Founded on August 15, 1537, in a peaceful inlet of the rushing Paraguay river, Asuncion is an explosion of color and sensations that invite you to wander through its streets and neighborhoods at any time of the year. Paraguay’s capital offers the opportunity go back in time and connect with history by visiting its hills, plazas, museums, and historical buildings; or makes visitors from the great cities of the world feel right at home in its residential neighborhoods or its modern shopping malls.
The real estate boom Asuncion has been having over the past few years have placed it among the most prosperous and promising cities in the continent. The tall towers that now emerge from the new financial district and urban centers give the old capital of orange blossoms and former donkey riders a cosmopolitan touch
The city of eternal spring, its urban grid and streets are adorned with a beautiful tropical vegetation year-round. First, with the pink and yellow of its native lapacho trees; then, with the red of its chivato trees, followed by the purple of its jacarandas, as well as the delicate colors of the blooming samu’u, ombú or palo borracho. Orchids, bromelias, bougainvilleas, and the aromatic Paraguayan jasmine flower also bloom in colonial houses and modern buildings alike. And among them, hummingbirds, parrots, and macaws fly freely, providing the viewer with the sensation of living in an authentic promotional spot. This is the Paraguayan reality.
In Asunción, the visitor can discover the colonial Palma Street, and its main landmark, the National Pantheon of the Heroes and Our Lady of Asuncion Chapel, a building of great historical and cultural value, where the Paraguayan national heroes lie. The Government Palace and Metropolitan Cathedral are mere blocks away, also historical buildings of great cultural value
Since its foundation, Old Town Asuncion has become a must for culture lovers. First, they’ll find the Recova Market, a large, colonial gallery where craftsmen and women exhibit their beautiful work. The Manzana de la Rivera, a cultural center that combines 9 colonial houses that have been fully restored and occupy an entire block, sharing a patio, is also within walking distance. Then there is also the City’s Museum of Memory with its library, exhibition hall, bar, theater and more.
The Costanera, or Riverfront, is also an important stop for tourists and asuncenos alike. Here, they can enjoy a panoramic view of the city, go for a walk, and enjoy the sunset by the beautiful bay, something that has always been an inspiration for Paraguayan poets and musicians. The Old Cabildo, which now serves as the Republic’s Cultural Center, preserving and strengthening historical awareness is steps away. This is the site where the Our Lady of Asuncion fort was founded, officially becoming a city in 1541. The building found here today was built in 1844, giving it an enormous, monumental value.
En Asunción también se puede conocer la Casa de la Independencia, el Museo de Arte Sacro, que posee una colección permanente de obras de arte religioso talladas en madera por los guaraníes y conservadas en su estado original; el Museo Etnográfico “Dr. Andrés Barbero”, que guarda extensas colecciones sobre la cultura material de los pueblos indígenas del Paraguay, además de una biblioteca especializada en Antropología.
Other important sites in Asuncion include the House of Independence, the Religious Art Museum, which houses a permanent collection of religious art that has been carved in wood by the Guarani and are kept in their original state; as well as the Ethnographic Museum “Dr. Andrés Barbero”, where one can find an extensive collection of cultural material regarding the Paraguayan indigenous peoples, as well as a library specialized in Anthropology.The Museo del Barro, or Mud Museum, is a complex that houses a collection of more than 4,000 pieces, created by mestizo and indigenous artists.
The new Financial District is now centered around the Villa Morra neighborhood and the Aviadores del Chaco Avenue. With its imposing, modern buildings and shopping malls (Shopping del Sol, Paseo la Galeria, Shopping Mariscal López and Shopping Villa Morra), it offers hotels, plenty of shopping opportunities, and access to a wide array of international brands, as well as restaurants and bars, with delicate and demanding gastronomical options. These are all marks of a small metropolis in permanent evolution.
The cuisine found in the capital is both varied and high-quality, combining Guarani traditions with colonial-era European contributions, as well as current fusion trends. The food offer is surprisingly good. One can try a traditional asado, with the best beef in the region (Paraguay is the eight largest beef exporters in the world) at a gourmet grill or enjoy international cuisine in the best restaurants and bistros. One can find food from all over the world in Asuncion’s menu.
The Paraguayan capital offers a varied range of hotels for every taste and budget, from 5-star hotels to boutique hotels, and cozy hostels.
Asuncion, the distinguished Mother of Cities, can also serve as a starting point to discover different tourist zones of the yvy marãe’ỹ, or Land Without Evil. Given its geographic location, it is practically equidistant to all points. “Conquering” Asuncion implies never-ending sensations and unforgettable surprises that have turned it into an interesting stop for international tourism.