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Tag: Church

Ojsani Chapel

About four miles from the Cruze Okoruro (the unmarked intersection of the old road with the new), or some 12 miles from Tomarapi, you arrive at the lovely little chapel of Ojsani.  According to Philipp Schauer, Ojsani Chapel was built in 1854 by Mariano Pacaje, an indigenous man.  The chapel was originally dedicated to Maria […]


A wilancha is an Aymara blessing ceremony.  In this case, the blessing was for the preservation work on half dozen colonial era chapels the U.S. Government was funding.  The wilancha is carried out by sacrificing an animal.  The ceremony is accompanied by a celebration including a feast, music and dancing.  Tatyana and I attended this […]

Cerro Pirapi and Pirapi Chico Necropolis and Fortress

About halfway between Caquiaviri and the Bolivia/Chile border at Charaña are two hills on which the ancients chose to build a necropolis and a fortress.  I haven’t had the chance to fully explore these hills, but even the short visits I have made to this area have been very interesting. Even without climbing the hills you […]

Curahuara de Carangas, the Sistine Chapel of the Altiplano, and Santa Barbara

Curahuara de Carangas is the largest town in the area, and host to two churches, one of them renowned as the Sistine Chapel of the Altiplano for its spectacular murals.  It is also one of your few choices for provisions and accommodations in this area of the altiplano.  Curahuara was a population center long before […]

Jesus de Machaca Church and Archaeological Sites

The church in Jesus de Machaca looks quite different from other churches on the altiplano.  It also looks quite out of place for such a large and sumptuously decorated church to stand in such a small town in such an apparently poor region.  With its whitewashed facade and blocky look this church is an example of late renascence architecture.  German Ambassador […]

Tiwanaku Church

If you are going to Tiwanaku, you should certainly visit the town and its church.  It is certainly worth noting that most of the stone used to build the town, and all of that used in the church, was taken from the Tiwanaku ruins.  For modern sensibilities, that would be a crime, but I suppose […]

Laja and It’s Church

Laja was founded as La Paz on October 20, 1548 by Alonso de Mendoza.  It lasted for three days, as the city was transferred to its current location on October 23.  Laja remained an important location and the first cathedral in Bolivia was built in the mid-17th century.  It is an imposing stone building with […]

La Capilla de Sepulturas

The Church of Sepulturas, officially “Señor de San Salvador de Sepulturas,” makes a nice stop on the road from Oruro to Cala Cala.  The town is named for the chullpas (Incan and pre-Incan tombs) which were common in the area, but which are pretty much gone now.  It is now probably best known for the […]

Tour Guide of Iglesias Rurales: La Paz y Oruro

Despite its focus on chapels and its brevity, German Ambassador Philipp Schauer’s guide to rural churches (Guía turística de/Tour guide of Iglesias Rurales: La Paz y Oruro, by Schauer, Philipp, Teresa Gisbert) is my favorite printed guide to the Altiplano.  With lots of maps and photos, Spanish and English directions to, and descriptions of the churches, […]

Getting to Sajama National Park

The Sajama National Park was the first protected area created in Bolivia (in 1939), and it’s easy to see why.  The park is a spectacular swath of altiplano, centered on the Nevado Sajama, the highest mountain in the country.  It includes pampas and bofedales, lagunas and glaciers, hot springs and geysers, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, flamingos, […]