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La Paz, officially known as Nuestra Senora de La Paz (English: Our Lady of Peace), known as Chuqi Yapu (Chukiyawu, Chuquiago) in Aymara, is the seat of government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. La Paz is the most populous city in Bolivia. It is also the capital of the La Paz Department.
This area had been the site of an Inca city, located on a major trading route.
Although the Spanish conquistadors entered the area in 1535, they did not found La Paz until 1548. Originally it was to be at the site of the Native American settlement, Laja, with the full name of the city being Nuestra Senora de La Paz (meaning Our Lady of Peace). The name commemorated the restoration of peace following the insurrection of Gonzalo Pizarro and fellow conquistadors four years earlier against Blasco Núñez Vela, the first viceroy of Peru. The town site was moved a few days later to its present location in the valley of Chuquiago, which is more clement.
The city's main thoroughfare, which roughly follows the river, changes names over its length, but the central tree-lined section running through the downtown core is called the Prado.
The geography of La Paz (in particular the altitude) is marked by social differences. The more affluent residents live in the lower, central areas of the city southwest of the Prado. Many middle-class residents live in high-rise condos near the center. Lower-income residents live in makeshift brick houses in the surrounding hills.
The satellite city of El Alto, in which the airport is located, is spread over a broad area to the west of the canyon, on the Altiplano. La Paz is renowned for its unique markets, unusual and dramatic topography, and traditional culture.
La Paz is located in the valleys of the Andes, close to the Eastern split of the Altiplano region. It is closer to such notable mountains as the Illimani (guardian of La Paz), Huayna Potosi, Mururata, and Illampu. On the Western side of the Altiplano divide, about an hour to the west of the La Paz, is the Sajama Volcano, the tallest mountain in Bolivia and ninth-tallest mountain in the Andes.
- Museums and cultural centers - The former home of Pedro Domingo Murillo, martyr of the independence revolution of 1809, has been preserved and is now a museum. The house displays a collection of furniture, textiles, and art from colonial times.
- Churches and cathedrals- Metropolitan Cathedral, built in 1835 and located next to the Presidential Palace, on Murillo Square
- Bolivian Presidential Palace, also known as "Burned Palace".