Santa Cruz and Potosi, Bolivia
The Jesuit missions of SANTA CRUZ have been declared a cultural heritage of mankind by UNESCO.
The city of Santa Cruz is located in the east of Bolivia. The city was founded on February 26, 1561 by Nuflo Chavez and named Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Located at an altitude of 437 m above sea level. The average annual temperature is 24C and the average annual rainfall reaches 1050 mm.
Santa Cruz is divided into old and new parts. In the old part of the city – straight and well-planned streets, wooden galleries, brick walls and baked clay tiles covering the roofs. The city has not changed for 30 years. The construction of the road connecting it with the rest of the country led to the growth of pastoralism and agriculture, especially the cultivation of sugar cane, cotton, rice, citrus fruits and fruits. Another important factor in the development of the city is the discovery of oil and natural gas fields. Today Santa Cruz is one of the fastest growing cities in South America. The modern city rises around the old quarters.
Massive cutting of trees around the city to free fields for agriculture has increased the erosion of the land by winds. The sand quickly forms large dunes in the southeast of the city, some 8 km high. Technically, a desert is forming there, but in terms of landscape, this desert turns into a stunningly beautiful place. Small lakes of crystal clear water are formed, which are used as pools. This area is called Lomas de Arena.
Kotoka is famous for its Roman Catholic church, the sanctuary of the Virgin of Kotoka, the patroness of Santa Cruz. Kotoka is located 20 km east of the city. On December 8, there is a colorful festival in honor of the virgin and a traditional procession from Kotoka to Santa Cruz for those whose prayers she answered.
Samaipata is an important example of rock art in the Americas. This pre-Colombian archaeological monument is located on the top of a mountain at an altitude of 1950 m. The pre-Inca inhabitants of these places or the Incas themselves carved images of cougars, jaguars, triangular and rectangular seats, a combination of zigzags, crosses, niches and other indeterminate drawings.
The fortress of Samaipata is located 120 km west of Santa Cruz, on the way to Cochabamba. In the 16th century, Jesuits established missions in most of the Chiquitan regions of Santa Cruz. The Jesuits taught the locals cotton weaving, pottery, carpentry, music, and agriculture, and introduced cattle, coffee, and peanuts. They achieved economic influence during the Spanish Empire and the help of the king meant a lot in those days. Many Indians lived in peace and tranquility, provided with food and clothing. Each missionary was a father or mother to the locals. While groups of Indians were organizing uprisings against the Spaniards, the Indians of the Jesuit missions were learning to play the violin.
Many old Jesuit missions have been restored in the towns of San José de Chiquitos, Concepción, San Miguel, San Rafael, Santa Ana and San Ignacio. Airplanes fly to some of the towns and almost all can be reached by dirt road. Mission churches are some of the most beautiful in Bolivia.
POTOSI has been declared a Natural and Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
In 1650, Potosí was the largest city in the Americas, with a population of 160,000, and one of the world’s major population centers, renowned for its silver mines, magnificent colonial architecture, gold-plated churches and theaters that staged the finest European plays, and for its extravagance. and vices. In 1553, years before the arrival of the first Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, Potosi received the title of Imperial Villa from King Carlos V of Spain.
Today, echoes of the brilliant colonial past are still visible in the churches of the city, with their baroque facades, in private houses with wooden balconies hanging over narrow streets, in museums, among which stands out the Mint, which was used by the Spaniards to cast coins, and also as a fortress and a prison since its construction in 1572. The city is located at the foot of Cerro Rico on a platform at an altitude of 4100 meters. Mines were dug into the rock mass by “mitaios” (local laborers working long hours a day), imprisoned inside the rock in inhumane conditions. They saw their sweat turn into rivers of silver that flooded Spain and other European countries with wealth and luxury. Everything that Pachamama (Earth Mother) hid for her sons fell into the hands of strangers. There were 5 thousand mines in Cerro Rico, and together they formed a labyrinth more intricate than the Cretan one. 8 million workers during the colony died mining silver in these tunnels. Cerro Rico is an example of South American generosity towards the conquistadors. One of them said that “with the silver mined in the mountains of Potosi, you can build a bridge from Potosi to Spain.” Los Ingenios del Rey, near Potosí, are the remains of silver processing factories. These mills were powered by water from the lagoons around the city, which also provided water to its inhabitants. Many of those lagoons still supply the city with water. that “with the silver mined in the mountains of Potosi, it is possible to build a bridge from Potosi to Spain.” Los Ingenios del Rey, near Potosí, are the remains of silver processing factories. These mills were powered by water from the lagoons around the city, which also provided water to its inhabitants. Many of those lagoons still supply the city with water. that “with the silver mined in the mountains of Potosi, it is possible to build a bridge from Potosi to Spain.” Los Ingenios del Rey, near Potosí, are the remains of silver processing factories. These mills were powered by water from the lagoons around the city, which also provided water to its inhabitants. Many of those lagoons still supply the city with water.