In 1991 UNESCO declared the city a ‘Patrimonio Historico y Cultural de la Humanidad’ (World Cultural Heritage Site) and it’s easy to see why. It’s an absolute must for enthusiasts of colonial religious architecture, with many beautiful churches, all painted white. In keeping with colonial tradition, the entire core of the city is painted white, earning it the name of ’La Ciudad Blanca’. Sucre is not just a colonial museum, though, but a thriving university city. It is known as the student capital of Bolivia and thousands of students fill every street, plaza, bar and cafe. There are two universities, the oldest, Universidad Mayor de San Francisco Xavier, dates from 1624. This was the main source of libertarian thought and gave birth to the very first demands for independence heard on the continent, on 25 May 1809.
Surrounding this sparkling white colonial masterpiece is a hinterland of traditional weaving villages such as Tarabuco, which burst into life during their frequent market days and festivals. Dinosaur-hunters are also making tracks for Sucre, with the discovery of many prehistoric footprints.