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El Alto

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 centers, with a population of 974,754 in 2011. El Alto is the highest major metropolis in the world, with an average elevation of 4150m.The El Alto-La Paz metropolitan area, formed by the cities of El Alto, La Paz, and Viacha, constitutes the most populous urban area of Bolivia, with a population of 2.3 million inhabitants (greater than the metropolitan area of the country's largest city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra).HistoryEl Alto means The Halt. Alonso de Mendoza stopped here on 23 October 1548 on his way to founding the city of La Paz.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 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 is in La Paz Department. Plan my day in Bolivia using traveler tips and tourist information provided by Inspirock.
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