El Alto, La Paz
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|El Alto, La Paz|
|Department||La Paz Department|
|Province||Pedro Domingo Murillo|
|Municipality||El Alto Municipality|
|• Mayor||Edgar Patana|
|• Total||363 km2 (140 sq mi)|
|Elevation||4,150 m (13,620 ft)|
|• Density||3,300/km2 ( 8,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||BOT (UTC−4)|
At one time merely a suburb of adjacent La Paz, Bolivia, on the Altiplano highlands, the city of El Alto (Spanish for The Heights) is today one of Bolivia's largest and fastest-growing urban centers. The population in 2010 was 1,184,942.
The city contains La Paz's El Alto International Airport. El Alto is one of the highest major cities in the world, up to 4150 meters (13,615 feet) above sea level. It has a cold climate, reaching the maximum temperature of 17 °C (63 °F) in summer. It is one of the fastest-growing city in Bolivia, due to a trend in migration from Bolivia's rural areas to the La Paz region that started with the rural reform of 1952 and increased in the last 10 years. Some migrants say the difficulty of growing crops in the countryside drove them to move to the city.
El Alto is the largest city in Latin America which has a mostly Amerindian population. About 76% of its inhabitants are Aymara, 9% are Quechua, 15% are Mestizo (descendants of Amerindian and White Europeans) and less than 0.1% are Criollos (of European descent).. El Alto was once known as La Paz's bedroom community, though recent growth of commerce and industry has led some local authorities[who?] to claim the title of "Bolivia's Economic Capital." Along with that industrial growth concern about water pollution by businesses including tanneries and slaughterhouse has become an issue for the city and communities downstream. Rapid population growth means the city struggles to bring potable water and sewer service to parts of the population, especially on the fringes of the expanding urban area.
The dry and inclement plain above La Paz was uninhabited until 1903, when the newly built railways from Lake Titicaca and Arica reached the rim of the canyon, where the La Paz terminus, railyards and depots were built along with a settlement of railway workers (a spur line down into the canyon opened in 1905). In 1925 the airfield was built as base for the new air force, which attracted additional settlement. In 1939 El Alto's first elementary school opened. El Alto started to grow tremendously in the 1950s, when the settlement was connected to La Paz' water supply (before that all water had to be transported from La Paz in tanker vehicles) and building land in the canyon became more and more short and expensive. In an administrative reform on March 6, 1985 the district of El Alto and surroundings was politically separated from the City of La Paz (this date is officially referred to and celebrated as the city's "founding day"). In 1987 El Alto was formally incorporated as a city. In 1994, the city became the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Alto.
Museo de Arte Antonio Paredes Candia opened in 2002. From 2003 to present times, access from La Paz to the international airport, as well to oil and gas supplies, has been frequently blocked by protesting El Alto social leaders, who have become some of the most powerful players in the politics of Bolivia. El Alto was - and remains - one of the major centers of the Bolivian gas conflict.
See also 
- La Paz
- List of highest towns by country
- List of highest cities in the world
- List of highest large cities in the world
- INE, Bolivia. "LA PAZ: POBLACIÓN TOTAL PROYECTADA, POR SEXO, SEGÚN PROVINCIA Y SECCIÓN DE PROVINCIA". INE Bolivia. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Vidal, John (12 April 2011). "El Alto, city of rural migrants whose crops failed when the climate changed". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Shahriari, Sara (12 Jan 2012). "Urban population boom threatens Lake Titicaca". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Shahriari, Sara (25 Jan 2012). "Dry Toilets: The Answer to a Bolivian City's Sewage Crisis?". The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- William Neuman (May 13, 2013). "A Colorful Bolivian Bastion, Floating Above It All". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
Further reading 
- Lazar, Sian (2008), El Alto, Rebel City, Duke University Press, ISBN 978-0-8223-4154-3
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: El Alto|
- Weather in El Alto
- El Alto Bolivia
- El Alto Bolivia(ES)
- INE - Instituto Nacional de Estadística de Bolivia