The city sits amid the Andes Mountains and is about 3625 m (about 11,900 ft) above sea level, making it the highest large city in the world.
La Paz has around 950.000 inhabitants excluding the citizens of the close city El Alto, which was constituted in 1986 as a part of the La Paz region. El Alto has appr. 770.000 citizens, but the overwhelming majority works in La Paz. Therefor El Alto is nicknamed "sleeping city".
It is also the site of the University of San Andrés (1830), the Catholic Bolivian University (1966), the National Museum, the presidential and legislative palaces, and a cathedral (completed in 1933) with a capacity of 12,000.
Bolivia's largest city, as well as the country's administrative capital, located on the La Paz River.
Although Bolivia is rich in silver, copper, and lead, La Paz is not heavily industrialized because of limited power resources. The principal industries process food and manufacture textiles, clothing, shoes, and chemicals. The city is the principal export center for the mineral resources of Bolivia.
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Although Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, La Paz has been the actual center of government since 1898. With the exception of the national Supreme Court, all government functions are centered in La Paz.
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La Paz was founded by the Spanish in 1548. It flourished because of its strategic location on the trade route between the Bolivian silver mines and the ocean. At the beginning of the twentieth century La Paz could count only on 80.000 citizens, which live on the few flat spots between rivers and cracks. In the middle of the century La Paz increased up to 320.000 inhabitants.
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La Paz is linked by railroads and highways to cities in Peru and Argentina and to Arica, Chile, the nearest port on the Pacific Ocean. It also has an international airport.
Major cities naer La Paz: