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Pictures from Bolivia attractions: Salar de Uyuni, Potosi mine, Altiplano nature and heritage. 

The Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.                                                                                                                  © Dany Marique
 

The Salar de Uyuni, also known as Salar the Tunupa, is the largest salt flat in the world with an area of over 10,000 square square kilometers / 4,000 sq mi. It is situated at an altitude of 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above the mean sea level in the Potosi region (southwest Bolivia). It contains large amounts of sodium, lithium (more than 50 % of the world's lithium reserves), potassium, magnesium, and borax.

 

People extract salt by hand. They form mounds which allow the water to evaporate more quickly and make the salt easier to transport.

 

When covered with water in the rainy season, the Salar looks like an immense mirror. As it gradually dries up in the sun, salt cracks and creates hexagonal shapes. 


Potosi mine (Cerro Rico), Bolivia
Potosi mine (Cerro Rico), Bolivia.                                                                                                        © Dany Marique

Potosi is a mining town located in Bolivia near the Cerro Rico (Cerro de Potosi), a mountain made of silver ore that was the major supply of silver for Spain during the period of the New World Spanish Empire. The Potosi mine produced fabulous wealth and Potosi became one of the largest cities in the Americas. In the 16th century, the area was regarded as the world’s largest industrial complex. The coins from Potosí were well known throughout the world.

 

Indian laborers were forced to work for the Potosi mint (Casa de la Moneda). African slaves replaced the mules pushing the mills. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Indians and many African slaves died under the harsh working conditions.

 

After 1800, the silver mines were depleted and tin became the main product of the area. This led to a slow economic decline. The mountain continues still to be exploited to this day. 

The city of Potosi, including the casa Moneda and the monuments of Cerro Rico, is a world heritage site (UNESCO).  


Altiplano nature and heritage, Bolivia.
Altiplano nature and heritage (blended picture), Bolivia.                                                                            © Dany Marique


 

Links

Casa Nacional de Moneda,
museo casa nacional de moneda en potosi.
Potosi
web site in spanish only.

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Pictures from Bolivia attractions: Salar de Uyuni, Potosi mine, Altiplano nature and heritage, images from Bolivia and travel guide to Colombia.