El Alto is the second-largest city in Bolivia, located adjacent to La Paz in Pedro Domingo Murillo Province on the Altiplano highlands. El Alto is today one of Bolivia’s fastest-growing urban centres, with a population of 974,754 in 2011. The city contains La Paz’s El Alto International Airport. El Alto is one of the highest major cities in the world, up to 4,150 meters (13,615 feet) above mean sea level. It has a cold climate, with the highest average monthly maximum temperature being 17 °C (63 °F) in November.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
With a dense population and rapidly growing industry, El Alto is no longer just a suburb of La Paz, but an economical centre in its own right. In the early 1900s, the city’s population mainly consisted of railway workers building connections to Lake Titicaca and Arica.
Brief City History
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 a 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’s water supply (before this, all water had to be transported from La Paz in tanker vehicles) and building land in the canyon became more and more scarce and expensive. In an administrative reform in March 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.
El Alto, known for its teeming streets and traffic, broke gender barriers by hiring “cholitas” in December 2013. These Aymara women dress in traditional, multi-layered Andean skirts and brightly embroidered vests, and work as traffic cops to bring order to its road chaos. In recent years, Bolivia’s cholitas have been breaking social barriers, conducting television programs, working in offices, holding public posts, and participating in native fashion shows and beauty contests. El Alto is the largest city in Latin America with 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 (White). 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.” With this industrial growth, there is concern about water pollution by businesses, including tanneries and slaughterhouses, 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. Much of the city’s roads are unpaved and most citizens do not have access to running water, sewerage, electricity, or garbage collection for their homes.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
Important Types Many of El Alto’s residents speak Aymara. However, the language that has been spoken in this region since even before the Incas’ rule is in need of some new vocabulary.
Important types of Commerce in El Alto
The manufacture of gold jewelry has also become an important industry in La Paz and El Alto. Food industries include flour milling, dairying, sugar refining, brewing, and alcohol distilling.
Language Services US and others will provide working with El Alto
Aymara language service is important to consider when doing business in El Alto as it is the major language used in the country. Individuals or companies in various sector such as Legal, Machinery and technologies, Business, Finance, Medicine, Advertising, communications, PR, Transport, Computer hardware and software, Science, Agriculture, Automotive, European Union Documents, Legal, Government, Industrial, Life Science, Retail, and Technology would require to indulge in professional translation to adapt documents expertly to and from El Alto.
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