Our last day in Bolivia!
Copacabana Travel Blog› entry 15 of 25 › view all entries
After breakfast we boated back to Copacabana, visited the famous Dark Virgin and its church, did some local shopping and a strolled the town.
Copacabana is the main Bolivian town on Lake Titicaca, from where boats leave for Isla del Sol, the sacred Inca island. The town has a large 16th-century shrine, the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana. Our Lady of Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia. The town is a destination for tourism in Bolivia and is also known by its famous Basilica, home of the Virgin of Copacabana, its trout, and its quaint atmosphere. The town has approximately 6,000 inhabitants. Copacabana's religious celebrations, cultural patrimony, and traditional festivals are well known throughout Bolivia.
The name is derived from the Aymara kota kahuana, meaning "view of the lake". A village of about four hundred people, indigenous Aymara chiefly, on the shore of Lake Titicaca, province of Omasuyos (Manco Kapac), in northern Bolivia. It is the location of a famous sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Carmel, and of a convent of Franciscan Recollects. During the wars of independence it was despoiled of most of its rich ornaments and gifts, and ruthless plundering by faithless custodians in the course of political disturbances has further contributed to impoverish it. The edifices, originally very handsome, are in a state of sad neglect. It is a shrine for pilgrims from Bolivia and southern Peru, and on 6 August the feast of its patron saint is frequented by thousands. Before 1534 Copacabana was an outpost of Inca occupation among dozens of other sites in Bolivia. The Incas held it as the key to the very ancient shrine and oracle on the Island of Titicaca, which they had adopted as a place of worship, yielding to the veneration in which it stood among the Aymara from time almost immemorial. There were at Copacabana minor shrines, in which the ceremonial of the Incas was observed with that of the original inhabitants. When the Spaniards first visited the Islands of Titicaca and Loati, in 1534 and 1538, the Andean Cosmovision was abandoned and the Dominicans made Copacabana the centre of their missions. Secular priests then replaced them at the instigation of the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, and finally the mission and its annexes were entrusted to the Augustinians in 1589.
In 1582 the grandson of Inca ruler Manco Kapac, struck by the sight of the statues of the Blessed Virgin which he saw in some of the churches at La Paz, tried to make one himself, and after many failures, succeeded in producing one of excellent quality, and it was placed at Copacavana as the statue of the tutelar protectress of the community.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana is a 16th century Spanish colonial shrine that houses the image of the Virgin of Copacabana. It is located in the town of Copacabana, Bolivia on the shores of Lake Titicaca near the Peruvian border in the region known as the Altiplano. Our Lady of Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia.
Constructed at the foot of a small steep hill, sacred to the Inca and known as the Temple of Sun, it remains as one of the two principal sacred places of importance to the indigenous peoples and Catholics alike. The other is the Virgin of Urkupiña near Cochabamba, Bolivia.
In front of the Basilica dozens of cars lined up in the streets to be blessed by the local catholic priest and by the local Inca Shaman. At around 11:00 we departed to the Peruvian border, signed the necessary paperwork and finally entered Peru, our final destination.