The constitutional Capital City of Bolivia is marked by history, because the independence of the country was proclaimed in one of its old mansions on August 6th in 1825. Because of its monumental constructions, Sucre, located at 2750 m.a.s.l., received the title of Cultural Patrimony of Humanity, a nomination that makes the residents of this welcoming Andean city feel proud.
Tranquility and serenity. Clasped hands as a tender symbol. A boy rips the silver cover off a chocolate. A man rests on a wooden bench after his walk and combs his mustaches, he smiles and he seems to remember something. The bells of the Cathedral chime: calls of faith in a square of cropped long-branched trees, in which whispers and voices of soft words are entwined.
The sounds of faith disappear. The bells are silenced. The devote people accelerate their step. They do not want to get late to their encounter with God and get lost in the darkness of the temple; then the adorned calm of routine returns to the Plaza 25 de Mayo, the serene heart of the constitutional Capital City of Bolivia - Sucre. Monumental, discreet, silent and academic. City of churches of golden altars and mansions inhabited by history.
The wind whispers in the sleepy square. The swinging bowers of the trees let some leaves fall and a little kid picks them up and after observing them he put them in his pocket. He leaves jumping his way along... "How do you like the city?" a little girl with a smooth, warm and transparent voice asks, inquires, breaking the silence.
"I am glad you like it!", she screams, the little girl that broke the silence seems to be really happy now; then, she keeps silent, thinks, meditates for a couple of seconds. She talks again: "Everybody thinks that La Paz is the Capital City of the country, but they are wrong, this is the Capital", she affirms in a tone between impatience and irritation... "Because it is not fair that they forget that the independence of Bolivia was proclaimed here".
It is August 6th, in 1825 in the biggest classroom of the Royal Major and Pontifical University of San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca where the members of the Deliberating Assembly meet. The encounter is of vital importance for the future of the called Alto Peru. Everybody is aware of the transcendental and historical decision that they are about to take: to declare the independence of a country that would be called Bolivia in honour of the liberator Simon Bolivar.
The House of the Freedom flanks the heart of Sucre. Built in 1621, this colonial building that was part of the convent of the Jesuits is the most important historical monument in the country... "but it is not the only interesting thing in the city", she affirms with smooth voice and points out the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral with its dome crowned by the cross of Carabuco, made by the residents of a community next to the mythical Titicaca lake.
And the allegation continues. Now she describes the Chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe that holds the dearest image for the Sucre People; the church of San Francisco, where we can find the "bell of the freedom" whose tolling incited the first call for insurrection in 1809, and the traditional Plaza Pedro Anzure, the place where the city was founded in 1540.
bridge and a castle
The guide -with the appearance of a student , seems to go crazyamong the storm of words and explanations, because she speaks of the Prince Francisco and the Princess Clotilde, who ordered to build a fabulous castle in the outskirts of the city, and an identical park to the French Champs Elysees, right in front of the building of the Supreme Court of Justice, and a robust bridge on the road that leads to Potosí.
"Why do you look at me like that? Don't you believe me? -She arches her brows, she seems to be bothered, the little Sucre girl is upset- It doesn't matter, I will tell you the story anyway!… then, the story of the Prince Francisco Argandona and of his beloved wife Clotilde starts. They enjoyed an endless wealth that allowed them to travel to Europe to assert their title of nobility and, at the same time, to receive the Papal blessing.
And as there is not a prince without a castle, the Argandonas
-whose wealth came from the exploitation of the mines of silver of Potosí- hired, at the end of the 19th Century, a group of famous Argentinean architects to be in charge of the construction of their magnificent residence in European style that would be located at 7 kilometers away from downtown.
The works lasted 8 years. The result was a strange mixture of architectural styles. In spite of the fact that the walls and towers of the castle of La Glorieta have suffered the blows of the time and the abandonment, they still evidence its Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, neoclassicists and Mudejar features.
The bells of the Cathedral are heard once again.
People leave the temple. A moment of agitation. The city accelerates its beats. The man that was combing his mustache decides to leave. The boy has made a ball with his silver paper. There is not any voice breaking the silence in the Square. The guide has left. Sucre continues with its calm routine.