Potosi is one of the worlds highest cities at an elevation of 4,090 metres (13,420 ft).

Founded in 1546 as a mining town, it soon became one of the largest cities in the world (bigger than London or Paris) with a population exceeding 200,000 people.

Potosi lies beneath Cerro Rico “rich mountain” where 45,000 tons of silver have been extracted over the years.

However now the silver has more or less dried up, the city has declined into poverty. Whatever is left of the silver and other valuable minerals are being extracted by miners in some of the most abysmal conditions imaginable.

The photos below reflect the rich colonial architecture and times.