The proud Potosi stands at more than 4000 m height and on the bases of reddish mounts. The history of its inhabitants is inexorably linked with silver, this metal that provoked a demographic and economic boom in the city during three centuries, as well as its decline and poverty that came next when it became rarer. The richness of the region’s basements gave it the nickname of “imperial city”, envied by kings like Charles V. The expression “Vale un potosi!” (it costs a potosi!), from Miguel de Cervantes, had finished with the reputation of the queen of the American cities. It represents the symbol of the New World and the Golden Age of the Spanish conquest. In parallel, Potosi is the exact symbol of slavery for the local population who were exploited for the richness and murdered for the war efforts and the luxury of the Spanish monarchy. Nowadays, conditions within miners are still working, could afraid the bravest persons and the region’s GDP is one of the lowest in the country. Nevertheless, the created richness left to the city a precious inheritance of baroque architecture; 33 churches, colonial houses with massive appearance, the Casa de la Moneda… Declared World Heritage Site in 1987, those ruins reflecting a lavish past cover the actual city, today smaller, with a fragrance from the past, where life in mines and in altitude are even more difficult for those who live on an ongoing basis.

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