Splendor, luxury and ostentation, in an imperial village blessed by majestic hills of which infinite tons of mineral are extracted. Waste, parties and banquets in the fine old houses, people beating their breasts in the silent churches; only death for the Indians condemned to the labyrinths of dark tunnels. Stories, myths and legends... Silver deliriums in the city of Potosi.
During the colonial time, the silver extraction in the Cerro Rico of Potosi, transformed this city into the biggest in America with more than 160,000 inhabitants; then, everything was opulence and exquisite churches and elegant mansions were built and conspicuous architects and celebrated artists arrived.
People say that with the silver extracted from the bowel of the Cerro Rico or Sumaj Orcko (majestic mountain), it could have been possible to build a gigantic bridge to connect Potosi with Madrid; but, they also say that this fabulous work could have been made with the bodies of the enslaved indians that died in the tunnels.
In 1553, the city of Potosi -capital of the department of the same name in the Southwest of Bolivia- received the title of imperial city on behalf of Carlos V, King of Spain. At that moment of the history it was difficult to foresee the decline of the splendid village that at the present time, preserve only a few gleams of its splendid past.
Silent and solitary streets in Potosi (4,070 m.a.s.l.). Old houses, narrow sidewalks. At the end, the image of the Cerro Rico dominates the highland; even now dozens of miners get lost in its tunnels and mine entrances, but nothing is as bad as it used to be. There are no longer deliriums of silver in this old Imperial Village, that in 1987, was declared Cultural Patrimony of the Humanity by UNESCO.