La Ciudad de Nuestra de la Paz (the city of our Lady of Peace) was founded on October 20, 1548 by Captain Alonzo de Mendoza. Mendoza, a conquistador from Spain, believed La Paz offered the perfect place to establish a city because it would bring them wealth through gold. It also offered a key link between Lima and Potosí, a city in southern Bolivia built around the richest silver mine in the world. Sadly, the arrival and consequent colonization of Bolivia profoundly changed the livelihoods of the ingenious population who still feel the effects of land redistribution, class segregation and wealth distribution today.
What the Spanish colonization left behind is a city filled with an eclectic mix of European colonial and South American architectural influences. As the oldest settlement in South America, La Paz offers some of the most unique examples of traditional Spanish Colonial architecture found. However, like so many developing countries many of La Paz’ buildings lie in a state of disrepair and lack of preservation reminding me so much of Cuba.
Come take a walk with me through the streets of La Paz to take a peak at her architectural beauty and charm. Close you eyes and imagine what a fresh coat of paint would do!
Traditional Spanish Colonial churches
An estimated 95% of Bolivians are Roman Catholics and the churches are glorious representations of their faith. The indigenous population have converted to Catholicism but also incorporate some of their native beliefs into their faith.
Just like Cuba! Run-down buildings in need of renovation, paint and repair
For some reason, I love taking pictures of these exact kinds of buildings. I find the layers of paint to make me question the history of each building. It fascinates me.
The buildings of La Paz are just as colorful as her markets offering a burst of Color
A conglomerate of electrical wires all coming together in one gigantic nest is a common site in La Paz, reminding me of many cities in Central and South America
The pretty Spanish-styled buildings that are undiscovered jewels perched above cobblestone streets is so European
Just like Havana, I wondered what La Paz was like in colonial times before hundreds of years of neglect destroyed the once magnificent buildings. There are still some beautifully restored buildings but not enough.
Stay tuned…I will take you to the oldest street in all La Paz in my next post on Bolivia.