11°C
Potosí, Bolivia
light rain
Humidity 71%
  • Low Temp. 10.5°C
  • High Temp. 10.5°C

Potosí

Potosi is home to the historic silver mine Cerro Rico de Potosí or Sumaq Urqu which is popularly conceived of as being 'made of' silver ore, was famous for providing vast quantities of silver for Spain during the period of the New World Spanish Empire.

It also has the National Mint of Bolivia which is where silver was converted into coins in the 1500’s. It is currently a comprehensive Museum that houses 20 galleries that cover everything in Potosi’s rich history, from Bolivian weapons to archaeology and, of course, the minting process.

It is said that enough metal was extracted from Cerro Rico to build a bridge of silver from South America to Europe, and the mine has left an indelible mark on Bolivian culture due to the cruel toll it took on indigenous slaves.Its vast reserves turned the nearby city of Potosi into the most populous in the Americas in the 17th century, with some 120,000 inhabitants — more than London, Paris or Madrid at the time.

The visit is led by a specialist and a miner who will lead you into the mine where you will learn about the different mining processes that have been employed since the colonial era. We will also visit the miner market. We will explore the city’s famous (500 year-old) colonial streets and architecture. Today about 15,000 miners work the site every day in round-the- clock shifts, and conditions have not changed much since Spanish conquerors brought slaves to work here nearly 500 years ago.