POTOSÍ – THE IMPERIAL VILLAGE
Sitting at 3,900 meters above sea level (12,795 feet), Potosi is located in the south-eastern part of the country, one of the coldest parts of Bolivia.
Potosi was founded by Spanish conquerors on 21November 1561.It first belonged to the “Viceroyalty of Peru,” until 1776. From that moment on it was incorporated by the Spanish crown to the new “Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata.”
During colonial times, Potosi was very famous because of its spectacular development of silver mines. Potosi, in reality, was the richest city in the Viceroyalty. It was so rich in silver, in fact, that very lucrative businesses are still referred to as “worth a Potosí.”
Potosi’s mining boom collapsed in the 20th century, and its mining industry was hit so heavily that hundreds of thousands were forced to abandon the city.
Due to its significant architecture and historical integrity, Potosi was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
Potosi’s churches and colonial buildings are well worth a visit. The most famous are La Catedral, characterized by a gothic style; El Monasterio de Santa Teresa; and the historical La Casa de la Moneda, the first mint in the Americas.
The most famous site is, indeed, the Potosi mine “Cerro Rico”. This old mine, once incredibly rich in silver, remains a symbol of the city—and still functions today.
The city of Potosi is surrounded by lagoons, geysers, volcanoes, hot springs, and sulfur mines thanks to its proximity to the famous Salar de Uyuni.
Every year, in August, San Bartolome’s festival attracts national and international visitors, and the presence of traditional dancers creates a warm atmosphere.