanded - site; the upgrade included facilities to create high quality coins. Built of stone and brick in Baroque style is the most magnificent colonial structure in town after the main churches.The ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 15, 2007

Casa Real de Moneda
Calle Ayacucho
Potosi, Bolivia

The Churches of Potosi

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Story/Tip

Cathedral Photo, Potosi, Bolivia
Quote:
Little is left of Potosi’s eighteenth century splendor. The main clue to it is the incredible amount of magnificent colonial churches, which surpass many times the needs of the small modern town. Downtown Potosi alone hosts sixteen colonial churches in different styles, including Mestizo, Baroque, Renaissance and Neoclassic. A single day would not be enough to study them, though a quick survey can give a good idea of how the town looked a quarter of millennia ago.The most interesting churches are within walking distance from the central Plaza 10 de Noviembre. On the plaza itself is the wonderful Catedral de Potosi, which was at the time of my visit hiding behind scaffoldings due to a massi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 15, 2007

Cerro Rico: A Visit to the Kunti Mine

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Story/Tip

Kunti Mine Photo, Potosi, Bolivia
Quote:
A somber landmark atop a base of almost pure silver, the Cerro Rico (Rich Hill) casts its dark shadows over Potosi. Dark clouds over its summit cry the memory of endless slaves who died while mining the metal for their masters. One of the worse shows of inhumanity ever seen, it cost the lives of eight million slaves, as much as the actual Bolivian population.The summit reaches 5183 meters above sea level and was discovered by the Spaniards on April 1, 1545. Since then and until the nineteenth century, over fifty-six thousand tones of silver were extracted. In 1952 the mines were seized by the government and slavery was officially abolished. In 1985, after the extraction was not rentable an...Read More