La Paz, Bolivia, is a city that defies expectations. Interesting juxtapositions abound.
One of the most striking things about the city is the European architecture that's often crumbling in disrepair. It immediately reminds visitors of Bolivia's colonial history. Yet, as an outsider looking in, it's hard to sort through the overwhelming combination of architectural styles that have collided over the course of nearly two hundred years of Bolivian independence. Who would have expected to find a building designed by the same man who designed the Eiffel Tower?
We certainly didn't expect to find a museum designed by Gustave Eiffel, but, at Untapped Cities, we're all about uncovering the most unusual things a city has to offer. Located on the Prado in the center of the city, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo has all the architectural features of a luxurious nineteenth century home: a wrought iron staircase painted gold against red walls, spacious rooms with high ceilings and moldings where chandeliers once hung, a large stained glass window framing a golden sculpture of a woman, and a huge vaulted glass and wrought iron skylight designed by Gustave Eiffel.
All of the artwork in the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo is for sale. Most of it is rather conventional in style. The architecture, however, is spectacular. For that reason alone, the museum is definitely worth a visit.
In fact, Eiffel also designed the train station in La Paz, which is now used as a bus depot, as well as several other buildings in Latin America, including in Peru, Chile and Mexico.