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Category Archives for "Bolivia"

Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in Bolivia.

Mercado de Hechicería – La Paz, Bolivia

A Witchcraft Market That Promises Peculiar Finds

La Paz’s daily Witchcraft Market is a fascinating place to visit: Herbal tea fusions and homeopathic folk cures as old as the Andes themselves abound, and there are coca leaves, figurines, snakeskins, and slabs of llama lard to be burned in offerings to the gods, amulets to guarantee a long and happy sex life, and other strange things. Integral to the native Kallawaya traditions of magic and healing is the local Aymara belief that their world is populated with benevolent and male­volent spirits – and many that can swing either way, depending on how they’re treated.

The market has lately begun to accommodate the growing number of gringo curiosity seekers, and booths selling colorful alpaca sweaters and woven textiles understandably do a brisker business than the vendors pushing dried llama fetuses. But the proud chola women (a reference to the native Bolivian dress) still sit among their witchcraft goods like queens, unfailingly wearing two braids fas­tened behind them and bowlers adopted from the British many generations ago.

Copacabana – Bolivia

The Little Mother of Lake Titicaca

This is the original Copacabana – not the beach in Rio de Janiero, but a sunny little town on the southern shores of Lake Titicaca (considered to be the cradle of the Inca civilization, the “womb of the world”). One of the most important Roman Catholic pil­grimage sites in South America, Copacabana’s 400-year-old cathedral houses the shrine of the Indian Virgin, the Black Madonna, who is the beloved patron of Bolivia. The famous dark wood statue was believed to have been responsible for a spate of miracles since being carved by the native artist Tito Yunpanqui in 1592.

Early Spanish Catholic influences are evident in the shrine’s majestic gilded altar and the gem-encrusted robe worn by the gold- crowned statue of the Virgin. Set between two hills, the whitewashed church offers good views of the lake and town, but for the best vista, hike the extra mile to the replica of Calvary Hill, El Cerro Calvario, especially at sunset.