Potosi Travel Guide
Potosi © Judith Duk
UNESCO declared Potosi a World Heritage Site because of its rich history and colonial-era Spanish architecture. Potosi is known as the Imperial City and is situated at the foot of Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain), famed for its wealth of silver deposits. It was because of these rich deposits that the city was founded by the Spanish in 1545. Potosi went on to become the largest city in the Americas, but fell into sharp decline once much of the silver had been plundered.
The architecture is undoubtedly Potosi's main attraction, with a distinct Spanish influence evident in the houses and beautiful churches. There are an astounding 80 colonial churches in the city, filled with art and artefacts from the city's long history. Arguably the most notable of these are the Convent of San Francisco and the Convent of Santa Teresa.
A visit to the city is nicely complemented by a tour of one of the cooperative mines of Cerro Rico, where miners, often working in appalling conditions, chip away at the rock walls in the hope of riches to come. Though very interesting, the mines are emotionally harrowing and there are physical risks involved, but exploring them remains a very popular activity for adventurous visitors.
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