Potosi: squeezing blood from turnips

Potosi Travel Blog

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Did absolutely nothing, so I will describe the town and its history.  Potosi is a city of roughly 150,000 people, but it doesn´t feel that big.  The streets are tiny, one way, rock paved roads that weave between 2-3 story buildings that share walls, so you feel like a mouse in a maze.  The streets are busy at most times of the day and night with buses that barely make the sharp turns down the narrow streets and impatient taxis.  The town stretchs along the mountain side with the most impoverished homes near the base of the Cerro Rico and the rest stretching back towards the valley.  Overlooking the city is the infamous Cerro Rico (or Sumaj Orko in Quechwa) Mountain which means rich mountain.  500 years ago a llama herder was looking for a llama on the mountain.  He started a fire and saw that the ground melted silver streams.  The spanish soon heard about this place and set up a colony here, enslaving the natives and also bringing in african american slaves as well.  At one time, Potosi was the richest city in Latin America and had as many people as London or Paris.  Yet, as the silver in the mines has now almost run out, the town is far from the wealthy down it once used to be.  Miners now dig primarily for lead, copper, and other non-precious metals.  Besides the mine, the towns economy is mainly based on tourism, with mine tours, hostesl, restaurants, and tourist shops selling woven bags, blankets, and other goods.
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photo by: Biedjee