Potosí is not only the highest city of its size in the world, but also one of the most beautiful, saddest and fascinating places you'll ever experience. Towering over the city like a giant pink headstone is the 4824-m Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain), originally Sumaj Orcko (Great Mountain). Silver from this mountain made Potosí the biggest city in the Americas and one of the richest in the world, rivalled only by Paris, London and Seville. But Cerro Rico also claimed the lives of countless thousands of indigenous slaves. This painful history still haunts the city and is as much a part of its colonial legacy as the many magnificent old buildings that led it to be declared Patrimonio de la Humanidad (World Cultural Heritage Site) by UNESCO in 1987. The Spanish still have a saying 'vale un Potosí' (it's worth a Potosí) for anything incredibly valuable, but though Potosi's wealth is now only a distant memory, it remains one of Bolivia's greatest attractions and is certainly well worth a visit.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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