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Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana

Coordinates: 16°10′00″S 69°05′07″W / 16.16667°S 69.08528°W / -16.16667; -69.08528
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana
Basilica Nuestra Señora de Copacabana
vista santuario copacabana
AffiliationCatholic Church
DistrictDiocese of El Alto
ProvinceManco Kapac
RiteRoman Rite
LocationCopacabana, Bolivia
StateLa Paz
Geographic coordinates16°10′00″S 69°05′07″O
Architect(s)Francisco Jiménez de Siguenza
Sitio Web

The Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana is a 17th-century Spanish colonial shrine that houses the image of the Virgen de Copacabana.[1] It is located in the town of Copacabana, Bolivia on the shores of Lake Titicaca near the Altiplano region. Our Lady of Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia.[2]



Around 1576, indigenous sculptor Francisco Tito Yupanqui carved an image of Nuestra Senora de Virgen de la Candelaria.[3] It was brought to Copacabana, as the statue of the tutelar protectress of the community. Soon miracles were attributed to the intercession of the Virgen de Copacabana. An adobe shrine constructed about 1583. The shrine was constructed at the foot of a small, steep, hill in a location formerly known as the Temple of the Sun--an area sacred to the Inca--it remains as one of two principle sacred places to both the indigenous peoples and Catholics alike; the other location being the Virgin of Urkupiña near Cochabamba, Bolivia.[4][5] In 1589, friars of the Order of Saint Augustine were entrusted with the management of the shrine, establishing a monastery and maintaining a detailed record of the Virgin's miracles.[6]

The Augustinians built their first chapel between the 1614 and 1618. The current building was built between 1669 and 1679[7] by the Spanish architect Francisco Jiménez de Siguenza replacing the former church. It was officially elevated to the rank of Basilica in 1940.[3]

Cerro El Calvario

Calvario above Copacabana

The hilltop overlooking Lake Titicaca was rededicated as a "calvario" or replica of Calvary and is topped by the Stations of the Seven Sorrows of Mary and an altar with a depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a major centre of worship throughout the region during Holy Week, especially on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

April 2013 Robbery


In the early hours of Monday, 22 April 2013, the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana was robbed and the image of the Virgen de Copacabana was stripped of her gold and silver accessories.[8] Initial reports indicate that twenty-eight items, including the sculpture of the baby Jesus, were removed from the Virgen de Copacabana by thieves who entered the building using a ladder stolen from a nearby telecommunications station.[9]


  1. ^ "Virgen de la Candelaria - Copacabana, Bolivia". www.sacred-destinations.com. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  2. ^ Salles-Reese, Verónica (1997). From Viracocha to the Virgin of Copacabana: Representation of the Sacred at lake Titicaca (1st ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 166–167. ISBN 0292777132.
  3. ^ a b Aradi, Zsolt (1954). Shrines to our Lady Around the World (1st ed.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Young. pp. 158–161.
  4. ^ MacCormack, Sabine (1984). "From the Sun of the Incas to the Virgin of Copacabana". Representations. 1984 (8): 30–60. doi:10.2307/2928557. JSTOR 2928557 – via JSTOR.
  5. ^ Albro, Robert (1998). "Neoliberal Ritualists of Urkupiña: Bedeviling Patrimonial Identity in a Bolivian Patronal Fiesta". Ethnology. 37 (2, Special Issue: Relocating Bolivia: Popular Political Perspectives): 133–164. doi:10.2307/3774001. JSTOR 3774001 – via JSTOR.
  6. ^ MacCormack, Sabine (2010). "Human and Divine Love in a Pastoral Setting: The Histories of Copacabana on Lake Titicaca". Representations. 112 (1): 54–86. doi:10.1525/rep.2010.112.1.54 – via JSTOR.
  7. ^ Pepe Barrascout (5 August 2015). "Nuestra Señora de Copacabana – Bolivia". Cathedral of Escuintla website (in Spanish).
  8. ^ Yates, Donna. "The Virgin of Copacabana has been looted". anonymousswisscollector.com. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  9. ^ Linarez, Iblin. "Los tesoros de la Virgen carecen de seguro antirrobo". la-razon.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-04-30.

16°10′00″S 69°05′07″W / 16.16667°S 69.08528°W / -16.16667; -69.08528