Since we had enough resting time, the last few days we spent in La Paz were used for doing touristic activities… which are definitely not lacking here. Founded in 1548 by the good old Conquistadors, La Paz still shows many signs of colonial times. One of them is the Calle Jaen, the best preserved colonial street in town. Nowadays, it mostly features museums and gift shops:
We visited three museums, but our favorite one was the house of Don Pedro Domingo Murillo, a historical figure of Bolivia that once lived along this street. It was cool because the house was barely untouched from the early days, and you could still see old house decor… which was extremely religious back then! For me, it seemed creepy to surround yourself with such things:
Not too far from the Calle Jaen, there are also numerous old buildings, like this really cool church we found (sorry, can’t recall the name of it):
We tried some new local food, one of them being humintas:
And some horribly-tasting junk food, bought at a Mega Burguer (that’s how they spell the restaurant name):
We also passed by the funniest butcher shop ever, Bambi! A huge FAIL hahaha
Since we were in the market, I discretely tried to take some photos of local ladies, which are still fascinating to me:
Beside that, we went to visit the Valle de la Luna or moon valley in English. Located about 10 km from La Paz, it is an area where erosion has worn away the majority of a clay mountain creating a weird desert filled with stalagmites. Apparently, this natural work of art will dissapear in 50 years due to rain and other climate-related things. You could walk around on paths in between the “stalagmites”.
We even saw a viscacha, a rabbit with long tail, walking around the moon valley. It was surreal to see such a creature in the wild!!
The next day, we went to visit the ruins of Tiwanaku, an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site dating as early as 1500 BC. It was a very powerful center, which at one point in the 600’s to 800’s covered around 6.5 square km’s and had from 285,000 to 1,482,000 people. It is quite mysterious why the city was abandonned, but scholars suggest that a significant drop in precipitation occurred in the Titicaca lake (their main source of water), which was followed by a great drought. In 1445, the city was conquered by the Incas; the local language became Quechua and they started worshiping the sun.
After the museum, we entered the sacred site:
The history of the place is impressive, but unfortunately the ruins were in really bad shape. Most of the ruins were pillaged and some blocks were even used to build other things, like churches! It was still really cool to see, but I had expected much more.
The most famous monument here is the gate of the sun, which has one of the most ancient pre-colombian gods, Viracocha, engraved on top of it:
So, that’s everything for our stay in La Paz! We are now 1000 meters lower, in Sucre, and loving it. More news latör!
May 22nd, 2011 at 10:47 pm
cool, un viscacha… tu savais que c’était ça que j’avais de tatoué sur l’intérieur de l’avant-bras??