We visited Potosí, the silver city of Bolivia

The city of Potosí is, perhaps, one of the most famous in Bolivia. Its silver mine made it for centuries the most precious treasure that the Spanish Crown had on the other side of the world. Not surprisingly, there is a famous phrase, "worth a potosí", which we still use when we want to prove how valuable something is.

Its beauty, as well as the importance it has had for the history of the world, made in 1987 it will be declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Let's discover its charms.

Brief history of Potosí

Potosí Mine

The territory of Potosí has ​​millennia of occupation. Although, the most significant times that can be highlighted are the arrivals of the Inca Empire and the Spanish Crown. Precisely, it will be at this time when it merges as a city, specifically, with Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany.

Although Potosí was created as a mining seat, its growth was very fast and in a few years there were a multitude of houses built and Spaniards settled. Thus, it went from being a dry and rugged place to a rich and opulent city that in 1561 began to be called Villa Imperial de Potosí.

What to visit in the city of Potosí

The city of Potosí It is within the Andean Baroque route for the wonders it houses in this style. While there are many more monuments that you can not miss. We recommend that you visit the following, you will not regret it.

Church of the Society of Jesus

Tower of the Church of the Company / Mariano Mantel Flick.com

It is one of the main samples of the Andean baroque that can be found in the city of Potosí. It is characteristic for its great miscegenation, as it has European architectural elements and decoration with Christian and Andean imagery.

Its tower is one of the emblems of the city. It has the shape of a triumphal arch with a splendid combination of arches and columns.

Mint of Potosí

Courtyard of the Mint

Next to the church we can find the Mint. Today is Museum and Historical Archive. Its foundation took place in 1572 by the viceroy Francisco de Toledo. It was a minting center that eventually replaced the Mint of Lima.

However, the building we can visit today is later. It is an impressive building of almost 8000 . It highlights its five imposing courtyards, although the main one stands out. This is because he has a mask of the god Bacchus who smiles. They say the bad tongues that laugh at the Spaniards in their withdrawal from the city.

The church of San Lorenzo de Carangas

Church cover - Dan Lundberg / Wikimedia Commons

It seems that it was one of the first to be built in the city of Potosí. It was built in 1548, years before the city was declared a town. Highlights its beautiful cover of mestizo baroque style. Look at its imposing Solomon columns crowned by two female figures of mermaids. When the current cathedral was built, it became an Indian parish.

The basilica cathedral of Our Lady of Peace


Located in the main square of the city, it dates from the 19th century. It was done due to the intermediation of the Spanish friar and architect Manuel Sanahuya, on the site of the old cathedral.With her the neoclassical style is introduced in the city. Inside it retains the best examples of religious relics made with precious metals.

The San Antonio de Padua Museum

It is in a convent founded in 1547 by Fray Gaspar de Valverde. It is believed that it was the first church that was built in Potosí and preserves the oldest cloister in Bolivia. In addition, inside is the image of the Christ of the Vera Cruz. It is a crucified of indigenous features that was made in 1550 and is considered, like the cloister, the oldest image of Bolivia.

The convent also has an excellent collection of colonial paintings. It also has an impressive viewpoint from which to observe the entire city of Potosí.

The Barefoot Carmelite Monastery

It was built under the invocation of San José. Its foundation was made in 1685 and today it is the headquarters of the Santa Teresa Museum. Thanks to its impressive art collection It is considered one of the best museums of sacred art in Latin America.