Posted by: HelenRortvedt | 24 November 2008


The palindromic capital of the department of the same name is not often on the “must see” Bolivian itinerary, but, it is well worth a visit. While it is home to an infamous Carnaval celebration each February, the rest of the year, the streets of Oruro are nothing but tranquilo.

I had the privilege of having Diana show me around. Oruro was her regional city and she got to know it pretty well in our short 5 months as volunteers. Oruro is higher than La Paz (slightly lower than Potosi) and smack dab in the middle of the true altiplano.

From the top of the hill that dominates the vista to the west, you can literally see for miles and miles and miles. It is one of the more extraordinary things I have seen in Bolivia. And at this point, I feel like that is really saying something.

Oruro has a similar energy to that of Potosi, and has a long standing mining tradition as well. But a distinct lack of tourists in Oruro make it feel that much more authentic, that much more gritty, that much more raw…

I only wish I had been able to spend more time there…


Cool mural painted by local school kids depicting the diversity of cultures that come from Bolivia in the heart of South America.


The Cathedral in homage to the Virgin of Sorcaya in Oruro shows how deep rooted mining is in the Orureño culture.


There is actually an entrance to what was once a functioning mine inside the Cathedral. It is now a museum. You can smell the fumes coming up from below. Pretty unreal.


Oruro, in all her late afternoon, altiplano glory…





  1. I now have a place image to go with our diablada mask from Oruro. It makes you wonder what comes from deep in the mine into the cathedral!?

  2. Those are some serious ups in the last photo. Less gravity up there? A quickly-removed stool? Photoshop? Nice work.

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