The landlocked nation of Bolivia is named after the South American nationalist Simon Bolivar, who led the fight for independence in much of Spanish controlled Latin and South America. Ironically however, Bolivia is actually the South American nation that has retained much of its pre-Columbian culture and customs.

This is especially true in La Paz, the largest city in Bolivia and the nation’s legislative capital. You’ll still hear a variety of native languages mixed in with Spanish, and this is dominated by the Aymara language and customs.

But the city also has numerous Spanish influences as well, much dating to the long colonial period. The city is home to the country’s Supreme Court and other governmental buildings, and much like America’s Washington, DC, La Paz was laid out in a way to separate the government buildings from the rest of the city. The center of the city is the Plaza Murillo, and this includes the official buildings for government along with the city’s cathedral.

Today La Paz is a growing city that is expanding in many directions, and it remains vibrant with a mix of customs from numerous eras. And while La Paz has never had an influx of immigrants, such as numerous American cities, it still features unique neighborhoods with plenty of diversity. This makes La Paz a truly vibrant city with a South American flavor all its own.