pwkyh79s3sghlsnuc4ylv5maiexs01 Cerro Rico's mines

Cerro Rico's mines

The richest silver mine in the colony

•type:

•interest:

CULTURAL

MINE

•location:
POTOSÍ CITY
•country:
BOLIVIA
 

Cerro Rico's mines

GALLERY - 

by:
ASKromnitsky - Public Domain
by:
Cristian Ordenes - Creative Commons Attribution
Rodoluca - Creative Commons Attribution.
by:
Oscar Castillo - Public Domain
by:
Oscar Castillo - Public Domain
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Mhwater - Public Domain
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ABOUT - 

Cerro Rico's mines

The Cerro Rico mines (Rich Hill) contained the most important silver veins of the world during the Spanish colonial time. It was the “Beautiful Hill” of the Spanish conquerors, the “Sumaq Urcu” of the Incas or the “Cerro Rico” of the Imperial Villa of Potosi. It is located to the south of the city of Potosi, in Bolivia, and its presence is unavoidable because it is observed from any point of the Villa. It has a height of 4,800 meters above sea level, although its original elevation was 5,200. Centuries of mining have made it smaller and threatened its final collapse.


Together with the Villa of Potosi and the Potosi Mint, it was included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO. The Pailaviri mine, which has been operating uninterruptedly since 1545, now owned by the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is open to tourists and is divided in 17 levels, which are accessed by an elevator that goes up to 240 m deep. There you can admire a maze of tunnels, galleries and wells that resemble an enormous anthill. It is the oldest and nearest mine to the city of Potosi and at its deepest levels the temperature fluctuates around 45º C. The entrance to the mine is guarded by the "Uncle", a representation of the demon to whom offerings are made to extract the minerals of Cerro Rico. Tourism is becoming a major source of income and many former miners show visitors the interior of the mines where they used to work.


A local legend tells that the silver veins of Cerro Rico were discovered by chance, in 1545, by the indigenous shepherd Diego Huallpa. A group of Spaniards led by Captain Juan de Villarroel took possession of the Cerro after confirming the finding. The immense wealth of the Cerro and the intense exploitation to which the Spaniards subjected it, made the city of Potosi to grow in an astonishing way. The fame of its wealth was so great that Miguel de Cervantes quotes it in his worldwide renowned book “Don Quixote”. But the indigenous population, meanwhile, was suffering from subhuman exploitation. It is possible that at least 15,000 indigenous people have died in the exploitation of silver between 1545 and 1625.

 

PRACTICAL - 

Cerro Rico's mines

ADDRESS OR VENUE

OPENING HOURS (or DATE if it is an event)

National Route 1, Cerro Rico, Imperial Villa of Potosi, Plurinational State of Bolivia.

  • From Monday to sunday.

  • Open every day of the year, 24 hours a day, because in Cerro Rico miners continue working by extracting tin.

  • The tourist visits last from 3 to 5 hours on average, starting at 08h00 the visit to the mine ends at 13h00.

  • There is no regulated schedule for sightseeing.

DISTANCE TO THE CLOSEST MAIN CITY

Potosí city - 9km - 6miles

DISTANCE TO CLOSEST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

La Paz city´s airport - 545km - 339 miles

PROFILE

• Interest:

CULTURAL

• Kind:

URBAN

• Min. visit time hours:

3

PLACE

• Class:

4090

• Altitude meters:

MINE

• Type:

13420

• Altitude feet:

• Max. visit time hours:

4

RELATED ACTIVITIES

RELEVANT CATEGORIES

VISITS:

  • Panoramic sightseeing.

  • Guided visits.

  • Experiential journey.

CULTURAL:

  • Attending folkloric events.

SPORTS:

  • Walking

  • Trekking.

SPECIALIZED:

  • Geo interpretation.

ADVENTURE:

  • Espeloelogy.

  • Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site.

  • Cultural National Heritage.

ENTRANCE FEE

  • The cost varies between 50 and 100 bolivianos due to the diversity of tours offered to enter the mines, which can only be entered in the company of a miner who acts as a guide.

WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU

• Use a cell phone camera to avoid damage to a normal camera because of the large amount of dust that exists in the environment of the mine.

• Additional mask due to the large amount of dust in the galleries.

• The mining equipment such as helmet, overalls and lamp are delivered by the tourist company you hire.

DO YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?

 

Cerro Rico's mines

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