Day Fifteen – Casa Real de Moneda, la Catedral y Convento San Francisco

15h45: I’m on a tourist roll today! I have visited the Casa de Moneda and la Catedral, and am now waiting to tour the Convent. I’m thinking I might even do a bit of tourist shopping to finish off the day.  

Notes: all of the above have to be visited by tour, except MAYBE the convent, if I’m piecing the Spanish together correctly. The Casa offers tours in English (40BOB), the Cathedral (20BOB) does not. The Convent (15BOB) offers tours in Spanish and semi-English.

19h21: well, I think I’m done with Potosi. I’m off to Sucre tomorrow, probably for two days, then – – – you know what? I have no idea. Whether I’m going to Sucre tomorrow or Cochabamba or Uyuni or what. My sojourn in Bolivia has been distinctly uninformed. I SHOULD have stayed in Cochabamba when I accidentally ended up there, gone to ToroToro Natl Pk from there, then flown to Sucre and then bussed to Potosi and then bussed to Uyuni. Instead I’m doing some very interesting back and forths if I insist on going to ToroToro.  And right now all I want is a tubby to clear my head and decide what I want to do.

Please enjoy these photos while Melissa figures out how to reboot:


I noticed this, this morning. Excellent international marketing Apple.
I don’t know the name of the chirch this is in. It was just a nice old church that had one of its doors open. The rest of the church was fairly empty except for some extremely vibrant paintings. This graphic depiction of Jesus was worth risking getting in trouble for photography.
In case the blood splatters weren’t clear enough in the last photo.
The view just inside the doors of the Casa Real de Moneda. This was one of the most interesting tours I’ve been on, information-wise. We were not allowed to take photos, and besides, I’m not sure that photos woild have done the museum justice. The mint was operated by indigenous slaves during colonial rule. Interesting statistics: 8 million slaves died during the colonial operation of the mint; a slave working in the smelting room lived approximately 3mos due to the mercury vaporized in the purification process; a mule used to turn the main (pivot?) of the ‘flattening’ machine lived five months due to harsh climate, altitude and difficulty of work (and lack of appropriate husbandry I’m sure); could build a bridge from Potosi to Spain from the pure silver extracted from Cerro Ricco and minted in Potosi during colonial times.

The Cathedral is no longer in use. Now it is just a museum. Still quite beautiful. Its a shame they’re not using it for what it was built.
He is intensely bored.
These are stacks and sacks of bones unearthed during reconstruction of parts of the Cathedral, (and I suspect the square currently under reconstruction). The tour guide at the Mint suggested that these unmarked graves were likely the repository for the 8 million “disposable” indigenous used in mineral extraction/processing.
Holy Holstein
Convent roof in the fore ground. The roof tiles were made on the thighs of indigenous slaves co-opted from the mines to build the convent. Cerro Rico in the back ground. Interestingly, while there was, and is copious amounts of most minerals except gold in Cerro Rico, not a scrap of mineral has been found in the surrounding mountains.
The Cathedral from the Convent roof.
The catacombs under the convent. Standard Bolivian disregard for the dead.
This photo was simply a reminder for me to mention the many beautiful paintings of the Virgen Mary at the Mint, and the description of her significance in the re-education of the local people by the Catholic priests. The early indigenous people believed in Pachamamma, or Mother Earth; the Incans believed in .. “Father Sun” and “Mother Moon”, and had impressed those two on the original people. When Catholicism descended, and the people saw the Virgen with her full skirts, they could see that she was the Earth Mother. The priests assured the people this was true, but that unlike Pachamamma, the Virgen transcended both the Sun Father and the Moon Mother. This is why South American representations of Mary always show her in open skirts, (so she looks like a mountain), with a silver crescent moon below her and the sun shining behind her.
Supper of touring champions
My dinner companion, Tomas, the hostel cat.

3 thoughts on “Day Fifteen – Casa Real de Moneda, la Catedral y Convento San Francisco

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