La Paz is the world’s highest national capital. It is the administrative capital of Bolivia, which lies between 3,250 and 4,100 metres above sea level. The city centre is located in a deep, broad canyon that was formed by the Choqueyapu River.
Founded in 1548, it was first named Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace) by the conquistador Captain Alonso de Mendoza on the site of an Inca village. It was later renamed as La Paz de Ayacucho in 1825. In 1898, it was set as the seat of the national government but Sucre is still Bolivia's constitutional capital, where the country's Supreme Court is located while La Paz is home to the executive and legislative centres.
The city is popular for its cultural assets with places like The National Museum of Art, a children's museum, the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, the National Museum of Archaeology, and the Mercado de Brujas (Witches Market), where herbs and other remedies that are used by the local Aymara people are sold. In 1998, the city faced an earthquake which killed hundreds of residents and destroyed many buildings. Santa Cruz overtook La Paz in the wake of the 21st century as Bolivia's most populous city but before that La Paz held that status for many years.
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