La Recoleta is a Colonial-era church and convent located high atop a hill in Sucre, Bolivia
. It was built in 1600. Across the plaza from the church, is a long white structure with dozens of arches called El Mirador (the overlook), one of the top tourist attractions in Sucre, Bolivia because it offers a clear, unobstructed view of the entire city.
You can tour La Recoleta to see what conditions were, and continue to be, like for the members of the church who live and work in the convent/cloister. The tour includes a visit to the upstairs choir chambers where you can view a set of antique hand-carved choir seats, the gardens where you'll be shown a great tree known to be over 1000 years old (called the "Arbol Milenario"), and a room that once belonged to a priest and has now been left, untouched, with his belongings so you can see how the priests lived.
At one point in Bolivia's history, La Recoleta was taken over by the military and used as a barracks and command station. Your tour guide will tell you about that part of the church's history as well.
Outside, the church faces a large stone plaza, called the Pedro Anzures plaza, with a fountain in the middle and the arched Mirador structure at the edge of the hill. This is one of the best places to take photographs of the city. To the right there is a small passage that leads back down to the city. You'll find a tiny textiles market there (Andean alpaca sweaters, scarves, hats, mittens, purses, etc.) Just past the market is the ASUR Indigenous Textiles Museum and the Casa Kolping hostel. Back at the arches, there is a set of stairs that leads down to the Café Gourmet Mirador, an outdoor/indoor café that has the best view of the city hands down.
La Recoleta is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 11:30. On Saturdays and Sundays you can request a group tour, if you do so in advance by calling (591-4) 645-1658. The cost is Bs. 10 per person.
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