Designed in 1558 by Juan Gutiérrez Paniagua, Plaza Murillo was named in honor of Bolivian hero Pedro Murillo, a signatory of the founding document of independence who was captured and hung by Spanish troops in 1810.
During colonial times, Plaza Murillo was the scene of public life, surrounded by beautiful eucalyptus trees and featuring a grand statue of Neptune. The plaza was not only the central square to La Paz’s Spanish settlement, but was also the town’s main source of water, thus becoming the preferred place for people to meet. Plaza Murillo was also the scene of dramatic political battles, with many Independence leaders killed on or near the plaza (most recently was president Gualberto Villarroel in 1946).
Currently, the Plaza is home to a very beautiful cathedrial, Palacio de los Condes de Arana (home to La Paz’s National Museum of Art), colonial government palace (official residence of the President), and National Congress of Bolivia.