The city of of Sucre, considered Bolivia’s most beautiful city, also happens to be the cradle of Bolivian independence. Last month, we had the opportunity to visit Sucre with my sister. We loved the preserved colonial architecture, the whitewashed buildings with balconies displaying beautiful flowers, the refreshing atmosphere of learning and exploration, the historical significance, the international cuisine, and the cool mountain air.
Sucre is located in a valley surrounded by low mountains. Before the arrival of the Spanish, the area where Sucre now stands was referred to as Charcas and was the indigenous capital of the Choque-Chaca valley. In the early 1530s, Gonzalo Pizarro, Francisco Pizarro’s brother, moved to Charcas to oversee the silver mining production that could be benefical for Spain. He founded a Spanish capital there, which he called La Plata (the silver).
The founding of several universities, including the University of San Xavier in 1622 and the Academia Carolina law school in 1681, fostered ideas of revolution and independence and led to the first cry for liberty in the Americas on May 25, 1809. One by one, under the military leadership of Simón Bolívar, the northwestern South American republics were liberated from Spanish rule. On February 9, 1825, Bolívar’s second-in-command, General Anotonio José de Sucre, presented a declaration, stating that the future of the now-liberated region should be determined by each individual province. On August 6, 1825, independence was declared at the Casa de Libertad, and the new republic was named Bolivia. On August 11th, the city of Sucre was named after its famous general.
Shortly after arriving to Sucre, we took care of some very important business; we absolutely had to try Sucre’s version of salteñas. We found the salteñas to be more football-shaped and spicier than the ones in Santa Cruz.
We then visited Sucre’s market and drank fresh-squeezed juice, which brought back childhood memories of drinking fresh pineapple juice at the corner market down the street from my grandparents’ old house.
All the while, we were on the look-out for carnival-ing kids armed with water balloons and very borracho adults armed with whiskey. Comparsas and their bands frequently paraded down the streets.
On our last day in Sucre, we visited the Parque Cretacico, owned by a French cement company. While clearing the land in 1994, employees discovered the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world: a vertical rock-face containing over 5,000 tracts of at least 8 different species of dinosaurs.