Historic City of Sucre (1991)

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Sucre, the first capital of Bolivia, was founded by the Spanish in the first half of the 16th century. Its many well-preserved 16th-century religious buildings, such as San Lázaro, San Francisco and Santo Domingo, illustrate the blending of local architectural traditions with styles imported from Europe.

Bolivia 1951. Church of San Francisco.

The city’s spectacular setting and well-preserved architecture make Sucre one of the most beautiful cities in Bolivia. It is often called the White City because the buildings and homes are whitewashed to help the town retain its colonial charm. 

The elegant buildings around the main square still display colonial features in their archways, balconies, and porticos. The surrounding tile-roofed houses are interspersed with bustling street markets where Quechua women offer handmade weavings, fried pastries called empanadas, and fresh fruit and vegetables. 

More than a dozen ivory-white colonial churches also grace the city’s streets. Sixteen statues overlook the city from the main cathedral’s bell tower -- 12 of these represent the Apostles, and the remaining 4 depict the city’s patron saints. 

  • Bolivia 1951. Church of San Francisco. 
Numerous museums also illuminate the city’s rich past with art and artifact collections dating from the pre-Columbian, colonial, and post-colonial eras. Original parchments documenting Bolivia’s struggle for freedom, including the original Declaration of Independence, are protected in the city’s historic museum, the Casa de la Libertad. 
  • Bolivia 1992. Government Palace, Sucre. 
  • Bolivia 2002. View of Sucre. 

Bolivia 1992. Government Palace, Sucre.

Bolivia 2002. View of Sucre.

Bolivia 1931. Simon Bolivar.

Bolivia 1931. Antonio José Sucre.

One of the oldest cities in South America, Sucre (then called Chuquisaca) was founded by Spanish settlers in 1538 near the site of a Native American village. San Francisco Xavier University fostered the growth of liberal and revolutionary ideas during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. 

This political climate culminated in Bolivia’s 1809 revolt against Spain. Bolivia eventually earned its freedom along with the rest of South America, and the country’s new Declaration of Independence was signed in Sucre on August 6, 1825. 

  • Bolivia 1931. Simon Bolivar. 
  • Bolivia 1931. Antonio José Sucre. 

The city was subsequently named capital of Bolivia in 1839 and was renamed Sucre in 1840 to honor General Antonio José de Sucre, a revolutionary who worked alongside Simón Bolívar to gain independence for South America. After winning key battles to secure freedom for Ecuador and Bolivia, General Sucre became the first president of Bolivia. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Bolivia (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Bolivia-section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 03 aug 2006  
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