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Bolivia: Fascinating facts about country that’s home to world’s largest mirror on earth

Bolivia is a landlocked country located in central South America that boasts of amazing geographical, historical and cultural features, like the world’s highest capital.

Bolivia is officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia following its many local peoples and spoken languages.

Bolivia is one of the few states in the world with two capitals; The country’s constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of government and executive capital is La Paz.

Bolivia, named after the 19th century liberator Simon Bolivar is bordered by Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.

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Here are more facts,

The name Bolivia

The country’s name came from the Venezuelan military and political leader Simon Bolivar who was in the first line in helping Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia get out of the hands of colonists, Spain.

He led the country to its independence in 1925 and was luckily elected as the president. He was Bolivia’s first president.

In 2009, Bolivia’s name changed from Republic of Bolivia to Plurinational State of Bolivia.

Religion

Most of Bolivia citizens are Catholics. It has been reported that over 75 per cent have joined Catholicism and it has continued dominating the country.

The Catholic church was giving a storing influence in the country owing to its interaction with the government in various activities that in turn created a mutual friendship.

However the good friendship started deteriorating between the two especially in 1826 when President Antonio José de Sucre Alcalá took control of the tithe collection and started taking back lands owned by the Church and closing off all monasteries that had less than 12 people leading to the weakening of the church.

The Bolivian government in 1906 announced that it has granted permission for more ministers to establish other non-Catholic churches something that irked and killed friendship with catholics.

Even after that the Roman Catholic continues to dominate the country with more of its beaches added all over.

Atheists or Agnostics account for 2% of the population in the country while protestants account for 18% of the population.

Population

According to the 2021 UN data, Bolivian population is estimated at 11,673,021 people at mid year.

The reports further indicate that Bolivia is equivalent to 0.15% of the total world population and ranks at position 80 in the list of countries (and dependencies) by population.

The country’s total land area is 1,083,300 Km2 (418,264 sq. miles) and 69.3 % of the population is urban (8,094,974 people in 2020)

Bolivian median age in Bolivia is 25.6 years.

It is projected that the country will to to about 17.67 million people by 2083 and with it having 11% now means that it will add 6 million more people.

Language

Bolivia’s official language is Spanish which has also become a mother tongue to many people in the country.

The country has also 36 more indigenous languages . The four most widely spoken indigenous languages are Aymara, Quechua, Chiquitano and Guaraní.

To protect these languages, the government has given them official statuses but seems like they faded away owing to increase in Spanish speakers in the country.

Spanish is a language used by the Supreme Court and the government of the country. The variety of Castilian language that are spoken in the neighboring countries.

Home to the world’s highest large city.

The highest city in the world is El Alto-La Paz metropolitan area, which houses more than two million people at an average elevation of 3,869m above sea level.

Having a population greater than 100,000 is what large means. The city is situated more than 100 meters higher than Mount Fuji in Japan.

Too many affectionate ‘Zebras’

People dressed in Zebra costumes help others cross roads. Photo courtesy

The towns of Bolivia are full of ‘zebras’ or rather people dressed in in zebra-coloured costumes.

These people are generally out there helping children cross busy roads safely and also educate them about road safety.

Salar de Uyuni – World’s largest mirror

Salar de Uyuni. Photo courtesy

Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest mirror and stretches for 4,086 miles across the country and it’s actually eight times the size of New York City.

Also due to its enormous 10,582 square kilometres size, it makes Bolivia home to the largest salt flats in the world.

Actually it’s termed as the “The place where Heaven meets Earth” and for sure Salar de Uyuni is truly surreal and out-of-this-world beautiful.

When covered with, or sometimes not, the beautiful lands shows a reflective surface.

It has become one of the major tourist attractions site not only because it’s a natural wonder of the world but because it’s has featured in various successful movie such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Clock that brings ‘creativity’

The anticlockwise clock of Bolivia. Photo courtesy

A clock on the National Congress building in the main square of La Paz has goes anticlockwise.

Its hands turn left and the numbers have been inverted to go from one to 12 anti-clockwise.

According to the Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca who named it the “clock of the south”, said the main idea in the clock is to make Bolivians think creatively.

Dead animal are everywhere

Bolivian but dead animals to seek more blessings from mother nature. Photo courtesy

Well not only in the market, but also in the streets and in lots of ‘wheres’, you will encounter dead animals.

People and especially women hawk the rows upon rows of dead animals to Bolivians who in turn offer them up to Pachamama (Mother Nature) in return for blessings

And according to the country’s citizens, the Roman Catholic being a dominant religion does not interfere as they understand the importance of indigenous culture and beliefs.

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Shoe shiners literally mask their shame

Shoe shiners use caps and balaclavas to hide their identities. Photo courtesy

This one might look unreal or weird but it’s what that happens in Bolivia.

The shoe shiners or rather ‘lustrabotas’ as the locals call them are runaways who live hand to mouth expecting to get something at the end of the day but again are shy about their hustle.

They literally wear baseballs caps and balaclavas to hide their identities something that can give one a sense of poignancy.

Mostly successful Bolivians offer them jobs whenever possible and actually tip them just to see them come out of the struggling hustle.

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