Sucre – the first capital of Bolivia

The first capital of Bolivia is older than La Paz. Sucre was founded by the Spaniards in 1538 as Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo – the Silver City of the new Toledo. In 1839, the city was declared the capital of Bolivia and renamed in honor of Antonio José de Sucre (1795-1830), one of the leaders of the struggle for independence, an ally of Simon Bolivar and, from the end of 1825 to 1828, the second president of Bolivia.

Sucre is located at an altitude of about 3,000 meters. The city has many monuments of colonial heritage, and the difference between the buildings of the times of Spanish rule and other buildings is immediately evident.

May 25 Square

This square is a complete analogue of Murillo Square in La Paz. Named in honor of the events of the struggle for independence (on May 25, 1809, an uprising began in Chuquisaca, which marked the beginning of the liberation of Bolivia from Spanish rule) and outlined by the main buildings of the city – the town hall, the cathedral, etc.

Except perhaps Jose Antonio Sucre, after whom it is named the city, and the monument to which stands on the square, was not executed, but simply killed by political opponents.

Alleys framed by trees diverge from the square. May 25 Square is very clean and well-groomed, despite the abundance of passers-by and tourists. It often hosts performances by musicians and entertainment events.

Basilica of Saint Francis

The Basilica of St. Francis is popular among newlyweds in Sucre – weddings are held almost daily. The snow-white columns of the basilica have been towering over the city since the Middle Ages. The temple was repeatedly rebuilt, so its appearance is very eclectic.

The entrance to the courtyard of the basilica, consisting of several arches, is larger than the temple itself. Thanks to its originality, the basilica has become one of the city’s main attractions. The main decoration of the interior decoration is a carved wooden ceiling.

Cathedral of Sucre

Like many other buildings from the time of colonialism, the Cathedral was built very slowly – it took almost a century and a half to build it. Over time, the architectural preferences of customers have changed, so the architectural style of the building can be described as a mixture of Renaissance and Baroque. Outside, the cathedral is decorated with a four-tiered bell tower.

The interior decoration is luxurious – canvases depicting saints, golden and gilded statues, a richly decorated pulpit and an altar.

There is a museum at the cathedral, in which precious cult objects and relics are widely represented.

Saint Francis Xavier University

Founded at the beginning of the 17th century, the educational institution continues to be one of the leading in Bolivia. And the building of the main building of the university is one of the main architectural monuments of Sucre.

Despite the fact that in turbulent times the University of St. Francis Xavier was a hotbed of freethinking, the revolutionary students spared their alma mater. Built in the Baroque style, the building has retained its original appearance – majestic columns, large arched windows, powerful wooden doors and an abundance of stucco decorations on the facade.

Government palace

The white building of the Government Palace is located on May 25 Square. The baroque building was built in 1896. After the government moved to La Paz, the administration of the department of Chuquisaca is located here.

You can admire the building only from the outside – visitors are not allowed into it.

Freedom House (Museum of Independence)

A small mansion built in the early 17th century became the House of Freedom after the declaration of independence was signed in it – it was in Sucre that Bolivia formally became free.

The main exhibits of the museum are devoted to the struggle for liberation from Spanish rule. The photo below shows Independence Hall where the First National Constituent Congress signed the Bolivian Independence Act in 1825. The Bolivian Congress met here until 1898.

In the display case in the center of the room is the original Bolivian Declaration of Independence. The portrait in the center is Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), the first President of Bolivia. Left: Antonio José de Sucre (1795-1830), second president of Bolivia. On the right is General José Ballivian (1805-1852), the 11th President of Bolivia.

The House of Liberty (Casa de la Libertad) was originally a chapel and large hall for the Jesuit Pontifical University of Saint Francis Xavier (Universidad Pontificia de San Francisco Xavier). Today, the Freedom House is run by the Cultural Foundation of the Central Bank of Bolivia.