Alejandra Pau reports for Pagina Siete:
Totora, Bolivia’s architectural gem
With its colonial houses -some abandoned after the earthquake in May 1998- Totora lives its present. The jewel of colonial and republican architecture evokes among its nearly empty streets and rooftops of their old buildings a warm story suspended in time.
With houses 400 years old demonstrating its strength at the time, shake or not to shake the earth, Totora has a charm that few populations remain today which has inspired writers, painters and artists.
It is any day prior to Todos Santos [All Saints Day], after noon. Youth and children out of school, plunges into lethargy Totora. The empty streets are busy for a few kids on bikes, including roosters, chickens, donkeys and dogs. Some seniors sitting chatting on their doorsteps.
Located just over 140 kilometers from the city of Cochabamba, Totora has seen the passing of time. Residents rest in the streets away from the main square, where all movement is centered. The adobe and brick old houses greet, old fogey and beautiful, to walk the lonely paths. Near to the market and in the street, voluptuous fruit and staples are offered.
Its bridges, streets full of nooks and crannies with doors and so many balconies that seem to be made by a goldsmith, and its unique architecture speak of lush times and a history that survived the colony, the Republic and remains stoic in the present.
However, there are more and more constructions that deviate from the particular colonial style village, because, according to its residents, restoration of an old house is more expensive than building a new one.