Potosi is the highest city in the world. Situated at a dizzying height of 13,123ft (4,000m) on the flanks of Cerro Rico, it once hosted the source of more than half the silver produced in the Americas.
Steeped in history, the city showcases a magnificent ensemble of ornate baroque buildings, including San Lorenzo Church and Casa de la Moneda, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Although its silver glory days are long gone, Potosi is still a fascinating city to explore
Greedy Spanish colonists once boasted how Cerro Rico produced enough ore to construct a solid silver bridge that could easily span the distance from Potosi to Madrid. Glancing down from this former 'rich hill' today, exhausted and honeycombed with mines, Potosi bares little resemblance to the incredible wealth it once possessed. Although tainted with the death of countless indigenous slaves exploited during the boom, miners continue to earn a living from the few silver veins left in the surrounding mountains today. If the idea of touring the cooperative mines induces claustrophobia, the Casa Real De Moneda (Royal Mint House) has an excellent exhibition documenting the history of Potosi's silver production alongside the original minting machines used to press coins eventually shipped back to Spain.