Oruro, Bolivia

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Uru Uru
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Oruro (South America)
Coordinates: 17°58′S67°07′W / 17.967°S 67.117°W / -17.967; -67.117
Country Bolivia
Department Oruro Department
Province Cercado Province
FoundedNovember 1, 1606
  MayorRossío Pimentel
  City1,633 km2 (631 sq mi)
3,735 m (12,254 ft)
 (2012 Census)[ dead link ]
Time zone UTC-4 (BOT)
Website Official website

Oruro (Hispanicized spelling) or Uru Uru [1] is a city in Bolivia with a population of 264,683 (2012 calculation), [2] about halfway between La Paz and Sucre in the Altiplano, approximately 3,709 meters (12,169 ft) above sea level.


It is Bolivia's fifth-largest city by population, after Santa Cruz de la Sierra, El Alto, La Paz, and Cochabamba. It is the capital of the Department of Oruro and the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oruro. Oruro has been subject to cycles of boom and bust owing to its dependence on the mining industry, notably tin, tungsten (wolfram), silver and copper.


The city was founded on November 1, 1606, by Don Manuel Castro de Padilla. as a silver-mining center in the Urus region. At the time it was named Real Villa de San Felipe de Austria, after the Spanish monarch Philip III. It thrived for a while, but it was eventually abandoned as the silver mines became exhausted. [3]

Oruro was reestablished by European Bolivians in the late nineteenth century as a tin mining center. [4] It was named after the native tribe Uru-Uru. For a time, the La Salvadora tin mine was the most important source of tin in the world. Gradually, as this resource became less plentiful, Oruro again went into a decline. Its economy is still based on the mining industry. [4]


While traditionally based upon mining, Oruro has become increasingly popular for tourism since the late 20th century. In the early 21st century, Oruro's economy grew through trade and economic connections with Chile, especially for exporting products to Pacific markets. It transported products by road through Chile to the Pacific port of Iquique to open new connections to external markets; it also used the rail connection through Uyuni to the port at Antofagasta for exports. [5] Thanks to increased road building, Oruro has become important as a waystation on the overland route of goods from the Atlantic port of Santos, Brazil, through Puerto Suárez and Santa Cruz to the capital, La Paz. [6]

The city is served by the Oruro Airport.

Culture and education

Despite its economic decline, the city attracts numerous tourists to its Carnaval de Oruro, considered one of the great folkloric events in South America for its masked "diablada" [7] and Anata. [8]

Carnaval de Oruro, Bolivia, 2007 Carnaval de Oruro dia I (60).JPG
Carnaval de Oruro, Bolivia, 2007

The Oruro Symphony Orchestra is based in the city. Aymara painter and printmaker Alejandro Mario Yllanes (1913–1960) was born here. [9]

The Universidad Técnica de Oruro, noted for its engineering school, is located in Oruro. [10]


Oruro lies north of the salty lakes Uru Uru and Poopó. It is three hours (by bus) from La Paz. Located at an altitude of 3709 meters above sea level, Oruro is well known for its cold weather. Warmer temperatures generally take place during August, September and October, after the worst of the winter chills and before the summer rains. From May to early July, night time temperatures combined with cool wind can bring the temperature down to about -20 °C. Summers are warmer, and, although it is an arid area, it has considerable rainfall between November and March. The Köppen climate classification describes the climate as a cool subtropical highland climate, bordering on a cold semi-arid climate, abbreviated Cwb and Bsk. [11] Due to the warm days and dry winters, snow is not a frequent occurrence as much as the bitter cold (especially at night); however, flurries can fall usually once every few years, most recently July 4, 2015. [12] The other three most recent snowfalls were those of 13 June 2013, [13] 1 September 2010 (with accumulation), [14] as well as one in 2008.

Climate data for Oruro
Average high °C (°F)16
Average low °C (°F)3
Average precipitation mm (inches)94
Source: Weatherbase [15]

Main attractions


Because of a high proportion of German-speaking residents, many of whom came as immigrants to work in the mines, the area once had a German school, Deutsche Schule Oruro. [16]

Twin cities

Notable people from Oruro

See also

Related Research Articles

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Aymara people

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Oruro Department Department of Bolivia

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Altiplano Plateau in west-central South America

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Lake Poopó

Lake Poopó was a large saline lake in a shallow depression in the Altiplano Mountains in Oruro Department, Bolivia, at an altitude of approximately 3,700 m (12,100 ft). Because the lake was long and wide, it made up the eastern half of the department, known as a mining region in southwest Bolivia. The permanent part of the lake body covered approximately 1,000 square kilometres (390 sq mi) and it was the second-largest lake in the country. The lake received most of its water from the Desaguadero River, which flows from Lake Titicaca at the north end of the Altiplano. Since the lake lacked any major outlet and had a mean depth of less than 3 m (10 ft), the surface area differed greatly seasonally.

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Cercado Province (Oruro) Province in Oruro, Bolivia

Cercado is a province in the northeastern parts of the Bolivian department of Oruro. Its capital is Oruro. The hamlet of Paria, established in 1535, was the first Spanish settlement in Bolivia and previously had been a regional capital of the Inca Empire. Paria is located in Soracachi municipality.

Eduardo Abaroa Province Province in Oruro, Bolivia

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Carnaval de Oruro

The Carnival of Oruro is a religious and cultural festival in Oruro, Bolivia. It has been celebrated since the 18th century. Originally an indigenous festival, the celebration later was transformed to incorporate a Christian ritual around the Virgin of Candelaria . The carnival is one of UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.


The Kullawada, kullahuada, cullaguada or kullawa is a dance practiced in Bolivia and in the Peruvian highlands. The origin and sense of heritage identity of this dance is disputed. The name of the dance probably derives from the word in Aymara language kullakanakawa("they are sisters" in English) and later due to a clipping it would be renamed kullawa. It is represented both in Bolivia, in the Carnival of Oruro; as in Peru, in the Fiesta de la Candelaria.

Uru Uru Lake

Uru Uru Lake is a lake in the Oruro Department in Bolivia. It is fed by the Desaguadero River and the Jach'a Jawira. It is situated at an elevation of 3,686 m, its surface area is 214 km².

The Diablada or Danza de los Diablos, is an original and typical Andean dance characterized by the mask and devil suit worn by the performers. The dance is a mixture of religious theatrical presentations brought from Spain and Andean religious ceremonies such as the Llama llama dance in honour of the Uru god Tiw, and the Aymaran miners' ritual to Anchanchu.

Diablada is a Bolivian cultural manifestation expressed in music, clothing and dance, one of the most representative of the Department of Oruro and Bolivia, it can be seen mainly in the Carnaval de Oruro. The scene of the origin, development and consolidation of the diablada is Oruro.

The Diablada or Danza de Diablos is a dance created characterized by the mask and devil suit worn by the dancers.

Pukara means a ruin of the fortifications made by the natives of the central Andean cultures.

Wallatiri (Poopó)

Wallatiri is a mountain in the Andes of Bolivia, about 4,100 m (13,500 ft) high. It is situated in the Oruro Department, Poopó Province, Poopó Municipality. Wallatiri lies south of Qala Pirqata.


  1. Yaticha Kamani / Ministerio de Educación, Aymara aru thakhinchawi, Chuqi Yapu 2011
  2. "World Gazetteer". World-Gazetteer.com. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  3. Oscar Cornblit. Power and Violence in the Colonial City: Oruro from the Mining Renaissance to the Rebellion of Tupac Amaru (1740-1782). Trans. Elizabeth Ladd Glick. New York: Cambridge University Press 1995.
  4. 1 2 "Oruro: History". Lonely Planet.
  5. Ancalle, Milka Ruth Cayoja (2012). Oruro Como Centro Estratégico Comercial Internacional de Bolivia: Competitividad y Consecuencias del Proceso (PDF). (Master's Thesis, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile). Institute of Urban and Regional Studies, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  6. Ancalle 2012 , p. 27
  7. Kartomi, Margaret Joy & Blum, Stephen (1994). Music-Cultures In Contact: Convergences And Collisions. Basel, Switzerland: Gordon and Breach. p.  63. ISBN   978-2-88449-137-2.
  8. G. N. Devy, Geoffrey V. Davis, K. K. Chakravarty, Knowing Differently: The Challenge of the Indigenous, ISBN   1317325680 (2015). Quote: "The Anata is a festivity celebrated since the early 1990s in the city of Oruro, but it is linked to pre-Hispanic agricultural practices in the rural highlands related to fertility. The most public expression of the Anata in Oruro is a danced parade that is ..."
  9. Raynor, Vivien. ART; "Works by a Vanished Bolivian Painter", New York Times. 5 April 1992 (retrieved 2 May 2009)
  10. "Official Facultad Nacional de Ingeniería (National Engineering School) webpage" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  11. "Oruro, Bolivia Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". weatherbase.com. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  12. "La Paz, El Alto y Oruro se visten de blanco por densa nevada". Periodico del Estado Nacional de Bolivia CAMBIO. Archived from the original on 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  13. "Después de tres años nevó en la ciudad de Oruro". La Patria.
  14. "Nieve, nubosidad y lluvia primaron en la última jornada". La Patria.
  15. "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Oruro". Weatherbase. 2011. Retrieved on November 24, 2011.
  16. "Deutscher Bundestag 4. Wahlperiode Drucksache IV/3672" (Archived 2016-03-12 at the Wayback Machine ). Bundestag (West Germany). 23 June 1965. Retrieved on 12 March 2016. p. 18/51.
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-02. Retrieved 2013-02-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. http://www.bolivianexpress.org/blog/posts/the-top-10-bolivian-beers

Coordinates: 17°58′S67°07′W / 17.967°S 67.117°W / -17.967; -67.117