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Spanish language school in Sucre, Bolivia

Study Spanish in Bolivia

South America.
1,098,581 sq km (424,164 sq miles).
9 million (UN estimate 2005).
Population Density
7.6 per sq km.
Legal: Sucre.
Population: 250,000 (official estimate 2006). Administrative: La Paz. Population: 830,000 (official estimate 2006).
Republic. Gained independence from Spain in 1825.
The official language is Spanish, but the main native languages are Quechua, Aymará and Guaraní. English can be spoken by a small number of officials and businesspeople in commercial centers.
Roman Catholic with a Protestant minority.
GMT - 4.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. European two-pin (circular) plugs or Japanese-style two-pin (perpendicular flat) plugs.
Head of State
President Evo Morales since January 2006.
Country code: 591.
Mobile Telephone
Roaming agreements exist with a limited number of international mobile phone companies; travelers are advised to check with their mobile phone service provider. Coverage is average.
Available in large cities and resorts. There are Internet cafes in main towns.
Media ownership is highly concentrated. Bolivia’s media are dominated by privately-run press and broadcasting outlets. There are serious concerns over Bolivia’s previous treatment of journalists who covered social unrest or were involved in defamation or slander. As a result, self-censorship is usually exercised. Low literacy levels impede upon newspaper readership; radio tends to have precedence.

Airmail to Europe takes three to four days. Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-2000, Sat 0830-1800.
The main papers published in La Paz are El Diario (daily) and La Razón (daily). Santa Cruz dailies include El Deber and El Mundo.
Radio stations dealing with news and talk include Radio Fides (Catholic-based), Radio Metropolitana and Radio Panamericana. Radio Cadena Nacional (RCN) is the major national radio station. Radio Illimani is a popular state-run station.

Below are listed Public Holidays for the
January 2007-December 2008 period:

Jan New Year’s Day.
19 Feb Carnival.
6 Apr Good Friday.
1 May Labor Day.
7 Jun Corpus Christi.
6 Aug Independence Day.
1 Nov All Saints’ Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day.


1 Jan
New Year’s Day.
4 Feb Carnival.
21 Mar Good Friday.
1 May Labor Day.
22 May Corpus Christi.
6 Aug Independence Day.
1 Nov All Saints’ Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day.

There are other additional holidays celebrated in individual provinces and towns. For further details, contact the embassy or the Viceministerio de Turismo.

Contact Information:

Viceministerio de Turismo
Avenida Mariscal Santa Cruz, Edificio Cámara de Comercio, Piso 11, La Paz, Bolivia
Tel: (2) 233 4849 or 235 2479 or 237 5129.

Embassy and Consulate of the Republic of Bolivia in the UK
106 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AD, UK
Tel: (020) 7235 4248 or 4255.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1700 (general enquiries); Mon-Thurs 1000-1400 (consular and visa enquiries).

Embassy of the Republic of Bolivia in the USA
3014 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 483 4410 or 232 4828 (consular section).

[Country map of Bolivia]

Bolivia History

Like most Latin American countries, Bolivia was conquered by foreigners in search of new land and increased riches.

Before colonization, during the thirteenth century, Bolivia was part of the Incan Empire, an ancient culture whose technical understanding was ahead of its time. Incan artifacts are still found all over the country. With the coming of the Spanish, in the sixteenth century, Bolivia's silver-rich territory became the home base for the Spanish government, incorporating itself with the Peruvian empire and later to the empire of Plata.

Bolivia's fight for independence began in 1809, however only in 1825, did the Bolivians manage to defeat their Spanish rulers and declare their long-awaited independence.  They changed the name of the city Alto Peru to Bolivia in honor of their liberator Simon Bolivar, who would become the first president of the country.

The political situation in Bolivia remained calm during the following years. In 1928, Andres de Santa Cruz, rose to power and formed a confederation with Peru, trying to restore the values of the ancient Incas. This partnership soon dissolved when Chile protested and declared war against Bolivia. Chile defeated Bolivia which began political chaos in the country.

It was difficult for the country to return to democracy. The constant power shifts  and lack of capable leaders seriously affected the economic state of the country, leading Bolivia to extremely high inflation rates. During this process, Victor Paz Estensoro, rising for the fourth time to power (1984-1989), attempted several reforms to control the country's inflation.

During the 90's, there was no improvement on the political or economic scene. On the contrary, societal pressures resulted in the constant trading of political leaders, continually reversing positions of power.  The new president Eduardo Rodriguez, tried to stabilize the situation by offering a transitional government to arrange a new round of elections to try to rise above the difficult phase the country was going through.


Bolivia Culture

The traditions of the ancient peoples in Bolivia have produced an incredible variety of music and dances that have developed from the pre-Incan, Spanish, Amazonian, and even African influences. The native, hand-made instruments bring a happy, fun sound that is being used in melodies around the world. For each region, there is a different type of music with contrasts between happy and colorful, and melancholy and sad.

Bolivia�s traditional dance is called the �cueca�. Among the most popular dances are the �auqui-auqui� or the �huayno�, the chapaqueada (famous in the fancy balls), and the macheteiro. The dances also are performed in the folklore shows that are shown with great aplomb in the Oruro and Tarabuco Carnivals and in the most important carnival of the country, the Santa Cruz. Bolivian folklore is one of the most original in the world integrating the varied ethnic and cultural differences that reside in this beautiful country.

During the Carnivals, they also dance the Diablada de Oruro Ball of African origin. The criole dances are surprising in their incorporation of distinct characteristics from the European grand court balls.

The Andean population still conserves a good part of its traditions which are seen in the colorful manila shawls and Borselino hats, and also in the richness of their handmade arts and crafts that date back to ancient times. There are many museums, shops, churches, temples, and ruins in the Bolivian territory that can help you learn to appreciate the old and rich culture of Bolivia.

Bolivia Cuisine

To all who visit the country, the variety of rich Bolivian cuisine will excite anyone�s tastebuds. It is characteristic of the region to serve a full lunch, which usually consists of an appetizer, main dish, dessert, and coffee.  Breakfast consists of coffee, cake, cookies, and fruit. Supper is less sophisticated than lunch.

With the many wonderful and unique national dishes, it is important to point out the Saltenha, a meat and vegetable pie, the Chunhos (chunky potatoes dried in the cold), satja (chicken sauce covered with spicy peppers), stuffed potatoes (very spicy), Ihaucha pacenha, typical of La Paz (cheese bread), stuffed tomatoes (spiced meat and/or vegetables.) Meat (sheep, llhama, or goat) also is a specialty and is accompanied by potatoes and rice.  In the interior, potatoes are substituted by mandioc (a root) or  by regional vegetables.

In the Lake Titicaca area, they often serve trutas and fish (robalo, dourado, and surubim are also found in Bolivian waters). In some areas, they also eat monkey and alligator. Bolivia has a spicy sauce that is well liked by its people - the llajhua, which contains tomatoes and locotos.

With regard to drinks, the primary ones are coca mate tea and api (made from corn). Chicha (made of corn, fruits, or grains) is also very popular along with beers that vary with each different area of the country - the higher the altitude, the more foam the beer will have.  Wine is another drink that is consumed and appreciated in Bolivia.


Sucre   History

The city of La Plata was founded by Pedro de Anzures, Marques de Campo Redondo, on November 30th, 1538. Its foundation was a result of mining activities overseen by Gonzalo Pizarro, who was interested in exploring the Eastern highland region of the Andean Cordillera. In 1559, Spanish king Felipe II commanded the foundation of the Audiencia de Charcas, with its headquarters in the city of La Plata with the purpose of administering the eastern territories. The Audiencia held judicial authority and executive powers and presided over the regions of what is now Paraguay, south-eastern Peru, northern Chile and Argentina, and most of Bolivia. On 1609, the city received an archbishopric, and granted it theological autonomy. That, along with the establishment of the University of San Xavier in 1624. During the 17th century, La Plata served as a legal, religious, and cultural center of the Spanish eastern territories. The first cry of Independence in the Americas took place in the city of La Plata May 25th, 1809. On August 6th, 1825 independence was declared and a new republic was born under the name Bolivia after its liberator Simón Bolivar. On August 11th, the name of the city of La Plata was changed to Sucre in honor of Mariscal Antonio Jose de Sucre, who along with Bolivar, fought for independence from Spanish rule.

The city of Sucre is also known as the City of Four Names, being those names La Plata, Charcas, Ciudad Blanca (White City), and Sucre. On December 13, 1991 UNESCO declared the Historic City of Sucre a "World Heritage Site" in recognition of its rich history and its wealth of colonial architecture.

By November 1996, Sucre had 157,775 inhabitants.


The city of Sucre is located at an altitude of 2,790 m above sea level. Its weather is mild and pleasant around 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit).

How to Get There

By land:

From Cochabamba: 366 Km by rubble road

From Tarija: 480 Km by rubble road

From Oruro: 349 Km by asphalt and rubble roads

From Potosí: 164 Km by asphalt road, or by train.

By air:

From any main city in the country through the following airlines: LAB, AEROSUR, and TAM.

Main Attractions

Casa de la Libertad: House located on the main plaza, where the declaration of independence of Bolivia was signed on august 6th, 1825. Portraits of presidents, military decorations, and documents are displayed.
Palacio de la Glorieta: Formerly an outstanding palace owned by the wealthy entrepreneur Don Francisco de Argandoña, it now serves as a military school.
Museo de la Recoleta: Established by the Franciscan Order in the early 16th century, this placed served as a convent, barracks, prison, and museum. Displays anonymous paintings from the 16th to 20th centuries.
Universidad Mayor de San Francisco Xavier: Founded on March 27th, 1624 by Padre Juan de Frías Herrán.
Biblioteca Nacional de Bolivia: Archivo Nacional. Contains documents of the Audiencia de Charcas and those of the republic. Includes documents from the XVI to the XX centuries.
Museo de Charcas: Displays paintings by Melchor Perez de Holguín as well as furniture handcrafted by native Indians.
Museo del Arte Moderno: Displays works of modern Bolivian painting and sculptures.
Museo Textil Etnográfico: Features art exhibitions, and art workshops.
Museo Antropológico: Displays skulls, pottery, mummies, and textiles from the eastern tribes of Bolivia.
Dinosaur Marks : Located 10 Km, north of the city of Sucre, this place depicts dinosaur footprints as wells as prehistoric plant and animal fossils.
Churches: The Cathedral, San Francisco, La Merced, San Miguel, Santa Mónica, San Lázaro, Santo Domingo.

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