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.

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