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La Paz


Nuestra Señora de La Paz or La Paz as it is most popularly known, is Bolivia's third-most populous city and is the highest capital in the world.  In fact, Bolivia has two capitals - while the official capital of Bolivia is Sucre and it is the seat of Justice, La Paz has more government departments, hence it is the "de facto" capital of the country.


La Paz is built in a canyon created by the Choqueyapu River (now mostly built over), which runs northwest to southeast. The city sits in a bowl-like depression surrounded by the high mountains of the altiplano. As the city continues to grow, it climbs over the hills, the buildings clinging impossibly to the mountain side.


Overlooking the city is towering triple-peaked Illimani, which is always snow-covered and can be seen from several spots of the city, including from the neighbor city of El Alto.


La Paz is an important cultural center of Bolivia. The city hosts several cathedrals belonging to the colonial times, such as the San Francisco Cathedral and the Metropolitan Cathedral, this last one located on Murillo Square, which is also home of the political and administrative power of the country. Hundreds of different museums can be found across the city, the most notable ones on Jaén Street, which street design has been preserved from the Spanish days and is home of 10 different museums. La Paz is renowned for its unique markets, very unusual topography, and traditional culture.


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