Paraguay, the capital. Asuncion: sights and photos
Russian tourists, fed up with the beauties of Europe, are increasingly going overseas, to the still little-developed Latin American countries. One of them is Paraguay. The capital of the state is the city of Asuncion, which, in our opinion, means “assumption” (meaning Assumption of the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Holy Virgin Mary). According to Moscow standards, Asuncion is a small city. It has only about one and a half million inhabitants. The atmosphere here is such that, walking in many areas of this settlement, you begin to feel as if you were transported 50 years ago. Let's take a virtual tour of this distinctive city, take a look at its sights, which advertise, and also look at places that are usually silent. So, the destination is Paraguay.
Asuncion - the capital
Where is the main city of the country? Asuncion is located in the western part of Paraguay, in the place where the river Aragvai flows into the river Paraguay.Yes, exactly, the country bears the name of a river, which in translation means “the horned river”. Probably, the ancient Indians gave her the name due to the numerous curves and shoals that complicate navigation. On the shores of Paraguay, wetlands are replaced by tropical forests. There grows a unique yerba, from which the eponymous tea is prepared, better known as mate. This is perhaps also one of the attractions of the country, thanks to which the capital of Paraguay, Asuncion, will be remembered forever. Here you will cook yerba-mate with you. We assure you won't try this drink anywhere else. For your information, “mate” here means not a sort of tea, but simply “a glass of drink”.
Where and what to eat
The capital of Paraguay, Asuncion, is a city that has experienced many political cataclysms in its long history. People of different nationalities have found their second homeland here. This is reflected in the Paraguayan cuisine. In Asuncion, you can not only drink the best tea in the world, but also eat well. The choice of dishes is huge - from national lococo and matsamorra, which is based on maize, to completely European pork, beef, chicken.The places where you can eat are also very different - from expensive restaurants, such as La Preferida, to snack bars and so-called buffets. Here you are putting food yourself in the plates, and what you want and how much you want. At the checkout your plate is weighed and called the amount. For morning tea, we can recommend an unusually tasty chipas and mbipype hee-e buns - an exotic and palatable dessert made from corn, molasses and milk. Having a snack, you can go on a trip.
Inspection will begin with the Presidential Palace, or, as they say, the Palace of Lopez. It was built for Francisco Lopez, President of Paraguay in the 1960s – 1970s. 19th century. Lopez did not have a chance to live in it, as the war began with neighboring Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, which reduced the number of the country by 2/3. Died and the president. Now in power is a new democratic government that Paraguay is proud of. The capital Asuncion (photo of attractions is presented on the page) is a city where architectural monuments of past years and Art Nouveau designs peacefully coexist in the neighborhood. Proof of this is the palace, proudly painted on the background of a modern skyscraper.Previously, this building was impossible not only to photograph - it was forbidden even to walk past it. And now - please. It is even allowed to walk on magnificent lawns and go inside. This is reported by all tourist brochures. But they are silent about the slums of the poor, located just a few steps from the palace. This is really a city of contrasts! In the evening, and in the afternoon too, it is very unfriendly there. Even the police in this area are visited only in groups. True, in recent years slums have pushed a little. On the street of the Republic (Av. Republica), besides the palace, there are curious monuments and the Palacio Legislativo - National Museum of Paraguay.
The building of the former Parliament
Although the capital of Paraguay (Asuncion) already exists for nearly five hundred years, there is little ancient antiquity here. Most of the surviving historic buildings were built 100-200 years ago. For example, El Cabildo, he is also the house where the Paraguayan Parliament met until 2003. It was erected in 1844 by the father of the infamous Francisco Solano López, also a harsh dictator Carlos Antonio López. In itself, this building can not be called an architectural marvel, but it looks neat and beautiful, especially with night lighting.Now it houses a cultural center, all kinds of exhibitions are held. In front of the El Cabildo is a monument to the Spaniard with the unusually long name for us Juan de Salazar and Espinosa. It was he, being a conquistador, in the distant 1537th who laid here the first stone of the settlement, which later became Asuncion.
National Congress Building
Despite the fact that President Lopez was a tough dictator, the capital of Paraguay does not forget it. In front of the National Congress there is a monument depicting a rider on a hard horse. This is Lopez imprinted in the stone. The building of the Congress itself is also of interest, if only because it was built in the 16th century. During its long life, it has never been subjected to facade changes, for which it was included in the list of buildings and architectural monuments of the cultural heritage of UNESCO. From the monument to Lopez, the road descends to the river, where tourists are not supposed to go because of the very bad crime situation in those places.
Asuncion, the capital of the Republic of Paraguay, has a strange feature - on weekdays, life in its center is in full swing, as in a cauldron, and on weekends it completely stops.It becomes quiet and deserted, like in a graveyard. And only in the area of Independence Square (De La Constitucion) is always crowded. Around there are several beautiful buildings, built in the 17-19 centuries. Here is a shady square where you can relax, a cafe and several points of sale of Coca-Cola, which Paraguayans drink no less than their famous tea. Here, on the square, hundreds of souvenirs are sold, and on holidays interesting events with national dances and songs take place. For example, such as in the photo below. On the street only +5aboutC, and the kids are dancing barefoot. The square is located a few steps from the Congress building.
In many wars in its history participated Paraguay. The capital Asuncion respects the fallen heroes and honors their memory. For them, the rather interesting building of the Pantheon towers on the Place de la Heroes. Its entrance is made with elements of classical Greek architecture, and the upper part and the domes are somewhat similar to similar structures in Rome. In general, the Asuncion Pantheon stands out favorably against the general background of urban buildings. At the entrance are sentries. Inside there are a lot of columns and nice porticoes, there are also monuments to famous Paraguayan personalities. In the center of the Pantheon is a hall with a sarcophagus of the very Lopez, who killed half the country.Grateful descendants also built him a gilded monument. He stands surrounded by tablets with the names of the heroes who died in different years for Paraguay. There is also a tablet dedicated to Russian emigre warriors.
This landmark, without a visit which does not do any tour of Asuncion, is interesting because it is the oldest building in the city. The house appeared in 1772 and was the dwelling of Antonio Saenz and Petrona Caballero. With the children of this glorious couple, the building became the place of secret gatherings of revolutionaries. In 1811, the country's independence was proclaimed here, as a result of which a new state of Paraguay, independent of Spain and Argentina, appeared. His capital, Asuncion, was experiencing many more cataclysms after that. But this holy building for the Portuguese has been preserved. Externally, there is nothing special about it - an ordinary one-story house under a tiled roof, similar to a rural one. Inside there is a museum where you can see the documents and objects of the era of the liberation struggle.
The capital of Paraguay, Asuncion, lives without a metro. Move here on buses that can stop anywhere.You just need to “vote” with your hand with your finger pointing forward. That is, bus stops in this city are not relevant. There is a railway connection between Argentina and Brazil in Asuncion, but the trains here seem to be from the nineteenth century. In the building that was once the railway station, the Asuncionans opened a museum dedicated to this type of transport. To look there will be interesting and informative. The museum is allowed to touch absolutely all the exhibits, flipping documents. Also here you can enter the carriage in which the country's elite went, to see how the compartments were equipped for these individuals.
In Asuncion live mostly Catholics. But there are Orthodox. Churches and temples are missing here. Many were built by Jesuits, therefore, they are quite interesting from the point of view of architecture. For believers of tourists, interest, of course, is not only in appearance, but also in internal content. You can see in Asuncion the Church of the Incarnation - a building without any strict architectural style, but beautiful, or the Church of the Holy Trinity. Or, for example, the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary, built almost 200 years by various architects.That is why Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassical and Moorish intertwined in his appearance. It is located in the center of the city, near - the same descent to the river, on which tourists do not need to walk. Inside the cathedral is very beautiful, special attention attracts the richest altar. But getting inside is difficult, as the building is quite often locked up.
Zoo and Botanical Garden
The area where the capital is located, Paraguay as a whole, and the whole of Latin America are extremely picturesque. There are many exotic plants and all kinds of animals. The forests here are notable for the famous yerba, from which they make mate, palm trees, kebracho (sinks in water), palaboracio (or "drunk block of wood"). Right on the streets of the city, in parks and squares, you can see assorted parrots, long-nosed toucans, and on the outskirts, especially near the river, frozen ibises waiting for prey. In the forests located near Asuncion live capybaras, armadillos, kinkazhi, anteaters. But hiking trails do not pass through forests. To look at all this flora and fauna, you need to go to the botanical garden and zoo, located nearby. Also in the complex there is a museum of old utensils and zoo museums with rather ambiguous exhibits. Getting there is more convenient by taxi. In the botanical garden are many shady alleys with fountains.In the zoo there are several lakes with waterfowl. In the center of one of them is a monkey island.
And this lively landmark boasts Paraguay. The capital, or rather, its center is located on the reservation of real poppy Indians just one and a half hours away by bus (goes to Mariano Roca Alonso). But it's better to get there by taxi. There are crowds of tourists here, although there are few interesting things here. These Indians are somewhat reminiscent of our gypsies (those that do not work). Most of them live in buildings like a barn or a shed. Men meditate all day, sitting on the street and contemplating the surrounding reality. They will not put feathers on their heads and dance Indian dance without additional payment. Women of the community are engaged in the creation of national souvenirs, which are sold in the local museum-shop. You can walk on the reservation freely, but it is better to take a guide, whose services cost 30 thousand guaranis (about $ 6). Poppy lives at the expense of social assistance from the government and at the expense of us, curious tourists.
A couple of words for last
Asuncion is the capital, let's say, not rich. We go here for the exotic, and fall into the last century.Many roads of Asuncion, even in the center, have a deplorable appearance, the streets are not surprising with cleanliness, and buildings painted with home-grown graffiti artists are depressing. Transportation here is also not very. What are their trains worth! And the buses? Sometimes it seems that you go to a museum exhibit. The sights of Asunción are not very impressive for experienced tourists. To many, they seem simple and naive. And, nevertheless, this city deserves attention. There are several universities, there are excellent stadiums, many beautiful squares and squares, dozens of monuments, theaters work. Representations in them are interesting even to those who do not know either Spanish or Guarani (the second official language). There is also a very good shopping, for which there are wonderful shopping centers, for example, Shoping del Sol, Mariscal Lopez. They can not only profitable to buy, but also to eat, watch a movie, go skating. And in the Asuncion market, you can buy the freshest and most delicious exotic fruits. Some believe that it is always hot in Paraguay. This is not true. In winter, which begins in May and lasts through September, the thermometer may drop to zero.In the summer heat is rare. Basically, the air temperature is kept within + 25-28aboutFROM.