Catedral Metropolitana

Cathedral in La Paz
Image by John Coletti / Getty Images
Image by John Coletti / Getty Images

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.