Asunción, the capital city of Paraguay, is also the nation’s largest city. With a population of 680,000 in the city proper and 1.8 million in the metropolitan area, Asunción simply dwarfs all other cities in Paraguay. Asunción is located in the southwestern portion of Paraguay, on the left bank of the Paraguay River. The Spanish word “Asunción” means “assumption” and refers to the Assumption of Mary.
Asunción is not only the seat of Paraguay’s government, it also the home of the nation’s stock exchange, a principal port on the river (Paraguay is landlocked and therefore has no seaports), and a cultural and industrial center, producing footwear, tobacco products, and textiles.
Asunción is alsoa favorite tourist destination. Like the rest of Paraguay, Asunción is very inviting to tourists and welcomes all out-of-towners. Asunción is where you find some of the best hotels and restaurants in all of Paraguay. The cosmopolitan lifestyle of Asunción is what draws many tourists to its streets.
Asunción is known as the “Mother of Cities” because it is one of the oldest cities in all of South America. Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar y Espinoza stopped there in August of 1537 when searching for other missing explorers and discovered friendly natives and so decided to found a fortress on the site, naming it after the religious feast of August 15, Nuestra Senora de la Asunción (Our Lady of the Assumption). A later influx of Spaniards fleeing the destruction of Buenos Aires would see Asunción growing in standing.
After Paraguay gained its independence from Spain in 1811, Asunción saw much prosperity, as roads, factories, railroads, and schools were built. However, in 1864 Paraguay fought against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance that lasted five years. After a six year occupation by Brazilian troops, Paraguay began to recover. An influx of immigrants from the Old World in the late 19th- and early 20th-century added to the nation’s recovery and created a change in the overall appearance of Asunción’s composition and architecture that lasts to this day.
Asunción has a tropical savanna climate, meaning that it has a dry season from June to September and a wet season for the rest of the year. The dry season is the time to visit, as it isn’t so hot and humid. In fact, it is very mild and pleasant.
Asunción has many public and private schools and two major universities. It possesses a literacy rate of 95% the highest in Paraguay. It also has an international airport that can reached with just a few stops from many American cities.
When it comes to tourist attractions, Asunción doesn’t hold back. It has two major museums, many old churches and other historical landmarks, the Calle Palma (a historical shopping district), six football (soccer) teams and their stadiums, two different strips for nightclubs and bars, and quite a few orchestra, ballet and theater companies. Asunción is every bit the modern city, but also located close to some great ecotourist sites if that is more your style. No matter what you’re looking for in Paraguay, the capital of Asunción has it!