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Catedral Metropolitana

La Paz

Although it’s a relatively recent addition to La Paz’s religious structures, the 1835 cathedral is impressive – mostly because it is built on a steep hillside. The main entrance is 12m higher than its base on Calle Potosí. The cathedral’s sheer immensity, with its high dome, hulking columns, thick stone walls and high ceilings, is overpowering, but the altar is relatively simple.

Inside, the main attraction is the profusion of stained-glass work; the windows behind the altar depict a gathering of Bolivian politicos being blessed from above by a flock of heavenly admirers.

Beside the cathedral is the Presidential Palace, and in Plaza Murillo, opposite, stands a bust of President Gualberto Villarroel. In 1946, he was tossed out of the palace by vigilantes and hanged from a lamppost in the square. Interestingly enough, Pedro Domingo Murillo, for whom the plaza was named, met a similar fate here in 1810.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby La Paz attractions

1. Museo Nacional del Arte

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This colonial building was constructed in 1775 of pink sandstone and has been restored to its original grandeur, in mestizo (mixed) baroque and Andino…

2. Presidential Palace

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Beside the Catedral Metropolitana is the Presidential Palace, a mustard-yellow building that is the official residence of the President of Bolivia. It…

3. Museo de Etnografía y Folklore

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Anthropology buffs should check out this museum, one of the city's best. The building, itself a real treasure, was constructed in 1720 and was once the…

4. Museo San Francisco

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The cloisters and garden of the Museo San Francisco, adjacent to the basilica, beautifully revive the history and art of the city’s landmark. There are…

5. Iglesia de San Francisco

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The hewed stone basilica of San Francisco was founded in 1548 by Fray Francisco de los Ángeles. The original structure collapsed under heavy snowfall…

6. Mamani Mamani Gallery

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A gallery of art, yes, but also a collection of saleable artwork, including notecards and posters of Bolivia's most colorful and well-known modern artist,…

7. Museo de Instrumentos Musicales

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A must for musicians. The brainchild of charango master Ernesto Cavour Aramayo displays all possible incarnations of the charango (a traditional Bolivian…

8. Casa de Murillo


Once the home of don Pedro Domingo Murillo, a leader in the La Paz Revolution of July 16, 1809, the Casa de Murillo displays collections of colonial art,…