La Paz Cathedral stands side by side with the Presidential Palace on Plaza Murillo, a historic space that draws everyone from strolling families to political protesters. While it’s less frequented than the nearby Church of San Francisco, the La Paz Cathedral’s lofty ceilings and brilliant stained glass are well worth a detour.
Included on many sightseeing tours of the city, La Paz Cathedral was only completed in 1989, but its neoclassical architecture evokes the period in 1835 when the first stones were laid. Officially known as the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, La Paz (Catedral Basílica Menor de Nuestra Señora de la Paz), the cathedral contains fascinating stained glass that outshines its relatively simple altar; look for images of Bolivian politicians receiving blessings from heaven.
Things to Know Before You Go
- La Paz Cathedral will be of interest to architecture buffs and history lovers.
- Not much information is posted in the cathedral, so consider visiting with a guide to learn more about the building’s history and architecture.
- No photography is allowed inside the cathedral.
How to Get There
La Paz Cathedral is located on the southwest corner of Plaza Murillo, in the heart of downtown La Paz. It’s a 5-minute walk from Plaza San Francisco, which is the area hub for taxis and public transport. Since some guided tours offer pickup and drop-off at city hotels, they can be a convenient way to cut down on transit time.
When to Get There
La Paz Cathedral is usually open from 3:30pm to 7pm on weekdays and during daylight hours on Saturdays and Sundays. (Hours can vary without notice.) If you’re visiting during the week, it’s worth arriving before sunset to see the stained glass to best advantage. No admission is charged, but donations are accepted.
What to See in Plaza Murillo
After you check out La Paz Cathedral, head back outside for a stroll around Plaza Murillo. Right next door you’ll find the Presidential Palace, often with guards in formal red uniforms. Walk across the plaza to see the congress building, stopping by the impressive statue at the center of the square; it’s a heroic image of Pedro Domingo Murillo, who played a key role in Bolivia’s bid for independence from Spain.