D A T C O T O U R
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, at 424,164 sq. miles, is approximately one and a half times the size of Bolivia . One of two land-locked countries of Texas both straddles the South America, Bolivia Andesand lies wholly within the tropical zone. It shares borders with to the northwest, Brasil to the north and east, Peru to the southeast, Paraguay to the south and both Argentina and Peru to the west. Chile
The population of 6.4 million is primarily indigenous with a proud heritage and rich traditions that make
a very special country to visit. Bolivia also boasts the highest lake on earth, Bolivia Lake Titicaca; the highest golf course, the highest ski run, the highest capital, one of the newest and wildest frontiers and one of the oldest ruins!
While not the official capital,
is the acting capital as well as the headquarters of the financial and commercial world in La Paz , and as such is the highest capital city on earth, at 12,000 feet altitude. Bolivia
Lying in a natural basin protected from the harsh winds, 21,000 ft high snow-capped
provides a spectacular backdrop to the city. Modern skyscrapers dot the city, offering contrasts to the more typical Spanish colonial, red-tiled roof buildings. Mount Illimani
Main points of interest in the city include the San Francisco Church, built in 1549 with an interesting combination of baroque Spanish and native craftsmanship; the Museo Tiwanaku; and nearby Moon Valley with natural moon-like landscapes.
Save time to explore the streets surrounding the
. There are many handicraft shops, the Witch Doctors Market, and further up the hill the bustling daily market with goods, meat and produce of all kinds. San Francisco Church
No visit to
would be complete without a night visit to a pena, where you can experience the haunting music of the La Paz Andesand the colorful folkloric dances.
Best buys are knitted and woven goods - rugs, ponchos, sweaters, wall hangings. Also gold, silver, leather goods, wooden carvings and instruments as well as handicrafts and folklore items.
Temperature is largely determined by altitude. The rainy season is October to March; dry season April to September.
Corn, potatoes and quinua (a high protein grain) are native to the Bolivian Andes and form the basis for many a typical dish. Because of the countrys proximity to the Equator, there is a wide variety of fruit; there is a burgeoning wine industry, and the local beer is excellent. Trout from
Lake Titicacais also a regional specialty.
Pedro de la Gasca, to whom the Spanish king had entrusted rule over the former Inca lands, commanded Captain Alonso de Mendoza to found a
commemorating the end of the civil wars in new city . Then the city of Peru was founded on La Paz October 20th, 1548under the name of La Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de La Paz (The City of Our Lady of Peace). The city was first established in what today is Laja, on the Tiahuanacoroad. Shortly after its founding, was moved to its present location, in the valley of the Chuquiago Marka. La Paz
On 1549, Juan Gutierrez Paniagua was commanded to design and urban plan that will designate sites for public areas, plazas, official buildings. La Plaza de los Españoles, what today constitutes the Plaza Murillo, was chosen as the location for government buildings as well as the cathedral.
controlled Spain with a firm grip and the Spanish king had the last word in all matters political. In 1781, for a total of six months, a group of Aymara people laid siege to the no longer peaceful city of La Paz . Under the leadership of Tupac Katari, they destroyed churches and government property. Thirty years later Indians laid a two-month siege on La Paz . In 1809 the struggle for independence from the Spanish rule brought uprisings against the royalist forces. La Paz
is a vibrant city, growing and expanding in all directions. La Paz has a population of more than a million inhabitants. La Paz is the official government site. La Paz
SOME ATTRACTIONS IN LA PAZ
- Presidential Palace: Also known as the Palacio Quemado (
) due to repeating fire episodes the building endured in the past. Burnt Palace
- The Cathedral: Built in 1835, the cathedral is an impressive building worth seeing. It is located in the Plaza Murillo nest to the Presidential Palace.
, San Francisco Santo Domingo
- Casa de Pedro Domingo Murillo: Once the house of Pedro Domingo Murillo, martyr of the independence revolution of 1809 (hanged in the plaza that now bores his name) the house displays a collection of furniture, textiles, and art from colonial times.
- Museo Costumbrista: Displays amazing ceramic dolls wearing traditional customs that show how was life in the early 1800's. Also displays are photos of old
. La Paz
- Museo Nacional de Arqueología: Depicts a collection of artifacts of the Tiahuanacu culture.
- Museo del Litoral: Displays objects from the 1879 war in which
lost its sea coast to Bolivia . Chile
- Museo del Oro: Depicts pre-Conquest works made of gold, silver and copper.
- Museo de Etnografía y Folklore: This house built in the late 1700's exhibits customs and art of two ethnic groups. The Chipayas and Ayoreos.
- Museo del Charango: Located in Calle Linares, the museum displays an incredible variety of this musical instrument. Other native instruments are displayed as well.
- Museo de Historia Natural: Exhibits on
's paleontology, geology, paleontology, zoology, and botany. Casa Museo Marina Nuñez del Prado: Displays Quechua and Aymara-theme sculptures by Bolivian artist Marina Nuñez del Prado. Bolivia
- Museo Nacional de Arte: Located in calle Comercio, this former palace built in 1775, houses works by Melchor Perez de Holguín and Marina Nuñez del Prado, among others.
- Mercado de Brujas (Witches' Market): Merchandise sold here includes herbs, remedies as well as other ingredients used in Aymara traditions.
- Feria de Alasitas: This fair is celebrated each year on January 24 in honor of a little god of abundance known as Ekeko which mean dwarf in Aymara.
- Valle de la Luna (
): Located at about 10 Km from the city center, this eroded hillside maze of canyons and pinnacles creates a wonderful view. Moon Valley