Lying at the base of a mountain that many claim to be made of silver is the Bolivian town of Potosí. Located in the southern region of this South American country is a locale steeped in history and commerce. One of the world’s highest cities (at 4,090 m / 13,420 ft) it dates back to 1545 CE where it made its mark as a mining town. The mountain of Cerro Rico was an abundant source of silver for years. The silver made Potosí very rich and popular, much to the benefit of the Spanish. It even earned the moniker of “Imperial City”.
Today the mines are still there and used in mining for tin. Visits can be arranged. Sadly the working conditions are horrible for the workers yet many rely on the mine for their livelihood. The influence of the silver through the centuries can be seen in the colonial-era architecture of the town, many which have been well preserved and lending it a very colourful appearance. The long history of Potosí led to it’s addition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.