In the middle of La Paz on the busy Avenue Mariscal Santa Cruz are the Plaza San Francisco and Iglesia. Some consider the latter the most beautiful colonial church in La Paz. It was originally built in 1549 by the Franciscans but was collapsed by heavy snow in the early 1600's and rebuilt in the middle 1700's. This is a very busy area with both locals and tourists. Not everyone here is out to welcome you (see my warnings or dangers tips). See also my separate travelogue on Iglesia de San Francisco.
On the north side of the Plaza San Francisco stands the modern sculpture called Pucara. It represents Bolivia's three great cultures - Tiahuanaco, Inca and modern. The sculpture was being cleaned when I was there in Sep 03.
Pucara is just below Mercado Lanza on the north side of Plaza San Francisco. This can be a very busy area and there are people around who may try to equalize the distribution of wealth (see my warnings or dangers tips).
Plaza San Francisco is a prominent central plaza of La Paz. Though the church fronting it is the Church of San Francisco. The Cathedral is located elsewhere.
Here, you can see a myriad of activities... church goers, shoe-shiners who wear ski-masks (and looking like robbers!), many street-stalls and even more shoppers and browsers. Buses and colectivos weave around the plaza all the time, belching out a copious amount of smoke. Local weddings can sometimes be seen on Saturdays and the church opens for Mass at various times of the day.
The church is one of the finest examples of colonial religious architecture and is worth it to visit the interior. The area behind a maze of handicraft shops, travel agencies, hotels and restaurants... mainly around Calle Sagarnaga.
San Francisco church was built in 1549 and is considered to be one of the foremost examples of Spanish architecture. The front is decorated with fanciful carvings of birds, masks, pine cones in a mixture of Spanish and Indian traditions
While in La Paz, you must visit the San Francisco church. This is La Paz' most beautiful example of Spanish Colonial Baroque art. Another very nice Baroque church is Santo Domingo, only a block an a half from the main square. In the picture you can see an indigious protest in the square in front of the church.
Debes visitar el Templo y convento de San Francisco, que fue construida en piedra labrada en 1549, la fachada corresponde al estilo barroco, cuenta con una pinacoteca que presenta una colección de obras artísticas renacentistaas, barrocas, mestizas y neoclásicas.
Construction on the original San Francisco Church began on this site in 1548, one year before the founding of La Paz. The church collapsed under the weight of snow in 1610 and was reconstructed in 1784. (Sacred Destinations)
It is quite beautiful inside but unfortunately photography (flash or no-flash) is not permitted.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 4-6pm
This is one of the most busy and vivid squares in La Paz, always full of people and traffic, street stalls and interesting street shows of people telling stories, magic tricks and so...
This impressive church was built in 1549 and is the best example of Spanish architecture in the city, and is the hallmark building to orient yourself to.