The city of Potosí, Bolivia (the word “potosí” meaning “a fortune” in Spanish) was once one of the largest cities in the world and the silver mining capital of the Spanish Empire, where an estimated 8 million miners died as a result. The silver has long dried up and what’s left of Potosí today is an impoverished city with hints of a grander past.
As I explored the city center and nearby streets, I was intrigued by the nostalgic appeal of the doors to people’s homes. The worn surfaces and faded colors give the doors a lot of character. But besides their rustic charm, I think they are also symbolic and illustrative of Potosí’s underlying spirit today.