POTOSI THE RICH, THE POOR

(Version française plus bas)

Potosi is a little treasure 4,000 meters high in the Bolivian cold. The town was founded when local Inca Diego Huallpa discovered, by chance, a silver mine.

Soon enough the Spanish arrived, built beautiful churches, convents and buildings and brought most of the silver back to the homeland. It is said the mineral extracted over centuries would have been enough to build a silver bridge from Potosi to Spain…

Even though Potosi is not as big of a hub as it used to be during the Spanish conquest, colonial architecture remains. But Potosi is bigger than its pretty downtown area. It is also poor Bolivians living in shacks behind a mud wall, near the railroad.

Detail of San Lorenzo de Carangas front porch

San Lorenzo de Carangas

Quijarro street

Chapel Nuestra Señora de Jerusalén

Inside the chapel Nuestra Señora de Jerusalén

Cathedral of Potosi

San Bernardo church

Simon Bolivar- considered a hero throughout all South America

The wall behind which a whole different Potosi

A shack

Lesser known area of Potosi

POTOSI LA RICHE, LA PAUVRE

Potosi est un petit trésor d’architecture perché à 4000 mètres dans le froid bolivien. La ville fut fondée quand un Inca du coin, Diego Huallpa, par chance découvra une mine d’argent.

Rapidement les Espagnols sont arrivés sur place, ont bâti de belles églises, couvents et bâtiments et ont ramené la plupart de l’argent en terre patrie. On dit que le minerai extrait aurait suffit pour construire un pont d’argent entre Potosi et l’Espagne…

Même si Potosi n’est plus la plaque tournante qu’elle était durant la Conquête espagnole, l’architecture coloniale demeure. Mais Potosi n’est pas que son joli quartier du centre. C’est aussi des Boliviens pauvres vivants dans des cabanes derrière un mur en terre près de la voie ferrée.

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