History And Traditions In Sucre
Explore Sucre's rich history, colonial heritage and modern day local life in the company of a local expert.
From Sucre you can take a full day guided tour to the old mining town of Potosi, once one of the world's richest cities during the colonial era silver boom. Traces of former grandeur are still visible in the streets of Potosi, whilst a visit to the infamous Cerro Rico reveals the magnitude of the fortune extracted from here and the extraordinary human suffering experienced in doing so.
The road out of Sucre follows different valleys, until reaching the Pilcomayo River, from where you can see the an old steel pending bridge called Puente Arce. We then start going to higher altitudes - rising more than 1,500 m in one hour on the "Cuesta del Retiro" - famous for its steeples. The journey continues through the highlands until you reach Potosi.
We first visit the old Mint, which shows a fascinating insight into life as it was 300-400 years ago during the silver boom. The Casa de la Moneda was used to process the wealth which came flowing out of Cerro Rico and today the massive wooden press remains, where donkeys and slaves laboured to rotate the wheel. There is also a large collection of paintings, which show an interesting blend of Catholicism and traditional beliefs. The indigenous people have managed to weave their Gods of nature into the catholic images, where the Virgin Mary is depicted as being their own God, Mother Earth or 'Pachamama'.
The second part of the day is spent visiting the Cerro Rico, the "Rich Mountain" that dominates the town and has been mined for so long that it is completely covered with the spoils taken from the mines. Sadly the numbers of lives lost has not ceased the continued search for precious metals, which continues today under primitive conditions. Although the seams are essentially exhausted, miners can still be found bent double scuttling along the honeycomb of alleyways and tunnels that run into the heart of the mountain. They work chewing coca leaves and make offerings to their image of "Devil", the "Tio" in a unique appeal for protection from evil through appeasement.
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