Vale un Potosi or the Mountain that Eats Men

The Cerro Rico Mountain stands above what was once the largest silver deposit in the world.

It is said that with the contents of the mountain one could build a bridge of silver from Potosi to Spain and a bridge of skeletons all the way back.

It is believed that around 8 million indigenous people died whilst working in the mines of Cerro Rico during the Spanish Conquest.

The mining community in Potosi is one of few places in the world that seems to remain untouched by time. Life in the mining community is very simple. The miners are proud people who prefer to work there instead of anywhere else because it proves their strength and pays better than any job in Bolivia. The only language they speak is Qechua.

Strong alcohol and coca leaves are all the sustenance they need for a day`s work in the mine.

Forty-two organizations currently operate the mines in Serro Rico. Generations of miners continue to work in harsh conditions despite the fact that the life expectancy of a miner in Bolivia is below forty-five.

Once they enter the mine they believe their lives are at the mercy of the horned god, El Tio. Offerings are made to him by each worker upon entrance to the mine to prevent accidents and bad luck.

Once one of the largest and richest cities in the world there is not much left in Potosi today, but the pride of the workers that continue to mine.