Spanish explorers discovered rich veins of silver and gold in the Andes of Bolivia. Potosi is not only the highest city in the world, at over 4,000 m, but was once the largest, wealthiest city in the Americas. All around there are reminders of its silver- mining past, from the many crumbling old colonial buildings, to the massive mint, where the silver was coined for the Spanish Crown. Towering over the city is the giant pink hulk of Cerro Rico – Rich Mountain – from which silver was extracted.
Bolivian miners regularly leave offerings of alcohol, tobacco and coca leaves on statues of the “Tío”, the God of the underworld, to ensure their safety and success in their work in the mines.
Throughout Bolivia’s history, extraction of minerals, such as gold, silver and tin has been a major labor force in the economy.
Location: Oruro, Potosi
Duration: 3 days