SAJAMA NATIONAL PARK
The Sajama National Park is located at the extreme northeastern part of the District of Oruro, at 311 Km. from the city, in the middle of the western mountain ranges of the Andes. It is the first protected area of Bolivia. It is identified by the snow topped volcano of Sajama (6,542 meters / 21,463 feet). It is the highest summit of Bolivia. It also has many attractions such as hot springs and geysers. The Queñua woods, the tree that grows at the highest altitude, the bofedales and places of tall grasses as well as flora species and fauna such as the puma, viscacha, suri (Andean ostrich) and the vicuña are some valuable species that need to be preserved.
SAN JOSÉ MINES /OBRAJES HOT SPRINGS
These mines are found on the western region of the city of Oruro (San Jose Neighborhood); its exploitation dates back 2 centuries. It offers a visit through the shafts and interior of the mine, suitable for those who have adventurous spirits. One can also observe the rituals that are presented to the Tio of the Mine. The Obrajes health resort, 25 km . out of the city of Oruro, is known for it´s hot springs where you can enjoy soaking in medicinal waters.
CITY OF ORURO
Oruro is known for its majestic carnival and the Virgin of the Socavon Sanctuary where dancers come to show their faith. In the subterranean passages leading down beneath the church there is a Miner's Museum housed in an old silver mine shaft dating back to the colonial era. Here can be found the Andean God of the underworld “Supay”, also known as the Tio or uncle of the mine. The National Anthropology Museum allows the visitor to step back in time and witness the early cultures of Oruro´s high plains. The Patiño museum, home of the leading tin baron Simón Iturri Patiño, is a time capsule of the early 20th century. The Conchupata lighthouse lookout is the historic site where the current Bolivian National Flag was first unfurled.
Oruro, capital of Bolivian folklore, is also the place where the Oruro Carnival festival is celebrated in a unique, original, cheerful and colorful manner around the months of February and March. The Oruro Carnival has been declared “Cultural Patrimony of Humanity”. It is unique in the world because of its religious significance and its dedication to the Socavon Virgin whereby parishioners dance in her honor. One of the most characteristic and striking folkloric dance groups of this festivity is the Diablada (dance of the devils), in which the battle between good and evil is represented.
-for itineraries, check our blog starting in February
SOCAVON VIRGIN LEGEND
The mythological legend tells that Ñusta appeared at the Socavon (mineshaft) to save the Urus people who were being attacked by a great plague of animals: the frog, snake, ants and the condor. She destroyed nearly all of them and the few survivors were left around the city. They also tell of the apparition of the Virgin Mary “Ñusta” to the thief “Nina Nina”, who would distribute his spoils among the poor; he fell wounded and then died in the mine which has since been called "Socavon Virgin" and is the basis of the carnival festival.
The Oruro Carnival is the most spectacular and famous traditional festival of Bolivia.
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