Uyuni

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Uyuni
The street market in the town centre of Uyuni
The street market in the town centre of Uyuni
Uyuni is located in Bolivia
Uyuni
Uyuni
Location in Bolivia
Coordinates: 20°28′12″S 66°50′50″W / 20.47000°S 66.84722°W / -20.47000; -66.84722Coordinates: 20°28′12″S 66°50′50″W / 20.47000°S 66.84722°W / -20.47000; -66.84722
Country Flag of Bolivia.svg Bolivia
Department Potosí Department
Province Antonio Quijarro Province
Municipality Uyuni Municipality
Canton Uyuni Canton
Population (2012)
 • Total 10,460
 • Ethnicities Quechua, Aymara
Time zone GMT-4

Uyuni (Aymara, uyu pen (enclosure), yard, cemetery,[1] -ni a suffix to indicate ownership, "the one that has got a pen", "the one with a pen") is a city in the southwest of Bolivia. It primarily serves as a gateway for tourists visiting the world's largest salt flats, the nearby Uyuni salt flat.

Founded in 1890 as a trading post, the town has a population of 10,460 (2012 official estimate). The town has an extensive street-market. It lies at the edge of an extensive plain at an elevation of 3,700 m (12,139 ft) above sea level, with more mountainous country to the east.

There is little agriculture in the area because water supplies are scarce and somewhat saline. Today the town's primary function is as a gateway for tourists visiting the world's largest salt flats - the Uyuni salt flat. Each year Uyuni receives approximately 60,000 visitors from around the globe. The city also acts as a gateway for commerce and traffic crossing into and out of Bolivia from and to Chile, and there is a customs and immigration post downtown.

Transport[edit]

It is an important transport hub, being the location of a major railway junction. Four lines join here, respectively from La Paz (via Oruro), Calama (in Chile), Potosí, and Villazón (on the Argentine border, where the line now ends).

Uyuni is connected by road to Oruro - La Paz, Sucre, Villazón (border with Argentina) and Ollagüe, Chile.

The city is also served by the Joya Andina Airport. Currently, two local airlines are flying regularly to the city from La Paz, Sucre and Rurrenabaque: Amazonas and Transporte Aéreo Militar.

Tourist attractions[edit]

Train cemetery[edit]

One of the major tourist attractions of the area is an antique train cemetery. It is located 3 km outside Uyuni and is connected to it by the old train tracks. The town served in the past as a distribution hub for the trains carrying minerals on their way to the Pacific Ocean ports. The train lines were built by British engineers who arrived near the end of the 19th century and formed a sizable community in Uyuni. The engineers were invited by British-sponsored Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway Companies, which is now Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia. The rail construction started in 1888 and ended in 1892. It was encouraged by the then Bolivian President Aniceto Arce, who believed Bolivia would flourish with a good transport system, but it was also constantly sabotaged by the local indigenous people who saw it as an intrusion into their lives. The trains were mostly used by the mining companies. In the 1940s, the mining industry collapsed, partly due to the mineral depletion. Many trains were abandoned thereby producing the train cemetery. There are talks to build a museum out of the cemetery.[2]

Train cemetery

Images[edit]

Climate[edit]

According to the Köppen climate classification, Uyuni has a tundra climate (ET) because the mean temperature in the warmest month is below 10° C. However, it borders on the cold desert climate due to low precipitation and a mean annual temperature less than 18° C.

Climate data for Uyuni, Bolivia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 37
(99)
32
(90)
30
(86)
28
(82)
23
(73)
21
(70)
20
(68)
22
(72)
22
(72)
30
(86)
36
(97)
33
(91)
37
(99)
Average high °C (°F) 18
(64)
18
(64)
17
(63)
17
(63)
15
(59)
13
(55)
13
(55)
15
(59)
18
(64)
19
(66)
20
(68)
19
(66)
17
(63)
Average low °C (°F) 1
(34)
1
(34)
−1
(30)
−7
(19)
−13
(9)
−13
(9)
−11
(12)
−12
(10)
−10
(14)
−8
(18)
−3
(27)
−1
(30)
−6
(21)
Record low °C (°F) −6
(21)
−7
(19)
−12
(10)
−17
(1)
−22
(−8)
−18
(0)
−20
(−4)
−21
(−6)
−18
(0)
−12
(10)
−12
(10)
−10
(14)
−22
(−8)
Rainfall mm (inches) 70
(2.76)
40
(1.57)
10
(0.39)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
30
(1.18)
150
(5.91)
Avg. rainy days 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 10
 % humidity 48 52 48 48 38 42 35 34 31 30 35 39 40
Source: Weatherbase [3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ludovico Bertonio, Aymara-Spanish dictionary (Transcription): Uyu - Cerca o corral o cementerio
  2. ^ David Atkinson (2007). Bolivia: The Bradt Travel Guide. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-84162-165-4. 
  3. ^ "Climate Statistics for Uyuni, Bolivia". Retrieved March 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]