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Asunción

Asunción
Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción
Skyline of Old town Asunción
Skyline of the corporate-residential axis
Flag of Asunción
Coat of arms of Asunción
Nickname(s): 
The Mother of Cities, The World's Capital of Friendship.
Asunción is located in Paraguay
Asunción
Asunción
Location in Paraguay
Asunción is located in South America
Asunción
Asunción
Asunción (South America)
Coordinates: 25°18′S 57°38′W / 25.300°S 57.633°W / -25.300; -57.633
Country Paraguay
DistrictCapital District
Founded15 August 1537; 486 years ago (1537-08-15)
Named forAssumption of Mary
Government
 • IntendantÓscar Rodríguez
Area
 • Capital city and district117 km2 (45.2 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,035 km2 (400 sq mi)
Elevation
43 m (141 ft)
Population
 • Estimate 
(2022)
477,346[1]
 • Density4,079/km2 (10,560/sq mi)
 • Metro
2,343,908
Demonym(s)Asunceno, -a
GDP (PPP, constant 2015 values)
 • Year2023
 • Total (Metro)$64.7 billion[2]
 • Per capita$18,400
Postal code
1001–1925
Area code+595 (21)
ClimateCfa
Websitewww.asuncion.gov.py (in Spanish)

Asunción (English: /ɑːˌsnsiˈn, ˌɑːsnˈsjn/,[3][4][5] Spanish: [asunˈsjon]) is the capital and the largest city of Paraguay. The city stands on the eastern bank of the Paraguay River, almost at the confluence of this river with the Pilcomayo River. The Paraguay River and the Bay of Asunción in the northwest separate the city from the Occidental Region of Paraguay and from Argentina in the south part of the city. The rest of the city is surrounded by the Central Department.

Asunción is one of the oldest cities in South America and the longest continually inhabited area in the Río de la Plata Basin; for this reason it is known as "the Mother of Cities". From Asunción, Spanish colonial expeditions departed to found other cities, including the second foundation of Buenos Aires, that of other important cities such as Villarrica, Corrientes, Santa Fe, Córdoba, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and 65 more.[6][7] According to the 2022 Paraguayan Census, Asunción has 477,346 inhabitants, while its metropolitan area (known as Greater Asunción) exceeds 2.3 million inhabitants, making it the most densely populated area in Paraguay, and also the most productive as it concentrates the 70% of the National GDP.[8] Asunción is the third most populated "jurisdiction" or "political division" in the country, surpassed by the Central and Alto Paraná departments.

Administratively, the city forms an autonomous capital district, not a part of any department. The metropolitan area, called Gran Asunción, includes the cities of San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora, Lambaré, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Ñemby, San Antonio, Limpio, Capiatá and Villa Elisa, which are part of the Central Department. The Asunción metropolitan area has around two million inhabitants. The Asunción Stock Exchange lists the Municipality of Asunción as BVPASA: MUA. Asunción is one of the best cities for investments, both in construction and services, thus being one of the cities in the region with the highest economic growth, nowadays.[9][10][11]

It is the headquarters of the three state powers (Executive, Legislative and Judicial), the Cultural Center of the Republic and the different agencies and entities of the State. It used to be the main river port of the country, a function that Villeta occupies today. Despite the situations throughout its history, Asunción continues to be the center of national and cultural activities. From the capital, the main state resolutions and projects are issued; and the banking, economic, cultural, diplomatic, social, union and industrial entities of the country are centralized. Most of the main routes to the main cities of the country begin here. It is the headquarters of the Permanent Review Court of Mercosur. In the metropolitan area of Asunción, district of Luque, is the headquarters of the South American Football Confederation.

It is located in a strategic area for Mercosur, in the center-north of the Southern Cone. This geographical position allows it relative proximity to cities such as Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Córdoba, Rosario, Curitiba, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and other important cities in the region. It is located about 1,300 km (810 mi) from the Pacific Ocean and about 1,000 km (620 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean, being relatively equidistant between both oceans, a factor that promotes economic growth and leads it to become a kind of hub in the region.[12]

The Globalization and World Cities Research Network classifies Asunción as a "Gamma City".[13] It is the home of the national government, principal port, and the chief industrial, political, economic and cultural center of Paraguay. Near Asunción, in Luque, are the headquarters of the CONMEBOL, the continental governing body of association football in South America. Asunción ranks as one of the cheapest cities in the world for foreign visitors, and the third-safest capital in Latin America, behind Buenos Aires and Santiago, according to InSight Crime.[14][15]

Etymology

The official name of the city is "Nuestra Señora de la Asunción" (Our Lady of the Assumption), according to the founding document of the Cabildo, dated September 16, 1541.[16] The fort that preceded it was established with the same name on August 15, 1537, by Juan de Salazar de Espinosa, the day on which the Catholic Church commemorates the Assumption of Mary.

Asunción comes from the Latin noun, of ecclesiastical use, assumptīō, defined as: "the Virgin Mary being elevated body and soul to heaven"[17] and must be distinguished from the Ascension of Jesus.[18] Although the dogma was not proclaimed until 1950, the festival dates back to the 9th century and was especially celebrated in Spain and America.[19]

History

Early history

Asunción in 1615 by the Inca painter Guamán Poma in his work "Nueva corónica y buen gobierno". Royal Library, Denmark.[20]

The Spanish conquistador Juan de Ayolas (died c. 1537) may have first visited the site of the future city on his way north, up the Paraguay River, looking for a passage to the mines of Upper Peru (present-day Bolivia). Later, Juan de Salazar y Espinosa and Gonzalo de Mendoza, a relative of Pedro de Mendoza, were sent in search of Ayolas, but failed to find him. On his way up and then down the river, de Salazar stopped briefly at a bay in the left bank to resupply his ships. He found the natives friendly, and decided to found a fort there in August 1537. He named it Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción (Our Lady Saint Mary of the Assumption – the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption on August 15).[21]

Asunción's Downtown in 1872

In 1542 natives destroyed Buenos Aires, and the Spaniards there fled to Asunción. Thus the city became the center of a large Spanish colonial province comprising part of Brazil, present-day Paraguay and northeastern Argentina: the giant Province of the Indies. In 1603 Asunción was the seat of the First Synod of Asunción, which set guidelines for the evangelization of the natives in their lingua franca, Guaraní.

In 1731 an uprising under José de Antequera y Castro was one of the first rebellions against Spanish colonial rule. The uprising failed, but it was the first sign of the independent spirit that was growing among the criollos, mestizos and natives of Paraguay. The event influenced the independence of Paraguay, which subsequently materialized in 1811. The secret meetings between the independence leaders to plan an ambush against the Spanish Governor in Paraguay (Bernardo de Velasco) took place at the home of Juana María de Lara, in downtown Asunción. On the night of May 14 and May 15, 1811, the rebels succeeded and forced governor Velasco to surrender. Today, Lara's former home, known as Casa de la Independencia (House of the Independence), operates as a museum and historical building.

Post-independence period

A tram in the city centre in 1986. The tram system closed in the late 1990s.

After Paraguay became independent, significant change occurred in Asunción. Under the rule of Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (in office 1813–1840) roads were built throughout the city and the streets were named. However, during the presidency of Carlos Antonio López (President 1844–1862) Asunción (and Paraguay) saw further progress as the new president implemented new economic policies. More than 400 schools, metallurgic factories and the first railroad service in South America were built during the López presidency. After López died in 1862, his son Francisco Solano López became the new president and led the country through the disastrous Paraguayan War that lasted for five years (1864–1870). On 1 January 1869, the capital city Asunción fell to Brazilian forces led by Gen. João de Souza da Fonseca Costa. After the end of the armed conflict, Brazilian troops occupied Asunción until 1876.

Many historians[which?] have claimed that this war provoked a steady downfall of the city and country, since it massacred two-thirds of the country's population. Progress slowed down greatly afterwards, and the economy stagnated.

After the Paraguayan War, Asunción began a slow attempt at recovery. Towards the end of the 19th century and during the early years of the 20th century, a flow of immigrants from Europe and the Ottoman Empire came to the city. This led to a change in the appearance of the city as many new buildings were built and Asunción went through an era more prosperous than any since the war.

A tramway in Asunción opened in 1871, initially using horse-drawn trams and steam-powered trams, with electric trams being introduced in 1913.[22] The last tram service was discontinued around 1995, followed by formal closure in November 1997.[22][23]

20th century to the present

Calle Palma, in the old town

Between 1932 and 1935, Paraguay faced a war with Bolivia in the Chaco War and at that time Asunción became a place of relief and help for the wounded in the conflict. The Defensores del Chaco stadium located in the Sajonia neighborhood owes its name precisely to the fact that the army that would go to fight against the Bolivians in defense of the Chaco was recruited in this place.

Asunción has been the first completely urban city in Paraguay since approximately the middle of the 20th century. On the other hand, until the early 1980s, Asunción was the only city in Paraguay with more than 100,000 inhabitants, taking into account that the rural population has always predominated in Paraguay. At the end of the 1980s, the rural exodus began, contributing to the demographic increase —especially urban— of Central Department (part of current Greater Asunción). Consequently, the population of Asunción remained practically stagnant since then.

In March 1991, just two years after the coup d'état against the government of Alfredo Stroessner —which lasted almost 35 years— the Treaty of Asunción was signed with the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. This treaty gave rise to the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), a regional integration organization.

Since 1993, Asunción has become an autonomous municipality administered as a capital district and is not formally integrated into any department. Before 1993, it managed the Central Department —although had not been part of it since 1973—. Later, Areguá —a city with a colonial feel— began to be the capital, and therefore, to administer the department until today.

In May 2000, the Congress building was attacked by tanks in the midst of a failed coup d'état, which led to the president declaring a state of exception at the national level. In August 2004, the city suffered the greatest tragedy in the history of the country, after the Chaco War, with the Tragedy of Ycua Bolaños, a fire that claimed more than 300 lives, with hundreds injured.[24]

Due to the unbridled growth and lack of urban planning and infrastructure in the capital and its surrounding areas —in recent years—, Asunción is becoming a city with problems similar to the large metropolises of the world (e.g.: intense traffic during rush hours, insufficiency of services, among others). However, at the same time, there are dozens of investments in the city, making it one of the cities with the most economic growth in the region. In order to improve the transportation situation, several alternatives are planned, such as the metrobus or the electric train, among others. Also the construction of more viaducts and tunnels.[25]

Likewise, Asunción has been the meeting point of the largest demonstrations in Paraguay, the most recent being the Paraguayan March of 1999 (in which 8 protesters were shot dead, causing the resignation of then-president Cubas), the impeachment of President Lugo in 2012 (which caused the suspension of Paraguay in Mercosur),[26] or the political crisis of 2017 (protesters set fire to the Congress building),[27] among others.

Geography

Road corridor of the Botanical Garden (left); on the right, the Jade Park towers are shown.

Being at the Argentina–Paraguay border, Asunción is located between the parallels 25° 15' and 25° 20' of south latitude and between the meridians 57° 40' and 57° 30' of west longitude. The city sits on the left bank of the Paraguay River, almost at the confluence of this river with the River Pilcomayo. The Paraguay River and the Bay of Asunción in the northwest separate the city from the Occidental Region of Paraguay and Argentina in the south part of the city. The rest of the city is surrounded by the Central Department.

The Paraguay River is the most important hydrographic body of the city since river commerce develops through it, and it is also a tourist attraction. Asunción Bay is separated from the great Paraguay River by the San Miguel Bank, a narrow lowland peninsula where two geographical and ecological regions of Paraguay converge: the Humid Chaco and the Alto Paraná Atlantic forests. Some important bodies of water are the Pozo Colorado, De Los Patos, Ycuá Satí, and Jaén streams. All of these run hidden under the pavement of Asunción and flow into the river.[28]

The orography of the city is characterized by being irregular, partly because of "the seven hills" that could be seen from the river upon reaching the city. The old town sits on a hill and preserves the characteristic plan of the towns of the colonial era, while the Church of La Encarnación is actually located at the highest point in the downtown. The highest point in Asunción is the Cerro Lambaré, at 156 meters (512 ft) above sea level, which is surrounded by a small forest mass and usually offers a spectacular show in the springtime because of the blossoming lapacho trees in the area.

Bust of Gandhi on the banks of the Paraguay River

The 7 hills of Asunción are:

  • Loma Cabará, the founding area of Asunción.
  • Loma San Jerónimo, where there was once a hermitage dedicated to said saint.
  • Loma Clavel, where the Marine Infantry barracks are currently located.
  • Loma Cachinga, where the Hospital de Clínicas is currently located.
  • Loma del Mangrullo, where Carlos Antonio López Park is currently located.
  • Loma de la Encarnación, where the Church of the Encarnación is currently located.
  • Loma de las Piedras de Santa Catalina, where the Escalinata Antequera is currently located.

Another important elevation was Mount Tacumbú, but in the 1950s began its exploitation in order to pave the streets of Asunción. Today only a lagoon remains as a result of the impossibility of suctioning the waters by the rocks that were left there. The quarry stopped working due to the urbanization of the area. Its current height is 91 meters (299 ft).

Biogeography

Héroes del Chaco Bridge over the Paraguay River, which connects Asunción with Nueva Asunción

The biogeographical areas of Asunción are two, the bay area, and the interior area.[29] The interior area used to be covered with lush forests that made up part of the Humid Chaco, these easily exceeded 40 meters (130 ft) in height. Among the common floral species we found or is still find there are the tree fern or chachi, the pink lapacho (Tabebuia heptaphylla), the yvyra pytä (Peltophorum dubium), the guatambú or yvyra ñeti (Balfourodendron riedelianum), the cedar or ygary (Cedrela fissilis), etc.

Among the large animals that lived in the area that is currently Asunción were the jaguar (Panthera onca), the tapir (Tapirus terrestris), the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), the capuchin monkey (Cebus apella), etc. The last remnants of this great ecosystem can be seen in the Botanical Garden and Zoo of Asunción and in the surroundings of Cerro Lambare; in these places can still be find medium and small animals, such as the toco toucan (Ramphastos toco), the gold tegu (Tupinambis teguixin), the opossum (Didelphis albiventris), the Paraguayan magpie (Cyanocorax chrysops), the masakaragua'i or cucucucha (Troglodytes aedon), etc.; while some small birds such as the cardinal (Paroaria coronata), the turtle dove (Zenaida meloda), the chingolo or cachilito (Zonotrichia capensis), the golden goldfinch (Sicalis flaveola), the saijovy or common celestine (Thraupis sayaca), etc. coexist in the densely populated areas of the city with the domestic pigeon, which is an invasive specie that is reproducing at an accelerated rate, causing damage to the facades of buildings and in some cases displacing the local birdlife.[30]

On the other hand, the bay area has an approximate area of 375 hectares (930 acres) and is located just 2 km (1.2 mi) from the old town. It is one of the most important stopping places during the journey of Nearctic and Southern migratory birds.[31] Asunción Bay has a wide variety of habitats, yet their availability changes throughout the year giving as a result large seasonal fluctuations in the water level of the Paraguay River, which make the depth and extent of bay flooding vary considerably. During the southern winter, when the water is abundantly high, the bay is largely underwater, but towards the end of the season when the water level drops, sandy and clay beaches (tidal marsh) appear. If the waters continue to recede, most of the marshes dry out and become grasslands, some of which remain wet. A total of 258 bird species have been recorded, including 7 globally endangered species and 28 species that nest in North America and migrate to southern South America. More than 3% of the global population of one of them, the cinnamon sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis), passes through the bay during its migration to the south, turning Asunción Bay into an Important Bird Area (IBA).[32]

Climate

View of the city's greenery from Jade Park

Asunción has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa) that closely borders on a tropical savanna climate (Köppen: Aw), characterized by hot, humid summers (average of 27.5 °C or 81.5 °F in January), and mild winters (average of 17.6 °C, 63.7 °F in July).[33] Relative humidity is high throughout the year, so the heat index is higher than the true air temperature in the summer, and in the winter it can feel cooler. The average annual temperature is 23 °C (73 °F). The average annual precipitation is high, with 1,400 millimeters (55 in) distributed in over 80 days yearly. The highest recorded temperature was 42.8 °C (109.0 °F) on 1 October 2020,[34] while the lowest recorded temperature was −1.2 °C (29.8 °F) on 27 June 2011.[35] The highest rainfall accumulation within 24 hours was 222 mm (8.74 in) on February 26, 2014.[36]

Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures that can eventually exceed 40 °C (104 °F), due to ambient humidity. The average temperature in January is 28 °C (82 °F). Hours of sunshine abound, as do isolated showers and short summer storms. In Asunción itself, the heat is even more accentuated than in the surrounding area, due to the urban heat island effect. The warm north wind that blows from Brazil is the predominant one in the season, although sometimes winds from the south bring more pleasant precipitation and temperatures.

Winters are mild and quite irregular because throughout the season there can be cold days —minimums around 0 °C (32 °F)— as well as quite warm days —maximums around 30 °C (86 °F)—. Generally, a typical winter day includes mild afternoons, as well as cool mornings and evenings. The average temperature in winter is 18 °C (64 °F). Ground frost may usually occur throughout the season, especially in the suburban and rural areas of Greater Asunción. The fresh south wind that blows from Argentina is the predominant one in the season, although sometimes winds from the north bring warmer temperatures.

Snow is unknown in modern times, but it fell during the Little Ice Age, the last time being in June 1751.[37] Precipitation is abundant throughout the year, as storms or showers usually develop quite frequently; except for the winter months, when weak but continuous drizzles are more common. The relative humidity in the environment remains high all year round (averaging 70%).

Asunción generally has a very short dry season between May and September, but the coldest months are June, July and August. During the wet season, Asunción is generally hot and humid though towards the end of this season, it becomes noticeably cooler. In contrast, Asunción's dry season is pleasantly mild. Asunción's annual precipitation values observe a summer maximum, due to severe subtropical summer thunderstorms which travel southward from northern Paraguay, originating in the Gran Chaco region of the northwestern part of the country. The wettest and driest months of the year are April and July, on average receiving respectively 166 mm (6.54 in) and 39 mm (1.54 in) of precipitation.

Climate data for Asunción (1991–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 42.0
(107.6)
39.6
(103.3)
40.0
(104.0)
37.0
(98.6)
35.0
(95.0)
33.0
(91.4)
33.4
(92.1)
39.2
(102.6)
42.2
(108.0)
42.8
(109.0)
40.2
(104.4)
41.7
(107.1)
42.8
(109.0)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 34.0
(93.2)
33.0
(91.4)
31.9
(89.4)
29.2
(84.6)
24.9
(76.8)
23.5
(74.3)
23.6
(74.5)
26.2
(79.2)
27.9
(82.2)
30.1
(86.2)
31.2
(88.2)
32.8
(91.0)
29.0
(84.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.8
(82.0)
26.9
(80.4)
25.9
(78.6)
23.2
(73.8)
19.4
(66.9)
18.3
(64.9)
17.5
(63.5)
19.6
(67.3)
21.5
(70.7)
24.1
(75.4)
25.2
(77.4)
26.9
(80.4)
23.0
(73.4)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 23.1
(73.6)
22.5
(72.5)
21.5
(70.7)
18.9
(66.0)
15.5
(59.9)
14.2
(57.6)
12.9
(55.2)
14.6
(58.3)
16.5
(61.7)
19.5
(67.1)
20.3
(68.5)
22.2
(72.0)
18.5
(65.3)
Record low °C (°F) 12.5
(54.5)
12.5
(54.5)
9.4
(48.9)
6.8
(44.2)
2.6
(36.7)
−1.2
(29.8)
−0.6
(30.9)
0.0
(32.0)
3.6
(38.5)
7.0
(44.6)
8.0
(46.4)
10.0
(50.0)
−1.2
(29.8)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 132.6
(5.22)
146.4
(5.76)
131.3
(5.17)
151.7
(5.97)
134.1
(5.28)
70.7
(2.78)
48.2
(1.90)
38.7
(1.52)
79.2
(3.12)
157.9
(6.22)
195.0
(7.68)
176.5
(6.95)
1,462.3
(57.57)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 8 7 7 8 7 7 4 5 6 8 8 8 83
Average relative humidity (%) 68 71 72 75 76 76 70 70 66 67 67 68 70
Mean monthly sunshine hours 276 246 254 228 205 165 195 223 204 242 270 295 2,803
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization (precipitation days 1971-2000)[38][39]
Source 2: NOAA updated to 9/2012 (humidity, record 1961-1990),[40] Danish Meteorological Institute (sun only)[41]

Government

Headquarters of the Municipality of Asunción in the neighborhood Villa Aurelia

The Municipal Government is exercised by the Municipal Board and the Municipal Intendance, in accordance with the provisions of Article 20 of the Municipal Organic Law (MOL). Those who make up the mayor's office are the Intendant and the administrative departments of the municipality. The Mayor is the general administrator of the district, who is elected directly by the citizens in order to operate for a period of 5 years, while The councillor integrated into the municipal board last 5 years in their functions, with the possibility of being re-elected, and whose function is limited to that of a deliberative and legislative body of the government municipal. According to article 24 of the aforementioned law, the number of councilors that a municipality requires varies according to the budget amount that the State issues to the jurisdiction.[42]

The city is governed by the municipality in similar instances to the national level: the Mayor would be equivalent to an executive body, and the Municipal Board a legislative and regulatory body. The municipal board is responsible for issuing laws or ordinances, which are municipal legal regulations whose mandatory force applies within the limits of the district. There are three types of government acts that give rise to the dynamics of municipal functioning: Ordinance, Regulation and Resolution municipal.[42]

The ordinances are general regulations for the community, sanctioned by the Board and promulgated by the Municipality, and serve to establish rights, obligations and prohibitions for the inhabitants of the district and for the inhabitants of the country who for some reason are in the jurisdiction. The initiative of the ordinance projects is agreed upon by the members of the Board, the Intendant, and the citizens by popular initiative. They have the force of local law, that is, within the municipality, but they must comply with the law dictated by the National Congress. The regulations are general internal rules issued by the Board or the Intendant and serve to organize the administrative divisions of the municipality. Resolutions are rules applied to specific or particular cases, whether to a specific individual or group, and can be issued either by the Board or the Intendant.[42]

Asunción is an autonomous municipality administered as capital district and is not formally integrated into any departments, so in addition to bringing together the three powers of the nation, it also has its own Judicial District and its own municipal police, apart from the traffic police.

Municipal mayors

Government Designations of
Asunción (since 1960)
[43]
Period Name Designation Political affiliation
1961
Marcos Arellano Elizeche
1961-1964
César Gagliardone
1964-1972
Manuel Britez Borges
1972-1976
Guido Kunzle
1976-1989
Porfirio Pereira Ruiz Díaz
1989-1991
José Alder Ibáñez
1991-1996
Asunción Para Todos
1996-2001
2001-2006
Enrique Riera Escudero
2006-2010
Evanhy de Gallegos
2010
Hugo Piccinini
2010-2015
Arnaldo Samaniego
2015
Omar Pico Insfrán
2015-2019
2019-2021
2021
César Ojeda
2021 - 2025

Economy

Central Bank of Paraguay
National Development Bank

The economic development of the country is reflected in the city by how in recent years construction (infrastructure) has grown rapidly due to the great demand for foreign investment. In addition, Asunción ranks sixth as the most profitable city in Latin America. The most important companies, businesses, and investment groups have their headquarters in Asunción. Commerce has expanded considerably in recent years stretching towards the suburbs where shopping malls and supermarkets have been built. Paraguay's only stock exchange, the BVPASA, is located here.[44][45] The city is the economic center of Paraguay, followed by Ciudad del Este and Encarnación.[46]

The attractiveness of the city has been attributed to its easygoing tax policies. Asunción has unrestrained taxes on the investments and movements of capital. There is also no income tax for investors in Bonds of Asunción Stock Exchange. Incentives like these attract significant foreign investment into the city. According to experts, Paraguay is tapped as one of the top three countries with the best investment climate in Latin America and the Caribbean.[47] As well it remains the most attractive nation in the hemisphere in doing business and is equipped with a series of legislations that protect strategic investments and guarantee a friendly environment for the development of large industrial plants and infrastructure projects.

The distribution of the economically active population varies according to the economic sectors. Actually indicates that the population fundamentally participates in the tertiary sector (commerce and services), employing 8 out of every 10 individuals. The secondary sector (industry and construction) concentrates 16% of the economically active, while participation in the primary sector (agriculture and livestock) is practically zero since Asunción is a strictly urban area. Regarding commerce, it should be pointed out that this sector has developed considerably in recent years, moving from the old town to residential neighborhoods, where shopping malls, shopping centers, and commercial promenades are spread.[48] This trend is still increasing.[49]

Important international banks have their headquarters in the capital, among them are Citibank, Itau Bank, GNB [es], BBVA, etc. Among the Paraguayan capital banks, there are the National Development Bank, the Family Bank, the Amambay Bank, the Regional Bank, the Visión Banco, etc.[50]

At the same time, the Central Bank of Paraguay has its headquarters in this city. Its mission is to preserve and ensure the stability and value of the currency, promote the effectiveness and stability of the financial system, and fulfill its role as a bank of banks and financial agent of the State. To this end, it has various powers in monetary, financial, credit, and international exchange matters.[51]

According to the 2022 Cost of Living ranking prepared by ECA International, the price of products and services in about 200 cities around the world was compared. The study revealed that Asunción is the third cheapest city in Latin America for a foreigner.[52]

Real estate growth and expansion

Regional Real Estate focuses on Asunción due to low inflation, exchange rate stability, high rental income, and lower taxes. Most of the buildings are intelligent and have cutting-edge technology, like others that combine mixed uses. Between 2015 and 2020, real estate developments demanded an investment of more than US$1 billion, and the place in Asunción where this impact received the most was on Aviadores del Chaco Avenue and Santa Teresa Avenue.[53]

Much of this achievement was due to the change in customs that citizens have been presenting, in relation to the fact that many owners changed their way of living and are more demanding with comfort, especially with technology, which enhances the possibility of going to live in apartments to acquire comfort, location, security, price, quality, among other issues. Another key is that Paraguay in recent years has noticed the rise in the purchasing power of the middle and upper-middle classes (young professionals, with an average age of 35 years), and this situation has led them to search and buy a home in the departments, in order to work in the offices that were opened from 2014 to the present.[54]

Education

Universidad Nacional de Asunción

Schools

The city has a large number of both public and private schools. The best-known public schools are the Colegio Nacional de la Capital (which is one of the oldest schools in the city, founded in 1877), Colegio Técnico Nacional, Colegio Nacional Presidente Franco, and Colegio Nacional Asunción Escalada. The best-known private schools are, American School of Asunción, Colegio San José, St. Annes School, Colegio del Sol, Colegio Santa Clara, Colegio Goethe and Colegio de la Asunción, Colegio Las Almenas, Colegio Campoalto, Colegio Dante Alighieri, Colegio San Francisco, Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, Colegio Santa Teresa de Jesús, Colegio Inmaculado Corazón de María, Salesianito, Colegio Cristo Rey, Colegio Internacional.

Universities

The main universities in the city are the Universidad Americana and the Universidad Nacional de Asunción (state-run). The Universidad Nacional de Asunción was founded in 1889 and has an enrollment of just over 40,000 students. The Universidad Católica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción was founded in 1960 and has a current enrollment of around 21,000 students. The Católica has a small campus in the downtown area next to the cathedral and a larger campus in the Santa Ana neighborhood, outwards toward the adjoining city of Lambaré, while the Universidad Nacional has its main campus in the city of San Lorenzo, some 5 km (3 mi) eastward from Asunción. There are also a number of smaller, privately run universities such as Uninorte, Universidad Católica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción and Universidad Autónoma de Asunción, among others.

Demographics

Molas López Avenue

According to the last 2022 census the city has 477,346 inhabitants and a density of 4079/km2, which represents 8% of the population of Paraguay.[1] The Metropolitan Area of Asunción exceeds 2.3 million people, around 40% of the Paraguayan population. It is the most populated city in the country, with the greatest traffic of people and vehicles, since it is estimated that around 1.5 million people and 600,000 vehicles of all types circulate daily in Asunción.[55]

Between 1962 and 1992, the capital city registered a more than double increase in inhabitants and is currently the only city in Paraguay to have almost 500,000 inhabitants, surpassing other large urban centers such as Ciudad del Este and San Lorenzo. Since the late 1990s, there has been demographic stagnation in the city because the peripheral cities belonging to Greater Asunción have recently absorbed most of the "new" population due to the low cost of land, lower taxes, easy access to the capital, among others.

The population has increased greatly during the last few decades as a consequence of internal migration from other Departments of Paraguay, at first because of the economic boom in the 1970s, and later because of economic recession in the countryside. The adjacent cities in the Gran Asunción area, such as Luque, Lambaré, San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora and Mariano Roque Alonso, have absorbed most of this influx due to the low cost of the land and easy access to Asunción.

The female population predominates in the city, as is characteristic in urban areas, which are poles of attraction due to the better employment opportunities offered to women. In Asunción, for every 100 women, there are only 89 men. The demographic structure by age group reveals that the group of people between 15 and 29 years old prevails, followed by the group of people between 30 and 59 years. The average age of Asuncion is 31 years old, above the national average of 27 years. Asunción is considered a multicultural city.[1]

Religion

Approximately 90% of the population of Asunción professes Catholicism.[56] The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Asunción covers an area of 2,582 square kilometers (997 square miles) including the city and surrounding area and has a total population of 1,780,000, of whom 1,612,000 are Catholic.[56] The Catholic Archbishop is Eustaquio Pastor Cuquejo Verga, C.SS.R.[56] In Paraguay's capital there are also places of worship of other Christian denominations, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as of other religions including Islam, Buddhism and Judaism.[citation needed]

Language

Most people in Paraguay speak one of two languages as their principal language: Paraguayan Spanish (spoken by 56.9% of the population) and Guaraní (spoken by 11.2%). 27.4% of the population speaks the Jopará dialect, a mix of Guaraní with loanwords from Spanish (Creole). Other languages are represented by 4.5% of the population.[citation needed]

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1950206,634—    
1962288,882+39.8%
1972388,958+34.6%
1982454,881+16.9%
1992500,938+10.1%
2002512,112+2.2%
2012529,433+3.4%
2022477,346−9.8%

Population by sex and age according to the 2002 census

Age Quantity (census 2002) Male Female
0–4 years 45,382 23,058 22,374
5–9 years 46,120 23,330 22,324
10–14 years 46,272 22,985 23,287
15–29 years 155.675 71,885 83,790
30–59 years 164,367 75,871 88,496
60+ years 54,296 21,686 32,610
Total 512,112 238,815 273,297

Districts and neighborhoods

Asunción is organised geographically into districts and these in turn bring together the different neighbourhoods.

The 68 neighborhoods of Asunción[57]
N.º Neighborhood District N.º Neighborhood District N.º Neighborhood District N.º Neighborhood District
1 Banco San Miguel San Roque 2 Bañado Cará Cará Trinidad 3 Bella Vista Trinidad 4 Botánico Trinidad
5 Cañada del Ybyray Trinidad 6 Carlos A. López La Encarnación 7 Carmelitas Trinidad 8 Catedral La Catedral
9 Ciudad Nueva San Roque 10 Dr. Francia La Encarnación 11 La Encarnación La Encarnación 12 Gral. Caballero San Roque
13 Gral. Díaz La Catedral 14 Herrera La Recoleta 15 Hipódromo La Recoleta 16 Itá Enramada Santa María
17 Itá Pytã Punta La Encarnación 18 Jara San Roque 19 Jukyty Santa María 20 Los Laureles La Recoleta
21 Loma Pytá Trinidad 22 Madame Lynch Trinidad 23 Manorá Trinidad 24 Mcal. Estigarribia La Recoleta
25 Mcal. López San Roque 26 Mbocayaty Trinidad 27 Mburicaó San Roque 28 Mburucuyá Trinidad
29 Las Mercedes San Roque 30 Nazareth La Recoleta 31 Ñu Guazú Trinidad 32 Obrero La Catedral
33 Pinozá San Roque 34 Recoleta La Recoleta 35 Republicano Santa María 36 Ricardo Brugada San Roque
37 Roberto L. Pettit La Catedral 38 Sajonia La Encarnación 39 Salvador del Mundo Trinidad 40 San Antonio La Encarnación
41 San Blas Trinidad 42 San Cayetano La Catedral 43 San Cristóbal La Recoleta 44 San Jorge La Recoleta
45 San Juan San Roque 46 San Pablo La Recoleta 47 San Roque San Roque 48 San Vicente San Roque
49 Santa Ana La Catedral 50 Santa Librada Santa María 51 Santa María La Recoleta 52 Santa Rosa Trinidad
53 Trinidad Trinidad 54 Santo Domingo Trinidad 55 Silvio Pettirossi San Roque 56 Tablada Nueva Trinidad
57 Tacumbú La Encarnación 58 Tembetary La Recoleta 59 Terminal La Recoleta 60 Villa Aurelia La Recoleta
61 Villa Morra La Recoleta 62 V. de Fátima Trinidad 63 V. de la Asunción Trinidad 64 V. del Huerto San Roque
65 Vista Alegre San Roque 66 Ycuá Satí La Recoleta 67 Ytay La Recoleta 68 Zeballos Cué Trinidad

Infrastructure

Asunción has the main political, economic, social, recreational, and cultural infrastructure of the country. Its urban development began at the end of the 19th century, when the significant presence of Europeans brought with it an urban and aesthetic remodeling of the city, with the construction of numerous buildings and mansions, maintained to this day under the protection of a municipal ordinance that prevents major changes or demolitions. Drinking water and electricity coverage reaches almost 100% of the city.

Roads and highways

Ñu Guazú highway

The road infrastructure has been maintained for various periods of time without significant changes. The main access routes to the city are avenues and to a lesser extent highways and viaducts. Previously, the electric tram existed as a means of transportation until the end of the last century, but it was replaced by new fleets of buses. The construction of the metrobus and the local train was planned, which will connect the capital with the rest of the metropolitan area, but it was interrupted due to various irregularities.[58]

Mariscal López Avenue connects the capital with the neighboring city of Fernando de la Mora and passes through two large areas: the Villa Morra neighborhood and the Old town; General Santos Avenue is an important access route to the capital, it is mostly used by the inhabitants of neighboring Lambaré; while Eusebio Ayala Avenue is mainly used by buses during peak hours, due to the large number of lanes available. The Acceso Sur viaduct connects with the Mercado de Abasto, an important supply center. Madame Lynch Avenue borders practically the entire eastern area of the city, being a quick route to cross from one side to the other. Aviadores del Chaco Avenue is an important access road from Luque and also serves as a highway for access to the Conmebol building complex and the international airport, among other important places. Ñu Guazú highway connects the cities of Luque and Mariano Roque Alonso with Asunción.[59]

Transportation

Silvio Pettirossi International Airport

Because the Paraguay River runs right next to Asunción the city is served by a river terminal in the downtown area. This port is strategically located inside a bay and it is where most freight enters and leaves the country. There is a lesser terminal in the Sajonia neighborhood, and a shuttle port in Ita Enramada, almost opposite the Argentine city of Clorinda, Formosa.

Public transportation is used heavily and is served through buses (locally called colectivos, micros or buses) that reach all the regions of the city and surrounding dormitory communities. From October 23, 2020, an electronic card is required to use these buses. There are two cards available from two different providers: "Jaha" (Guarani for Let's Go) and "Más" (Spanish for More).

The main long-distance bus terminal (TOA, or Terminal de Ómnibus de Asunción) is on the República Argentina Avenue and its bus services connect all of the Departments of Paraguay, as well as international routes to nearby countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay. Some 115 companies service more than 1,300 departures per day. As many as 55,000 passengers depart on these routes daily, with demand peaking on special occasions like Holy Week and New Year's Day.

Silvio Pettirossi International Airport is Paraguay's main national and international gateway, located at Luque, suburb of the capital, Asunción. It is named after Paraguayan aviator Silvio Petrossi and is formerly known as Presidente Stroessner International Airport. As Paraguay's busiest airport, it is the hub of Latam Paraguay and Paranair.

Bolt and Uber are available for ride-share clients, and compete with various taxi companies. Payment in cash (efectivo) is the standard, except when using an app to pre-pay via credit or debit card. Cash is the default payment for most day-to-day needs, including most transportation, meals, and lodging.

Healthcare

Centro Médico La Costa

Asunción houses most of the large medical centers throughout the country. There are currently more than 50 places that provide primary health care. Public Health is dependent on the State and completely free. Through a resolution promoted by President Fernando Lugo in December 2009, free treatment applies at the national level. This has made it possible for more people to have access to different health services, ranging from outpatient consultations to highly complex interventions in public hospitals.[60]

Important private sanatoriums and highly complex centers offer their services. Some of them are the Medical Emergency Center, the Clinic Hospital, the Military Hospital, the Central Hospital of the Social Security Institute, the Rigoberto Caballero Police Hospital, among others.

Security

Asunción previously did not have its own police force. Despite being an independent municipality, Paraguayan legislation does not establish the creation of police forces by districts. All public security was protected by the National Police. However, on December 23, 2010, the former municipal mayor Arnaldo Samaniego promulgated the first ordinance that created the Municipal Police of Asunción, taking into account that one of the priorities of his government program was citizen security. Currently, the Municipal Police of Asunción is made up of 52 police officers.[61]

Urban projects

Social housing

Aviadores del Chaco Avenue

In the construction projects of "Avenida Costanera Norte" and "Parque Bicentenario" a new neighborhood was created with 144 popular homes to resettle families that were directly affected by the plans to improve the infrastructure of the city.[62] The project included a "social component" that cost around $5.8 million to build the houses and infrastructure of the new neighborhood and pay compensation to families who were going to leave the area.[63]

Coastal Linear Park

The coastal park of about 13 hectares was built. This park unites the old buildings of the urban area, such as the Palacio de los López, with the Cabildo and Metropolitan Cathedral of Asunción.[64] It was inaugurated in May 2011, within the framework of the celebrations of the bicentennial of the independence of Paraguay.[65]

Subsequently, work on the "Parque Lineal Costanera" project continued, the first stage of which was enabled at the end of 2019 with the following characteristics: exclusive bicycle lanes, paths, fair spaces, gym equipment, and a parking lot with capacity for 350 vehicles.[66] The second stage of this linear park will add 10 hectares of new green space, contemplating three key components: a coastal linear park, a component for the National Navy, and a boat ramp. The characteristics of the second stage Linear Park are: 3-meter-wide bike paths, parking spaces, bicycle parking, drinking fountains, toilets, 3 reinforced concrete bridges, soccer fields, playgrounds, outdoor gym areas, first aid, and a police booth.[67]

Port axis and government offices

Ministerial axis of the port

These are five towers where six ministries of the Executive branch will be installed, located in the port of Asunción. These works culminated at the end of 2020 and constitute the new building corporations built in the old town, which will serve as an anchor for the reconversion of the place. The project of the Master Plan for the Reconversion of the Port of Asunción, promoted by The Ministry of Public Works and Communications (MOPC) was conceived in the 1990s, and has been reconfirmed in each government since then. An example of this is the completion of the Costanera Sur and Costanera Norte works. The construction of the new government offices is the nerve center of Asunción, according to Óscar Stark, manager of the Urban Reconversion Program. The project includes scaffolding to prevent the problems generated by the growth of the Paraguay River, with a level of 64, which refers to a protection of up to 10 meters. Historical data indicate that the highest flood in the last 100 years was at level 63.[68] The construction of a museum is also planned, which is a posthumous work of the architect Carlos Colombino, of which the project has been completed, and whose investment will be financed through the public-private alliance (PPA), which will equip a shopping center, hotel, convention center, and apartment buildings.[69]

Culture

Traditional buildings in Calle Palma

Being the third-oldest capital city of South America, after Quito and Lima, Asunción has plenty to offer, culturally speaking, from Spanish colonial-era buildings (Baroque to neo-Gothic), museums or urban parks, this classic city also hosts several symphony orchestras, ballet, opera and theater companies. The best known orchestras are the City of Asunción's Symphony Orchestra (OSCA), the National Symphony Orchestra and the Northern University Symphony Orchestra. Among professional ballet companies, most renowned are the Asunción Classic and Modern Municipal Ballet, the National Ballet and the Northern University Ballet. The main opera company is the Northern University Opera Company. A long-standing theater company is Arlequín Theater Foundation's. Traditional venues include the Municipal Theater, the Paraguayan-Japanese Center, the Central Bank's Great Lyric Theater, the Juan de Salazar Cultural Center, the Americas Theater, the Tom Jobim Theater, the Arlequín Theater and the Manzana de la Rivera. Among the many venues for concerts in the city, the Jockey Club (Asunción) is one of the most important. Asunción is also the center of Architecture in Paraguay.

Museums

Paraguayan war flags at the Institute of History and Military Museum
City Memory Museum, at the Manzana de la Rivera
Casa de la Independencia
Cabildo Museum

Museums in and around Asunción are generally small. In compensation, the wide variety of its heritage allowed the creation of a large number of small rooms that give visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the country through the artistic expressions contained therein.[70] These are some of the museums found in Asunción:[71][72]

  • Juan Sinforiano Bogarín Museum: Named after its founder, illustrious priest and first archbishop of Paraguay. It was a public prison in colonial times, where Pedro Juan Caballero, hero of independence, was imprisoned during the government of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia. This diocesan museum is rich in collection of Jesuit and Franciscan carvings.
  • Casa de la Independencia Museum: It was built in the colonial era and preserves objects that belonged to the heroes of the Independence of Paraguay, their relatives, or that are related to that time. It consists of five rooms and a large hall, arranged around a patio. At the entrance, you can see a mural by the ceramist José Laterza Parodi that represents the most prominent buildings and places of colonial Asunción.
  • Postal Historical Museum of the Central Post Office: Constructed in the late 19th century, the Central Post Office has been operating since 1913. The museum was created by the Postal and Telegraph Directorate, with collections of stamps sent by the Universal Postal Union.
  • National Museum of Fine Arts: Inaugurated in 1909 by the collector Juan Silvano Godoy, it has a rich collection of paintings and engravings from different periods, schools, as well as national and international authors. It also has marble sculptures, wood carvings, bronze and plaster busts, etc. In addition, it has an archive of documents related to the history of Paraguay.
  • Museum of Memories "Dictatorship and Human Rights": The relatives of the victims of Alfredo Stroessner's dictatorship began the search for the whereabouts of their loved ones, as the years passed they gathered data, photographs, and reconstructed lives, names and surnames. They then published a book that became a true reference, titled "Semillas de Vida Ñemity Ra." Based on their photos and information, this museum gathers a special collection.[73][74]
  • Doctor Andrés Barbero Ethnographic Museum: It has an important archaeological and ethnographic collection of indigenous groups that inhabited and still inhabit Paraguay. It also has a library specialized in anthropology, history, and natural sciences.
  • General Bernardino Caballero National Historical Museum: Its headquarters are the house where Bernardino Caballero lived, where you can see his furniture and personal objects.
  • Paraguayan Touring and Automobile Club Museum: Preserves pieces related to the first automobiles in Paraguay. This museum exhibits the car considered the oldest in the country, which belonged to Dr. Andrés Barbero.
  • Institute of History and Military Museum of the Ministry of Defense: It has an important collection of relics from the military history of Paraguay organized in different rooms. In addition, it has temporary exhibitions on relevant historical events.
  • Numismatic Museum of the Central Bank: As the name says, it is responsible for the numismatic history of Paraguay. In addition, it has as an annex many jewels from the time of the War of the Triple Alliance, and the Cellario Collection. In addition, in its facilities there is the first national coin dated 1845.
  • Visual Arts Center or Clay Museum: It is aimed at showing popular art, indigenous art, and contemporary art of Paraguay on equal terms. Its rigorously selected artistic heritage has made it, in a very short time, one of the most important references of the arts in Paraguay and one of the most notable ones in South America. The rooms of the clay museum, whose heritage exceeds 4,000 pieces corresponding to mestizo productions from the 17th century onwards, house objects that include wood carvings, fabrics, lace, ceramics and goldsmithing, in addition to including a good number of pre-Columbian ceramic pieces originating from the entire American continent.[75]
  • Manzana de la Rivera: Brings together nine houses built at different times. The oldest one, the "Casa Viola", which dates back to the 18th century (1750–1758), is a colonial construction that corresponds before the times of dictator José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia. The "Castelvi House" was built in 1804 and shows a typical colonial construction system, and was restored in 1995; since 1996 it has functioned as the City Memory Museum.[76]
  • Metropolitan Cathedral Treasure Museum: Specializes in items of sacred art, priestly attire, images, altarpieces, sacred vessels, niches, and candelabras.
  • Mariscal José Félix Estigarribia Museum: Houses uniforms, weapons, boots, decorations, and other military elements.
  • House of Paraguayan Culture: It protects objects and documents of Military History from the Colonial era, the Independent era, the time of the Paraguayan War and the time of the Chaco War.
  • Paraguayan Union of Veterans of the Chaco War: Protects trophies and photographs of the Chaco War.
  • Museum of Sacred Art: It is a museum with an important collection of pieces of sculpture and goldsmithing of Guaraní Baroque sacred art.

Green capital

Botanical Garden of Asunción

Asunción was declared the "Green Capital of Ibero-America" during the period of former intendant Arnaldo Samaniego (2010-2015) in Lisbon, at the meeting of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities (UCCI). The municipal public policy called "Rohayhu Asunción, Green Capital" (Guaraní: I love you Asunción, the green capital of the world) fulfilled seven indicators that must be adequate by the city to opt for the denomination. These indicators are biodiversity or green areas per person, public green areas, number of trees planted, number of bird species, and number of migratory birds; Waste: waste ratio, collectors and proper disposal, waste generated per person, waste recycling and refusal policy; Land use and buildings: population density, green building policy, land use policy and urban planning; Transportation: extension of the mass transportation network, number of cars and motorcycles, urban mass transportation policy, vehicle congestion reduction policy; Water: population with access to drinking water, water sustainability policy; Sanitation: population with access to improved sanitation, sanitation policy, storm drainage works; Air Quality: clean air policy; and Environmental Governance: environmental monitoring and public participation.[77]

The seven treasures of cultural heritage material of Asunción

The selection of the seven treasures of cultural heritage material took place in Asunción during the months of April and May 2009.[78] Promoted by the "Organización Capital Americana de la Cultura", with the collaboration of the Paraguayan authorities participating in the election was carried out with the intention to disclose the material cultural heritage of Asunción.

A total of 45 candidates have chosen to become one of the treasures of cultural heritage material Assumption. The result of the vote, which involved 12,417 people, is as follows: Palacio de los López, the National Pantheon of Heroes, the Cabildo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Guaraní Hotel, the Municipal Theater and the Church of the Holy Trinity.[79]

Tourism

Corporate-residential axis in the new center

The city is home to the Godoy Museum, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (which contains paintings from the 19th century), the Church of La Encarnación, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Pantheon of the Heroes, a smaller version of Les Invalides in Paris, where many of the nation's heroes are entombed. Other landmarks include the Palacio de los López, the old Senate building (a modern building opened to house Congress in 2003) and the Casa de la Independencia (one of the few examples of colonial architecture remaining in the city).

Calle Palma is the main street downtown where several historical buildings, plazas, shops, restaurants and cafés are located. The "Manzana de la Rivera", located in front of the Presidential Palace, is a series of old traditional homes that have been restored and serve as a museum showcasing the architectural evolution of the city. The old railway station operates as a museum. There is a proposed train route (2027) from here to the cities of Luque and Areguá. Near Asunción, about thirty minutes outside the city, there is also a beautiful lake in the city of San Bernardino. People usually go here during the summer and it is a nice place to visit when the weather is warm.

Asunción also has luxurious malls that contain shops selling well-known brands. The biggest shopping malls are Shopping del Sol; Mariscal López Shopping, Shopping Villa Morra in the central part of the city, Shopping Multiplaza on the outskirts of the city and the Mall Excelsior located downtown. Pinedo Shopping and San Lorenzo Shopping are the newest and also sizeable shopping malls located just 5.6 and 9.3 kilometers (3.5 and 5.8 mi) from Asunción's boundaries, respectively, in the city of San Lorenzo, part of Greater Asunción. In 2016 a new shopping mall, La Galeria, was inaugurated. It is in between the blue towers, and is now the largest shopping mall in the country.

Hospitality and gastronomy

Asunción waterfront

The Paraguayan hospitality industry has seen significant investments in recent years. This economic sector is contributing strongly to the growth of the country's tourism sector. This brought with it greater capacity and quality of accommodation and, according to Senatur data, between 2013 and 2017 the number of beds grew 34%. In 2017, Paraguay reached record numbers in the arrival of international tourists, with growth three times higher than the world average, a dynamism that has been underpinned by the increase in the number of accommodation establishments in the country.[80]

At the country level there are more than 905 accommodation establishments, totaling 33,813 beds, and one of the challenges that is still being faced is the hotel categorization with sustainability criteria, which if approved would place Paraguay at the forefront in this regard. In 2017, approximately 1.6 million foreign tourists arrived, generating foreign exchange earnings of more than US$600 million, especially in Asunción.[80]

Hotel entrepreneurs, both national and representatives of international chains, invested their capital in favor of national tourism development thanks to the confidence generated by economic stability, the strength of the currency, and the continuity of public policies regarding tourism by part of the National Government. Added to this is the commitment of the tourism sector to a solid public-private alliance, which allows it to work committedly in the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Meetings Tourism since 2014, positioning the country as a competitive regional player in this matter.

Places of interest

Plaza Eligio Ayala, in front of the National Congress
National Pantheon of the Heroes
Paseo de la Guarania, a water organ that plays guarania melodies
Carlos Antonio López Railway
Metropolitan Cathedral of Asunción
Ignacio A. Pane Municipal Theater
  • Old town: Most of the historic buildings and mansions are located in the center, which extends parallel to the bay, between Plaza Uruguaya and the port.[81]
  • Asunción Bay: On its coast, two cannons used during the War of the Triple Alliance are stationed. Furthermore, at the back of the Palacio de los López there is a viewpoint from which you can observe, on one hand, the skyline of the city, and on the other, the nature that surrounds the bay. There are also picturesque boats that leave every day from the "Port and Beach Montevideo", which are destined for the town of Nueva Asunción, where you have an impressive view of Asunción.
  • Palacio de los López: Its construction began at the end of 1860s. When it's observed from above, it resembles a "U" shape. Its main façade is treated with imposing superimposed galleries that overlook the Asunción Bay. It has a large tower in the shape of a cube, topped with four turrets. The bombing of the Brazilian squadron shot down one of them during the War of the Triple Alliance. The palace was built to be the residence of President Mariscal Francisco Solano López, who never occupied it. Today it is the headquarters of the Executive Branch.
  • Casa de la Independencia Museum: It was built in 1772. This was the property of the brothers Pedro Pablo and Sebastián Antonio Martínez Sáenz; they gave it up for the secret meetings that led to the Independence Revolution of May 14 and 15 of 1811. This house treasures pieces of incalculable historical value.[82]
  • Municipal Theatre Ignacio A. Pane: The construction of the National Theatre began in 1886 and culminated in 1889. In 1939 it became the Municipal Theater. The restoration work began in 1997 and then was reopened in 2006. This theater presents an extensive cultural program throughout the year (theaters, concerts, ballet, etc.).[83]
  • National Pantheon of the Heroes: The construction of the chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption, Patroness of Asunción and Marshal of its armies began in 1863 by order of Marshal Francisco Solano López.[84] It was inaugurated in 1936, depositing there the remains of Marshal López and other heroes of the country, thus becoming the Pantheon of Heroes.
  • Cabildo Museum: Neoclassical style building. This was the first major public work of the 19th century, built under the government of Carlos Antonio López.[85] For many decades it was the seat of the Legislative Branch. Since May 2004 it has housed one of the most important museums in Paraguay. It has five rooms, a library, a conference room and a multipurpose room.
  • Asunción Metropolitan Cathedral: It was the first diocese of the Río de la Plata. It was built by order of Carlos Antonio López and inaugurated in 1845. It is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. It has a main altar covered in silver.[86]
  • Church of the Incarnation: The foundation stone of the new Temple of the Incarnation was laid in 1893, after a raging fire completely destroyed the old church located on Loma Cabará.[87] It features renaissance architecture and is one of the largest temples in Asunción.
  • Carlos Antonio López Railway: This railway station and the railway line were inaugurated in 1861. Paraguay was one of the first countries in South America with a railway for passenger transport. It was built during the government of Carlos Antonio López; you can see the "Sapukái" locomotive, one of the first ones in the Río de la Plata region. Currently, it is a historical museum with representative samples of the railway history of Paraguay; it no longer functions as a train station.
  • Church of the Holy Trinity: It was built in 1854, under the order of President Carlos Antonio López. The Italian Alejandro Ravizza was in charge of its design and construction. The building has a beautiful façade and classical paintings on the ceiling.[88]
  • Antequera Staircase: The monument was erected in tribute to the Communards. Taking advantage of the slopes of the hill, the staircase that goes down to Antequera Street was built by the then municipal intendant Miguel Ángel Alfaro. At the top of the column was placed the sculpture called Victory, by the Italian sculptor Luis Perlotti. The monument and the staircase were built under the direction of the architect Alfaro, by the Italian builder Carlos Pozzi and was inaugurated on 15 August 1928, when the presidential Assumption of Doctor José Patricio Guggiari was celebrated.[89]
  • Costanera de Asunción: Oriented towards healthy recreation, it's actually an endowed place destined for family space, meeting friends, observing beautiful sunsets, and delighting in the city's landscape.[90] For walking tours, people can rent bicycles, go-karts, roller skates, etc. A linear park will also take place.[91]
  • Botanical Garden and Zoo of Asunción: It is one of the main green lungs of the city since it has more than 110 hectares (270 acres) of natural forest. The zoo is home to almost seventy species of wild animals including birds, mammals, and reptiles. Most of them represent South American fauna.[92]
  • Bicentennial Astronomical Center: There are three rooms that have various topics. The first one is a multimedia room with a giant screen where you can watch scientific films. In the second room there is a planetarium, where visitors can observe a recreation of the constellations. The third room consists of Internet-connected computers and an up-to-date science and astronomy library, where visitors can conduct researches.[93]

Media

Television

Television
TV Channel Logo Channel name Topic Type
Canal 4
Telefuturo Variety Free-to-air
Canal 5
Paravisión Variety Free-to-air
Canal 8
C9N Informative Free-to-air
Canal 9
SNT Variety Free-to-air
Canal 11
LaTele Variety Free-to-air
Canal 12
Noticias PY Informative Free-to-air
Canal 13
Trece Variety Free-to-air
Canal 14
Paraguay TV Variety and Institutional Free-to-air
Canal 18/27/57
América PY Variety Pay television
Canal 24
A24 PY Informative Pay television
Canal 50
ABC TV Variety Pay television
Canal 500
Hei Variety Pay television
Canal 507
Tigo Sports Sports Pay television

AM and FM radio

Radios AM
kHz AM radio name City (Greater Asunción) Topic
AM 650 kHz Radio Uno Asunción Variety
AM 680 kHz Radio Caritas Asunción Religion
AM 730 kHz Radio Cardinal Asunción Informative, Sports
AM 780 kHz Radio 1° de Marzo Asunción Culture
AM 800 kHz Radio La Unión Asunción Variety
AM 920 kHz Radio Nacional del Paraguay Asunción State-owned
AM 970 kHz Radio Universo Asunción Informative, Sports
AM 1000 kHz Radio Mil Asunción Variety
AM 1020 kHz Radio Ñandutí Asunción Variety
AM 1080 kHz Radio Monumental Asunción Variety, Sports
AM 1120 kHz Radio La Deportiva Lambaré Sports
AM 1200 kHz Radio Libre Fernando de la Mora Variety
AM 1250 kHz Radio Asunción Asunción Variety
AM 1330 kHz Radio Chaco Boreal Asunción Informative, Sports
AM 1480 kHz Radio Iglesia Asunción Religion
Radios FM
MHz FM radio name City (Greater Asunción) Topic
FM 87.7 MHz Radio Medalla Milagrosa Fernando de la Mora Religion
FM 91.1 MHz Estación 40 Asunción Musical, Magazine
FM 91.5 MHz Top Milenium Asunción Musical
FM 91.9 MHz HEi Radio Asunción Musical
FM 92.3 MHz Radio Los 40 Asunción Musical
FM 92.7 MHz Radio Vibras Fernando de la Mora Musical
FM 93.3 MHz Radio Coeyú Lambaré Community
FM 93.5 MHz Radio Vianney Lambaré Religion
FM 94.3 MHz RQP Paraguay Asunción Variety
FM 95.1 MHz Radio Nacional del Paraguay Asunción State-owned
FM 95.5 MHz Rock & Pop Paraguay Asunción Musical
FM 96.5 MHz Radio Disney Paraguay Asunción Juvenile, Magazine
FM 97.1 MHz Radio Latina Paraguay Asunción Variety
FM 99.1 MHz Radio Corazón Asunción Informative
FM 99.9 MHz Radio La 100 Asunción Variety
FM 100.1 MHz Radio Canal 100 Villa Elisa Variety
FM 100.9 MHz Radio Montecarlo Asunción Culture
FM 101.3 MHz Radio Farra Asunción Musical, Magazine, Variety
FM 102.7 MHz Radio Aspen Asunción Magazine
FM 103.1 MHz Radio Popular Asunción Variety
FM 103.7 MHz Radio Exclusiva Lambaré Musical
FM 105.1 MHz Radio Venus Asunción Informative
FM 106.5 MHz Radio Palma Asunción Musical
FM 106.9 MHz Radio Urbana Asunción Musical
FM 107.3 MHz Radio María Paraguay Asunción Religion

Sports

Association football is the main sport in Paraguay, and Asunción is home to some of the most important and traditional teams in the country. These include Olimpia, Cerro Porteño, Club Libertad, Club Nacional, Club Guaraní and Club Sol de América, which have their own stadiums and sport facilities for affiliated members.

The Defensores del Chaco stadium is the main football stadium of the country and is located in the neighborhood of Sajonia, just a few blocks away from the center of Asunción. Since it is a national stadium sometimes it is used for other activities such as rock concerts.[94] Asunción is also the heart of Paraguayan rugby union. The Estadio General Pablo Rojas of the Cerro Porteño is also located among the main stadiums in the country, being the one with the largest capacity in Paraguay.[95]

The city also has important sports and recreational centers such as the Ñu Guasú Park, the National Sports Secretariat (where there's a basketball stadium and athletics tracks), the Asunción Golf Club, etc. Asunción is the headquarters of most of the country's sports competitions, whether swimming, tennis, golf, handball, basketball, football, among others.

The Estadio General Pablo Rojas is the largest stadium in Paraguay.

Notable people

Twin towns – sister cities

Asunción is twinned with:

Cooperation agreements

Asunción also cooperates with:[127][128][129][130][131][132]

See also

References

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