English Français

Sajama National Park

Date of Submission: 01/07/2003
Category: Mixed
Submitted by:
Viceministerio de Cultura, Ministerio de Desarrollo Económico Palacio Chico Potosí esq. Ayacuc
Coordinates: 17°55´-18°15´ S / 68°41’ – 69°10’ W Within the Sajama National Park there are heights that range between 4.200 and 6.600 meters above sea level.
Ref.: 1813
Cultural landscapes
Word File

The Secretariat of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Heritage Centre do not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information or documentation provided by the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to the Secretariat of UNESCO or to the World Heritage Centre.

The publication of any such advice, opinion, statement or other information documentation on the World Heritage Centre’s website and/or on working documents also does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of UNESCO or of the World Heritage Centre concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


The Sajama National Park includes geological natural wonders made up of flora, fauna, thermal springs and also cultural wonders such as polychromed chullpas (pre-hispanic burial buildings), cave paintings, pucaras and colonial architecture and art. The native population, proud of what they have, has always tried to preserve their way of life as well as the ambience that surrounds it. The park is the first protected area in Bolivia. It was declared a natural reserve in 1939 because of its kheñua (Polilepis tarapacana) that grows on its hillsides and that constitute the highest forests in the world. The region’s main inhabitants are Aymara Indians of Caranga origin, grouped in ayllus. The area is one of the ones that has best preserved the traditional indigenous social organizations, the customs and mythic-religious beliefs. During the 1980s, the citizens of the counties that make up the Park grouped together in an organization called “Jacchacarangas”, which means “Great Carangas”, with the purpose of strengthening the ayllus and improve the production activities. According to the 1992 National Statistic Institute census, the region’s inhabitants reached 7.891. It is estimated that to date, this number has diminished because migration toward the capital, La Paz, has grown. Calculations show about 300 families in the affluence zone and about 100 in the Park’s interior. The population’s main occupation is camelid herding and yarn spinning. Circular houses, traditional to the Aymara, can still be found today. Agriculture is much reduced due to the extreme climatic conditions: freezes and dry land are prevalent. The crops are limited to quinoa and luki potatoes. The Sajama province is divided in two sections: Carahuara de Caranga and Turco. The counties, because of the Ley de Participación Popular (Popular Participation Law) have grouped together in Organizaciones Territoriales de Base. The aforementioned law grants them the right to decide how to spend the moneys the government allots them. They also have Oversight Committees to supervise the use of from the Popular Participation Law. The communities that live in the area maintain their socio-economic as well as religious traditions, following the same pattern they have followed for almost 500 years.