La Paz, the city that touches the sky
La Paz is the capital city of Bolivia. It is often referred to as the city that touches the sky because it is built on the slopes of hills, in high level above the sea. It is located and built over a large alti-plano: the city levels range somewhere between 3100 and 4500m above the level of sea. It is the administrative capital of Bolivia, but in papers, the real capital is Sucre, something that most people ignore, as Sucre is not equally renowned.
It was founded back in 1548 by the Spanish conquistadores who reached the shores of South America. The first name of the area was Laja and featured the first Native American settlement in the area. The original name was though Nuestra Senora de la Paz, which translates to Our Lady of Peace and is dedicated to the establishment and restoration of peace in the area. La Paz, as Bolivia, is the most Indian city of the continent, where numerous authentic Native American settlements still exist. Visitors have the chance to hear the original language spoken in Bolivia, the Quechua, and see the traditions and habits of the local Indians as once were.
La Paz is also known due to its close proximity to a large number of monuments and ruins. It is very close to Lake Titicaca and the famous Machu Picchu in Peru. Although in a different country, numerous excursions take place every day from the city to these monuments. Copacabana is also a famous destination of the trips that start there. Many Bolivians have started visiting the nearby monuments, as until a few years ago, poverty and lack of means didn’t allow them to travel at all.
Tourists who want to visit La Paz are advised to do so from April to October as winters can be harsh in this altitude.
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