Oruro Bolivia better known as just “Oruro” is a city in Bolivia, its main source of income comes from the mining industry, mainly silver, tin, and cooper.
The current population of Oruro is over 264,700 people.
Oruro is located at 3709 m above sea level, between Sucre and La Paz, north of the lakes Poopo and Uru Uru, and is about three hours from La Paz by bus.
Don Manuel Castro de Padilla founded the city on November 1, 1606 in the Urus region as a silver mining city. At this time the Oruro was named after Philip III (the Spanish monarch) as the “Real Villa de San Felipe de Austria” or “The Royal Villa of Saint Philip of Austria”. As the silver mines began to wane Oruro was eventually abandoned, however late in the 19th century it was reestablished as the main tin mining center of Bolivia, Oruro was named after “Uru Uru” a native tribe. There was a time when the world’s main source of tin came from the “La Salvadora” a tin mine in Oruro.
As time went on and tin became less and less plentiful the city once again faced economic decline. Although Oruro traditional main source of income is based on the mining industry, during the late 20th century it began to be support it’s self with tourism, as a result, the economy of the city grew at the beginning of the 21st century. This city attracts thousands of tourists each year due to the “Carnaval de Oruro”, which is considered to be one of the greatest folkloric events in South America because of its masked “diablada”.
Tourists who visit Oruro are also fascinated by the city’s main attractions listed below;
- The churches; Santuario de la Virgen del Socavon, Iglesia de Cunchupata, Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion
- The Mineralogical Museum (Museo Mineralogico) which exhibits minerals, fossils, and precious stones
- The Inti Raymi mine
- The Patiño Museum (Museo Patiño) which exhibits the former residence of Simon Iturri Patiño also known as “tin baron”
- The National Anthropological Museum (Museo Nacional Antropologico) which displays the historical information and tools of the Uru’s and Chipayas tribes and the Carnaval de Oruro
- Last but not least the Ethnographical Mining Museum (Museo Etnografico Minero) that’s housed inside a mine tunnel and depicts the mining methods of the Bolivian’s
With an altitude of 12,254 feet (3,735 m) about sea level the city is well known for its chilly weather, although warmer temperatures usually take place during the months of August, September, and October. From May through early July on the other hand night time temperatures can be as low as -20 °C (yikes!). The good news is summers are generally warmer (aside from the fact it’s an arid area) and between November and March there’s a pretty good amount of rain fall. The climate in Oruro Bolivia can be described as Tropical and Subtropical, mainly because of the warm days and dry years, with bitter cold nights being more common than the rare snowfalls which happen only every few years, July 4, 2015 being the most recent.
Other snowfalls that happened in the past few years were in 2008, September 1, 2010 and June 13, 2013. Bottom line, although it’s uncommon for snow to fall in Oruro it does tend to happen every few years.