Want to learn some interesting facts about Bolivia?
Let’s dig deeper into the culture of Bolivia and see what interesting facts we can find so we can learn something new and gain new knowledge.
Situated in the heart of South America among the Andean mountains, Bolivia is a country rich in cultural and ethnic diversity.
From the Witches’ Market of El Alto to the archaeological ruins of Tiwanaku Bolivia is overflowing with cultural treasures.
Interesting Facts About Bolivia
A large portion of Aymara and Quechua Natives constitute a majority of the Bolivian population; however, it’s the additional 36 Indigenous ethnic groups that make Bolivia’s culture genuinely distinctive.
The intermingling of Indigenous, European, and African cultural influences helped to create Bolivia’s fascinating culture.
Through centuries of disparage towards Bolivia’s Indigenous population, the government signed a United Nations bill recognizing the rights of its Indigenous people in 1991.
General facts about Bolivia
With so much to learn about Bolivia to learn lets firstly look at some interesting facts that you may or may not already have known.
- Bolivia has an estimated population of 11.3 million people.
- The city of Sucre is the capital of Bolivia.
- Spanish is the primary official language in Bolivia
- Bolivia’s constitution also recognizes 36 indigenous languages.
- The Bolivian boliviano is the official currency of Bolivia.
Many people think that La Paz is the capital of Bolivia when in fact it is Sucre so if you are traveling to Bolivia be sure to make a trip to the wonderful city.
Facts about Bolivian people
Did you know Bolivia recognizes 36 indigenous ethnic groups?
Like many of its Latin American neighbors, Bolivia has a substantial indigenous population, which includes Aymara and Quechua.
From the pictures of Bolivia I’ve added to this article, you should get a better idea of how the indigenous peoples dress.
Bolivia’s extraordinary ethnic diversity has a multitude of cultural expressions through art, language, music, dance, cuisine, and spiritual beliefs.
Nearly 20% of the population is of indigenous descent and 68% of mestizo origin. One interesting fact about the Bolivian people is the median age is 23 years old.
The Bolivian peoples’ origins may be old, but its population is young.
Before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, indigenous people of Bolivia had their own beliefs and superstitions, which varied from region to region.
During the Spanish colonization, Roman Catholicism was imposed upon the indigenous people while suppressing their religious expressions.
During this era, indigenous groups blended their own beliefs with Catholicism giving rise to unique customs.
Today, Bolivia’s constitution grants freedom of religion to all and prohibits religious discrimination.
Facts about Bolivian Art
European baroque and indigenous-themed artistic expressions collide.
As the religious beliefs and practices of Roman Catholicism spread throughout South America, the Indigenous people blended European artistic values with their own creative expressions.
This unique blending of artistic cultures created Mestizo Baroque.
Local Indigenous artists would often incorporate references to their own personal lives, their family, and the village.
A majority of the European artwork of that time was of a religious nature.
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Mestizo baroque encompasses other South American countries, such as Peru, Colombia, and Chile.
Bolivian artists incorporate paintings, sculpting, and ceramics in their artistic styles.
Bolivia’s most renowned artist is Roberto Mamani Mamani. Mamani is an indigenous Aymaran artist whose paintings are best known for their vibrant colours and Andean subjects, such as; condors, the Moon, and cholitas.
Marina Nunez del Prado is another well-known Bolivian sculptor whose works have been inspired by Indigenous Bolivian culture. Her works are seen as sensual and curvaceous.
Bolivia has numerous talented artists, some of whom have gained international recognition.
Facts about Bolivian architecture
Pre-Columbian Bolivian architecture is expressed in many forms.
During the Pre-Columbian era, Incan and Tiwanaku architecture dominated the Bolivian landscape.
One famous archaeological site is the ancient city of Tiwanaku, which features sculptures, monoliths, and religious artifacts.
Some of the architectural buildings found in Tiwanaku are; Pumapunku – a large temple complex, and Kalasasaya – a low platform mount with a large courtyard and high stone walls.
Like many tourist attractions in Bolivia, you can these indigenous archaeological sites remain intact today across Bolivia and Peru.
Bolivia’s architects fuse Spanish colonial styles with indigenous influences.
Many churches in Bolivia showcase a Mestizo baroque style of architecture, which often incorporate native fauna and flora within its design.
One very famous church that displays this native fauna and flora is San Francisco Basilica.
Built-in the 18th century in La Paz by Aymara workers they included birds, snakes, and dragons paying homage to their Inca and Tiwanaku ancestors.
Mestizo Baroque architecture also includes public and private buildings aside from churches.
Facts about Bolivian Music
Traditional Bolivian music is distinctively unique.
The most popular and contagious style of music in Bolivia today is Morenada.
Morenada is a music and dance style of Black African slaves in the Bolivian Andes that combines African and Indigenous elements.
On August 4th, 2013, a historical event is known as “100% Bolivian Morenada: for world peace and Bolivian Culture Respect.”
In June 2011 the Bolivian Government issued a Supreme Decree declaring the Morenada an Intangible Cultural Heritage.
One of the famous people from Bolivia is a singer Cesar Junaro sang for Savia Nueva, a Bolivian folkloric group with lyrics that are often romantic and poetic.
Savia Nueva captures the hearts of the Bolivian people. Having produced only four records, they have become deeply loved and appreciated throughout the country.
Frequently presenting more serious lyrical themes, such as poverty and revolution. Savia Nueva formed in the 1970s.
Due to its extreme popularity, it has earned a spot within the National psyche.
Delicious facts about Bolivian cuisine
Traditional Bolivian cuisine has undergone a metamorphosis.
During the Pre-Columbian ear, Native Indigenous groups primarily consumed basic staples, such as corn, potatoes, quinoa, and beans.
When the Spanish arrived in the region, they brought their own staples and combined them with the native dishes.
Rice, wheat, beef, pork, and chicken from the Spanish colonizers gave rise to new innovative cooking methods and has created the delicious savory Bolivian cuisine we experience today.
Certain dishes are enjoyed throughout the country, although Bolivian cuisine varies from region to region.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner Bolivia is filled with ambrosial delicacies.
One ubiquitous Bolivian dish is the Saltenas. Saltenas is an oven-baked pastry filled with peas, carrots, potatoes, and meat. Oftentimes this breakfast food is covered in sweet n spicy gravy.
An extremely hearty dish served typically for lunch or dinner is Pique Macho. It’s a combination of chopped beef and sliced potatoes, onions, chili pepper, and boiled eggs. Topped with either ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise.
Bolivian cuisine is as varied and diverse as its population and culture. Any city or town the adventurous foodie adds to their Bolivia travel itinerary should give them ample opportunity to sample the cuisine.
Interesting Facts About Bolivia
With an influx of immigrants from Spain and subsequently other nationalities migrating to Bolivia in the centuries that followed, its culture like many of its South American neighbors has undergone a transformation.
Much of Bolivia’s native cultural values and traditions are still intact.
Bolivia’s diverse population offers both a historical perspective and modern expressions of art, architecture, music/dance, and cuisine.
Bolivians place great emphasis on family, and it’s not uncommon for several generations to live under the same roof.
Traveling to Bolivia soon and concerned about safety? See this Bolivia safety guide to get the facts and tips on travel to Bolivia.
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