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The city of Oruro was founded on November 1st, 1606 by Don Manuel Castro de Padilla. The city was formally born as Real Villa de Don Felipe de Austria, in honor of then Spanish monarch Felipe III. Oruro owes its existence to the discovery in the early 1605 of rich silver-concentrated minerals in the Urus region, where the city derives its name from. During the 17th century, Oruro became the largest city in the Alto Peru region.

However, exhaustive mining activities exclusively on silver extraction prompted Indian workers to moved on to more lucrative prospects. Oruro became then an abandoned city. Oruro revived as a mining town by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this time with the production of tin. In 1887, Simon I. Patiño, later one of the wealthiest men in the world, bought La Salvadora, a tin mine located east of the city of Oruro. Later on, La Salvadora became the world's most productive tin mine. Currently, Oruro in not the prosperous city it use to be long time ago and certainly is not one of the fastest growing cities in the country. By November 1996, according to data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE), Oruro's population was composed by 199,260 inhabitants.

The city of Oruro lies north of the salty lakes Uru-Uru and Poopó and it is just three hours (by bus) south from La Paz. Located at an altitude of 3709 above sea level, Oruro its well known for its cold weather. Warmer temperatures generally take place during August, September and October, after the worst of the winter chills and before the summer rains. From May to early July, night time temperatures combined with cool wind can bring the temperature down to about -40 C. Summers are warmer, but despite the fact of being an arid area, there's quite a lot of rainfall between November and March.

How to Get There
By land:

From La Paz: 230 Km by asphalt roads
From Cochabamba: 212 Km by asphalt road
From Potosí: 321 Km by rubble and asphalt roads
From Sucre: 349 Km by rubble road
From Pisiga (Chilean border): 233 Km by rubble road

By train:

La Paz - Oruro
Potosí - Río Mulatos - Oruro
Villazón (Argentinean border) - Tupiza - Uyuni - Río Mulatos - Oruro
Est. Avaroa (Chilean border) - Uyuni - Río Mulatos - Oruro
Charaña (Chilean border) - Soledad - Oruro

By air: Private jets and airtaxies only

Main Attractions
Carnival Festivities: Annual celebration consisting of brightly custom-dressed dancers performing a wide variety of dances depicting archangels, devils, Incas, Spanish conquistadors etc. The festivities begin the first Saturday before Ash Wednesday. Also know as the Diablada
Museo Patiño: Former residence of "tin baron" Simon Patiño
Museo Mineralógico: (Mining Museum) Exhibits of precious stones, minerals, and fossils.
Museo Etnográfico Minero: Housed in a mine tunnel, depicts methods of Bolivian mining
Museo Nacional Antropológico: (Anthropological Museum) Displays tools and information on the Chipayas and Urus tribes
Churches: Main plaza cathedral, Santuario de la Virgen de Socavón, Iglesia de Cunchupata

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