La Paz

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Nuestra Señora de La Paz
La Paz[1] (Spanish)
Chuquiago Marka or Chuqiyapu (Aymara)
La Paz (English)
View of La Paz from Av. del Ejército in 2008. At the back, The Americas Bridge.

Flag

Seal
Motto: "Los discordes en concordia, en paz y amor se juntaron y pueblo de paz fundaron para perpetua memoria"
La Paz is located in Bolivia
Nuestra Señora de La Paz
Location of La Paz within La Paz Department
Coordinates: 16°30′S 68°09′W / 16.5°S 68.15°W / -16.5; -68.15Coordinates: 16°30′S 68°09′W / 16.5°S 68.15°W / -16.5; -68.15
Country Bolivia
DepartamentLa Paz
ProvincePedro Domingo Murillo
FoundedOctober 20, 1548 by Alonso de Mendoza
IndependenceJuly 16, 1809
Government
 • MayorLuis Antonio Revilla Herrero [2]
Area
 • City472 km2 (182 sq mi)
 • Urban3,240 km2 (1,250 sq mi)
Elevation3,640 m (11,942 ft)
Population (2008[3])
 • City877,363
 • Density1,861.2/km2 (4,820.6/sq mi)
 • Metro2,364,235
Time zoneBOT (UTC−4)
Area code(s)2
HDI (2010)0.672 – high[4]
Websitewww.lapaz.bo
 
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Nuestra Señora de La Paz
La Paz[1] (Spanish)
Chuquiago Marka or Chuqiyapu (Aymara)
La Paz (English)
View of La Paz from Av. del Ejército in 2008. At the back, The Americas Bridge.

Flag

Seal
Motto: "Los discordes en concordia, en paz y amor se juntaron y pueblo de paz fundaron para perpetua memoria"
La Paz is located in Bolivia
Nuestra Señora de La Paz
Location of La Paz within La Paz Department
Coordinates: 16°30′S 68°09′W / 16.5°S 68.15°W / -16.5; -68.15Coordinates: 16°30′S 68°09′W / 16.5°S 68.15°W / -16.5; -68.15
Country Bolivia
DepartamentLa Paz
ProvincePedro Domingo Murillo
FoundedOctober 20, 1548 by Alonso de Mendoza
IndependenceJuly 16, 1809
Government
 • MayorLuis Antonio Revilla Herrero [2]
Area
 • City472 km2 (182 sq mi)
 • Urban3,240 km2 (1,250 sq mi)
Elevation3,640 m (11,942 ft)
Population (2008[3])
 • City877,363
 • Density1,861.2/km2 (4,820.6/sq mi)
 • Metro2,364,235
Time zoneBOT (UTC−4)
Area code(s)2
HDI (2010)0.672 – high[4]
Websitewww.lapaz.bo

Nuestra Señora de La Paz (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈnwes.tɾa seˈɲoɾa ðe la pas]; English: Our Lady of Peace; Aymara: Chuquiago Marka or Chuqiyapu) is the seat of government of Bolivia, as well as the departmental capital of the La Paz Department, and the second largest city in the country (in population) after Santa Cruz de la Sierra.[3] It is located in the western part of the country in the department of the same name at an elevation of roughly 3,650 m (11,975 ft) (the city is built on steep hills) above sea level, making it the world's highest de facto capital city, or administrative capital, with Quito being the highest legal capital.

While the official capital of Bolivia is Sucre and it is the seat of Justice, La Paz has more government departments, hence the "de facto" qualifier.[5] The city sits in a "bowl" surrounded by the high mountains of the altiplano.

As it grows, the city of La Paz climbs the hills, resulting in varying elevations from 3,200 to 4,100 m (10,500 to 13,500 ft). Overlooking the city is towering triple-peaked Illimani, which is always snow-covered and can be seen from several spots of the city, including from the neighbor city of El Alto. As of the 2001 census, the city had a population of 877,363.[6] La Paz Metropolitan area, formed by the cities of La Paz, El Alto and Viacha, make the most populous urban area of Bolivia, with a population of 2.3 million inhabitants and surpassing the metropolitan area of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.[7]

Contents

History

Government Palace of Bolivia in downtown La Paz

Founded in 1548 by the Spanish conquistadors at the site of the Native American settlement, Laja, the full name of the city was originally Nuestra Señora de La Paz (meaning Our Lady of Peace). The name commemorated the restoration of peace following the insurrection of Gonzalo Pizarro and fellow conquistadors four years earlier against Blasco Núñez Vela, the first viceroy of Peru. The city was later moved to its present location in the valley of Chuquiago Marka.[8]

Control over the former Inca lands had been entrusted to Pedro de la Gasca by the Spanish king (and Holy Roman Emperor) Emperor Charles V. Gasca commanded Alonso de Mendoza to found a new city commemorating the end of the civil wars in Peru; the city of La Paz was founded on October 20, 1548.

In 1549, Juan Gutierrez Paniagua was commanded to design an urban plan that would designate sites for public areas, plazas, official buildings, and a cathedral. La Plaza de los Españoles, which is known today as the Plaza Murillo, was chosen as the location for government buildings as well as the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Spain controlled La Paz with a firm grip and the Spanish king had the last word in all matters political. In 1781, for a total of six months, a group of Aymara people laid siege to La Paz. Under the leadership of Tupac Katari, they destroyed churches and government property. Thirty years later Indians laid a two-month siege on La Paz – where and when the legend of the Ekeko is set. In 1809 the struggle for independence from the Spanish rule brought uprisings against the royalist forces. It was on July 16, 1809 that Pedro Domingo Murillo famously said that the Bolivian revolution was igniting a lamp that nobody would be able to turn-off. This formally marked the beginning of the Liberation of South America from Spain. Pedro Domingo Murillo was hanged at the Plaza de los Españoles that night, but his name would be eternally remembered in the name of the plaza, and he would be remembered as the voice of revolution across South America.

In 1825, after the decisive victory of the republicans at Ayacucho over the Spanish army in the course of the Spanish American wars of independence, the city's full name was changed to La Paz de Ayacucho (meaning The Peace of Ayacucho).

Legislative Palace of Bolivia.

In 1898, La Paz was made the de facto seat of the national government, with Sucre remaining the nominal historical as well as judiciary capital. This change reflected the shift of the Bolivian economy away from the largely exhausted silver mines of Potosí to the exploitation of tin near Oruro, and resulting shifts in the distribution of economic and political power among various national elites.[9]

Geography

The city in winter, with Illimani in the background.

Located at 16°30′0″S 68°08′0″W / 16.5°S 68.133333°W / -16.5; -68.133333 (−16.5, −68.1333), La Paz is built in a canyon created by the Choqueyapu River (now mostly built over), which runs northwest to southeast. The city's main thoroughfare, which roughly follows the river, changes names over its length, but the central tree-lined section running through the downtown core is called the Prado.

The geography of La Paz (in particular the altitude) reflects society: the lower areas of the city are the more affluent areas. While many middle-class residents live in high-rise condos near the center, the houses of the truly affluent are located in the lower neighborhoods southwest of the Prado. And looking up from the center, the surrounding hills are plastered with makeshift brick houses of those less economically fortunate.

The satellite city of El Alto, in which the airport is located, is spread over a broad area to the west of the canyon, on the Altiplano. La Paz is renowned for its unique markets, very unusual topography, and traditional culture.

La Paz is located in the valleys of the Andes, and is closer to the Eastern split of the Altiplano region. Therefore, it is closer to the famous mountains such as the Illimani (guardian of La Paz), Huayna Potosi, Mururata, and Illampu. On the Western side of the Altiplano divide, about an hour to the West of the La Paz, is the site of the tallest mountain in Bolivia and 9th tallest mountain in the Andes, the Sajama Volcano. In July 1994, an earthquake rated at 8.2 struck just 200 miles north of La Paz, the largest earthquake since the Sumbawa earthquake of 1977. Part of the water supply is derived from glaciers, which are becoming a less reliable source of water.[10]

Districts

The city is divided into seven main districts, called "Macro Distritos", which at the same time are divided into 21 small districts or zones.[11] The city is commonly divided by the people into three main zones: South, Central and North.

Main neighborhoods and zones

La Paz skyline from the "Via Balcón".
Buildings in San Jorge, on the 1st District (Cotahuma).
Skyline of Sopocachi, in the 1st District.
Exhibition of Images of La Paz "Outdoor Art", Southern District, Obrajes

Climate

La Paz has an unusual subtropical highland climate (Cwc with areas of ETw, according to the Köppen climate classification) with subpolar oceanic characteristics (the average temperature of the warmest month is lower than 10 °C). Some parts of the city, such as the place where the statistics below were taken, have an alpine or tundra climate with a winter dry season. The whole city has humid summers, dry winters and cool to chilly temperatures throughout the year.

Owing to the altitude of the city, temperatures are consistently cool throughout the year, though the diurnal temperature variation is typically large. The city has a relatively dry climate, with rainfall occurring mainly in the slightly warmer months of November to March.

The two cloudiest months of the year; both in late summer - February and March, both receive a low daily average of 5.0 hours of sunshine. Conversely, the two sunniest months of the year; both in winter - June and July, both receive an abundant daily average of 9.0 hours of sunshine.

The seasonally uneven distribution of the year's annual precipitation, often results in destructive mudslides experienced in summer, due to the copious amount of precipitation typically observed throughout the season. The wettest month is January while the driest month is June, the city receiving a monthly average of 130 mm (5.1 in) and 5 mm (0.2 in) of precipitation respectively.

Climate data for La Paz, Bolivia
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)27
(81)
20
(68)
26
(79)
30
(86)
30
(86)
23
(73)
22
(72)
21
(70)
23
(73)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
30
(86)
Average high °C (°F)12
(54)
13
(55)
13
(55)
13
(55)
13
(55)
12
(54)
12
(54)
13
(55)
13
(55)
14
(57)
15
(59)
14
(57)
13
(55)
Daily mean °C (°F)8
(46)
8
(46)
8
(46)
7
(45)
6
(43)
5
(41)
5
(41)
6
(43)
7
(45)
8
(46)
8
(46)
8
(46)
7
(45)
Average low °C (°F)3
(37)
3
(37)
3
(37)
2
(36)
0
(32)
−2
(28)
−2
(28)
−1
(30)
0
(32)
2
(36)
3
(37)
3
(37)
1
(34)
Record low °C (°F)0
(32)
0
(32)
−2
(28)
−2
(28)
−11
(12)
−11
(12)
−10
(14)
−10
(14)
−7
(19)
−3
(27)
−3
(27)
−5
(23)
−11
(12)
Precipitation mm (inches)114
(4.49)
107
(4.21)
66
(2.6)
33
(1.3)
13
(0.51)
8
(0.31)
10
(0.39)
13
(0.51)
28
(1.1)
41
(1.61)
48
(1.89)
94
(3.7)
575
(22.64)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)21181695224991118124
Mean monthly sunshine hours1861411551802482702792482101861801862,469
Source #1: Weatherbase [12]
Source #2: BBC Weather (sunshine,and precipitation data only).[13]

Colonial Architecture

The city of La Paz has a consistently decreasing volume of colonial buildings, mostly centered around the vicinity of the Plaza Murillo. Due to a lack of funds and the inability of property owners to pay for restorations to colonial buildings, many have been torn down, or are in a dilapidated state. As historic buildings are more expensive to keep, land owners find it less of a burden to construct more modern buildings as opposed to keeping the old ones. Although there has been an increasing number of projects and propositions to restore some of the city's colonial buildings, the future of these historic edifices remains uncertain.

Economy

Central Bank building.

The economy of La Paz has improved greatly in recent years, mainly as a result of improved political stability. Due to the long period of high inflation and economic struggle faced by Bolivians in the 1980s and early 1990s, a large informal economy developed. Evidence of this is provided by the markets found all around the city. While there are stable markets, almost every street in the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods has at least one vendor on it. La Paz remains the principal center of manufacturing enterprises that produce finished-product goods for the country, with about two-thirds of Bolivia's manufacturing located nearby. Historically, industry in Bolivia has been dominated by mineral processing and the preparation of agricultural products. However, in the urban centre of La Paz, small plants carry out a large portion of the industry. Food, tobacco products, clothing, various consumer goods, building materials, and agricultural tools are produced. "The tin quotations from London are watched in La Paz with close interest as an index of the country's prosperity; a third of the national revenue and more than half of the total customs in 1925 were derived from tin; in short, that humble but indispensable metal is the hub around which Bolivia's economic life revolves. The tin deposits of Bolivia, second largest in the world, ... invite development."

Sports

La Paz is the home of some of the biggest football teams in Bolivia.

However, these three teams play the majority of their games in the city stadium, Estadio Hernando Siles. It is host to several other teams that play in the first and second divisions such as: Mariscal Braun (2nd), Always Ready (3rd), Municipal (3rd) and Chaco Petrolero (3rd).

La Paz hosts the national football team and international games.

Education

The city hosts some of the most important universities of the country:

Tourism

Tiwanaku Square in front of the football stadium

La Paz is an important cultural center of Bolivia. The city hosts several cathedrals belonging to the colonial times, such as the San Francisco Cathedral and the Metropolitan Cathedral, this last one located on Murillo Square, which is also home of the political and administrative power of the country. Hundreds of different museums can be found across the city, the most notable ones on Jaén Street, which street design has been preserved from the Spanish days and is home of 10 different museums.

The home of the Bolivian government is located on Murillo Square and is known as "Palacio Quemado" (Burnt Palace) as it has been on fire several times. The palace has been restored many times since, but the name has remained untouched.

Main sights

Museums and cultural centers

Churches and cathedrals

Metropolitan Cathedral
San Francisco Church

Others

Local festivities

Transportation

Airport

Waiting area in El Alto International Airport for domestic flights.

La Paz is served by El Alto International Airport (IATA code: LPB), which is situated eight miles (14 km) south-west of La Paz. At an elevation of 4,061 metres (13,323 ft), it is one of the highest major airports in the world. Airport facilities include a bank, bars, car rentals, restaurants, free wi-fi internet and duty-free shops. The runway has a length of 4,000 metres (13,123 ft) (or 2.5 miles). Additionally, it is the second airport in the Western Hemisphere, and the third airport in the world, to successfully pass the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Universal Security Audit Program (USAP).

Buses

Bus Station

La Paz Bus Station, previously bus and train station, was built by the French architect Gustave Eiffel. The main gateway for transporting intercities bus travel in La Paz with several daily departs to all the main Bolivian cities. The city is connected by road with the city of Oruro where you can access the cities of Sucre, Potosí and south of the country. There is an important road that connects the road to Oruro in the cities of Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. There are also access roads to paviementados Copacabana and Tiwanaku to the west, near the Lake Titicaca, which continues until the city of Cuzco via the border town of Desaguadero. There are also roads north to get to The Yungas crossing the Andes Mountains.

The bus terminal has daily departures to major cities. There are also trips to other cities in countries like Chile and Peru. For departures to smaller cities and towns within the department, using informal stations located in Villa Fatima (departures to Los Yungas, Beni and Pando, Upper San Pedro (outputs Apolo) and near the General Cemetery (outputs Copacabana and other nearby cities to Lake Titicaca, and also Tiwanacu, Desaguadero where you can go to Peru).

Communication

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

La Paz is part of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities[14] from October 12, 1982 establishing brotherly relations with the following cities:

Additionally, agreement was reached by Twin Cities with:

In June 2008 it signed a twinning agreement with the City of Spain Zaragoza, Spain.

La Paz belongs to Merco Ciudades, signed by 180 urbes of the member countries of Mercosur,[18] since 1999.

Gallery

Curiosities

See also

References

  1. ^ Breve Historia de nuestro país (pág.3), Bolivian Government Official Website(Spanish)
  2. ^ "¿Quién es Luis Revilla?". Luchoporlapaz.com. http://www.luchoporlapaz.com/luis-revilla/hoja-de-vida.html. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  3. ^ a b "World Gazetteer". World Gazetteer. http://world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gcis&lng=en&des=wg&srt=npan&col=abcdefghinoq&msz=1500&geo=-38. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  4. ^ "W.K. Kellogg Foundation: Overview – Bolivia: La Paz – El Alto". http://ww2.wkkf.org/default.aspx?tabid=75&CID=345&NID=61&LanguageID=0.
  5. ^ "The Highest City in the World —". Infoplease.com. http://www.infoplease.com/askeds/highest-city-world.html. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  6. ^ Observatorio Bolivia Democrática
  7. ^ "La Paz – profile of geographical entity including name variants". World Gazetteer. http://world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=1262838217&men=gpro&lng=en&des=wg&geo=-730&srt=npan&col=abcdefghinoq&msz=1500&pt=c&va=&geo=-1048596. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  8. ^ "La Paz". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2008. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/326435/La-Paz. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  9. ^ "La Paz," Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2008. Archived 2009-10-31.
  10. ^ Shukman, David (2009-12-04). "Glacier threat to Bolivia capital". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8394324.stm. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  11. ^ "ATLAS – Del Gobierno Municipal de La Paz" (in Spanish). 2006. http://www.ci-lapaz.gov.bo/ES/Planificacion/Atlas%20del%20Municipio%20de%20La%20Paz/html/mapas.htm. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  12. ^ "Historical weather for La Paz, Bolivia". Weatherbase. http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=10258&refer=&units=metric. Retrieved January 2011.
  13. ^ BBC Weather:La Paz, BBC. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  14. ^ "Declaración de Hermanamiento múltiple y solidario de todas las Capitales de Iberoamérica (12-10-82)" (PDF). http://www.munimadrid.es/UnidadWeb/Contenidos/EspecialInformativo/RelacInternac/RRII/HermanamientosyAcuerdos/Files/hermanamiento_UCCI.pdf. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  15. ^ Madrid city council webpage "Mapa Mundi de las ciudades hermanadas". Ayuntamiento de Madrid. http://www.munimadrid.es/portal/site/munimadrid/menuitem.dbd5147a4ba1b0aa7d245f019fc08a0c/?vgnextoid=4e84399a03003110VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=4e98823d3a37a010VgnVCM100000d90ca8c0RCRD&vgnextfmt=especial1&idContenido=1da69a4192b5b010VgnVCM100000d90ca8c0RCRD Madrid city council webpage.
  16. ^ "Descentralized Cooperation" (in (Portuguese)). Prefeitura.Sp. http://www2.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/secretarias/relacoes_internacionais/ingles/descentralized_cooperation/sister_cities/0001. Retrieved 2010-01-31.[dead link]
  17. ^ "International Relations – São Paulo City Hall – Official Sister Cities". Prefeitura.sp.gov.br. http://www.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/cidade/secretarias/relacoes_internacionais/cidadesirmas/index.php?p=1066. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  18. ^ Mercociudades. "Mercocities: member cities". Mercociudades.org. http://www.mercociudades.org/index.php?module=htmlpages&func=display&pid=8. Retrieved 2010-01-31.

External links