UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Bolivia
Calling all history enthusiasts! Your next travel destination should include the beautiful country of Bolivia. Bolivia is surrounded by Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile and boasts 7 UNESCO Sites. Add all 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bolivia to your bucket list.
- City of Potosí (1987)
- Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos (1990)
- Historic City of Sucre (1991)
- Fuerte de Samaipata (1998)
- Tiwanaku: Spiritual and Political Centre of the Tiwanaku Culture (2000)
- Noel Kempff Mercado National Park (2000)
- Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System (2014)
Though all sites are intriguing, I will focus on 4 of the cultural sites that can be built easily into a trip to Bolivia.
#1. City Of Potosí
The city of Potosí, founded in 1546, is perched high in the Bolivian Andes. After the discovery of silver in Cerro Rico (“Rich Mountain”), Potosí emerged as one of the wealthiest cities in South America. Today, visitors watch as miners extract precious metal from the earth through a similar technique that was used during the Spanish colonial era. Take a city tour of Potosí, and explore its preserved colonial architecture. Visit the Royal Mint, the Cathedral as well as the Street of Seven Turns, which was constructed to protect early settlers from the strong winds.
#2. Historic City Of Sucre
The city of Sucre, founded in 1538, is the administrative capital of Bolivia. Located in the south-central part of Bolivia, Sucre sits at an altitude of 2,810 meters (9,214 feet). Situated high, the city maintains a cool, temperate climate year-round. The history of the city is closely tied to Potosí. Many families acquired wealth through the silver trade and used Sucre as a retreat.
Sucre has numerous important museums, well-preserved religious buildings, and landmarks. Its architecture is an excellent example of the mix of local traditions and styles from Europe. On a city tour, visit the House of Freedom Historical Museum, the Convent of La Recoleta Museum and its viewpoint. Then, explore the facades of the churches of San Lazaro and Santo Domingo, the main historical monuments and Bolivar Park.
#3. Fuerte De Samaipata
El Fuerte de Samaipata (“Fort Samaipata”), is a pre-Columbian ceremonial site. It rests in the eastern foothills of the Bolivian Andes at an altitude of 1,650 meters (5,413 feet). Samaipata translates to “The Height to Rest” in Quechua. Built around 1500 BC, the original purpose of the structure remains unknown. Today, it is a popular tourist destination for foreigners as well as Bolivians. Spend hours exploring this mysterious site, still standing strong with its sandstone rock platform.
While the Chané, a native ethnic group believed to have started construction on the site, also includes buildings from the Inca and Spanish cultures. If you have time, take a full day excursion to Samaipata, to visit the mysterious site of the fort itself, the Las Cuevas waterfalls, and the archaeological museum in Samaipata.
#4. Tiwanaku – Spiritual And Political Centre Of The Tiwanaku Culture
Tiwanaku is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site near the southern shores of Lake Titicaca. If you’re an archaeology or history enthusiast, you do not want to miss this place! Venture to the west of La Paz, and take a guided tour through Tiwanaku. Listen to a local expert and learn about one of the oldest American civilizations and its temples. Travelers often enjoy seeing how the indigenous Aymara people lived in the surrounding area, especially in Laja.
Written by Christina Schranz, Jan 23, 2017, on South America Travel News.