Nuestra Señora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace) is the seat of government of Bolivia, as well as the departmental capital of the La Paz Department, and the second largest city in the country (in population) after Santa Cruz de la Sierra. It is located in the western part of the country in the department of the same name at an elevation of roughly 3,650 m (the city is built on steep hills) above sea level, making it the world's highest de facto capital city, or administrative capital, with Quito being the highest legal capital.
While the official capital of Bolivia is Sucre and it is the seat of Justice, La Paz has more government departments. The city sits in a "bowl" surrounded by the high mountains of the altiplano.
As it grows, the city of La Paz climbs the hills, resulting in varying elevations from 3,200 to 4,100 m. Overlooking the city is towering triple-peaked Illimani, which is always snow-covered and can be seen from several spots of the city, including from the neighbor city of El Alto. As of the 2008 census, the city had a population of 877,363. La Paz Metropolitan area, formed by the cities of La Paz, El Alto and Viacha, make the most populous urban area of Bolivia, with a population of 2.3 million inhabitants and surpassing the metropolitan area of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
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