Sucre: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Last updated: December 21, 2020

Red tile roofs and white walls are the prevailing colours of the elegant constitutional capital of Bolivia situated at 2800 meters above sea level. Since the civil war at the end of the 19th century political power has been based in La Paz, preserving Sucre from the excesses of change. The quality of its heritage was recognized by UNESCO in 1991.

01. Plaza 25 De Mayo

The square’s name refers to the 1809 uprising that ended with Bolivia’s independence. It is a typical Hispanic central plaza where the inhabitants of the city gather and walk around. Trees provide shade, benches allow to watch passers-by, while vendors of all kinds do their best.

02. Casa de la Libertad

The official independence of Bolivia was signed in 1825 in this beautiful building in the central square, which has now become a museum. Originally a Jesuit school, the chapel was transformed into a parliament with the advent of the republic. The first constitution as well as other artefacts accompanying the history of the country are exhibited there. The visit is an excellent history lesson (more).

03. Presidential Palace

Located near the cathedral and replacing the bishop’s palace, the presidential palace breaks with the colonial architecture of the rest of the city. The palace was finished in 1896 and was supposed to house the residence of the President and the seat of the Government, but in 1899 the executive moved to La Paz, following a civil war. The palace is now used by the government of the region.

04. Cathedral

It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in the country. Started in the middle of the 16th century, the construction lasted more than 150 years, evolving from Renaissance to European Baroque style, incorporating Creole decorative elements. The interior is relatively sober and strangely bright, while few openings appear from the outside.

05. San Francisco Xavier University

The university was founded in 1624 and was noted particularly for Law and Theology. Very receptive to European ideas, it was a cradle of the rebellion movement leading to the independence of South American countries. From the historic centre, several faculties spread out to satellite campuses around the old town.

06. San Felipe Neri

The former convent has become a school but visitors are welcome, attracted by the rooftops transformed into terraces slightly higher than the rest of the city. It is the perfect place to watch the sun go down while the last rays still cling to the bell towers. The wide corridors surrounding the cloister-like courtyard are also worth a visit.

07. La Recoleta

It’s an enticing place in the heights of Sucre. There is a Franciscan monastery of 1601 which has become a museum of religious works. In front of it, a vast square that comes alive after school hours and in the evening when the neighbors meet there. Most of all, there is a beautiful lookout gallery overlooking the red roofs of Sucre from which emerge the white bell towers.

08. Plaza de la Libertad

In the centre of the beautifully flowered square stands an obelisk, known as the bakers’ obelisk. It was built in three phases to celebrate different occasions. The most elegant façade is that of the Gran Mariscal Sucre Theatre, where dance performances and concerts are presented. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century at a time when cultural references still originated in Europe.

09. Parque Bolivar

A beautiful wooded area inspired by the gardens of the Champs Elysées in Paris. The park is close to the city centre, a little quieter than the central square. There are several outdoor activities for children, but what makes the most fun is a mini Eiffel Tower of about twenty meters, here there is no lengthy lines and it’s free.

10. Mercado Central

As the market approaches, the bustle on the sidewalks becomes more intense and converges to the large, slightly recessed building. Inside, the eye is attracted by the piles of colourful fruit, but what stands out are the fast-food stalls, a few benches and stools to eat a fruit salad or drink a freshly squeezed juice on the spot.

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