2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Central & South American Geography

Map of Paraguay
Map of Paraguay
Panteón de los Héroes in Asunción
Panteón de los Héroes in Asunción

Asunción, population 1,639,000 ( 2002), is the capital of Paraguay. Its metropolitan area, named Gran Asunción, includes the cities of San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora, Lambaré, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Ñemby and Villa Elisa; having more than 1.5 million inhabitants. Asunción is located at 25°16′S 57°40′W (-25.2667, -57.6667).

It is the seat of government, principal port and chief industrial and cultural centre of the country. Main outputs of the manufacturing industries include footwear, textiles, and tobacco products.

The Spanish word asunción means assumption in English. It refers to the Assumption of Mary.


Asunción is one of the oldest cities in South America, being known as "Mother of Cities". It was from here that the colonial expeditions departed to found other cities, including the second foundation of Buenos Aires and of other important cities such as Villarrica, Corrientes, Santa Fe and Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The site of the city may have been first visited by Juan de Ayolas, but the town, called Nuestra Señora de la Asunción ( Our Lady of the Assumption), was founded on the feast day of the Assumption August 15, 1537, by Juan de Salazar and Gonzalo de Mendoza, relative of Pedro de Mendoza. Thus, the city became the centre 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.

Construction of builidings in Asunción, 1892
Construction of builidings in Asunción, 1892

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 then materialised in 1811. The secret reunions between the independence leaders to plan an ambush against the Spanish Governor in Paraguay Bernardo de Velasco were held at the home of Juana María de Lara, in downtown Asunción. On the night of May 14 and May 15 the rebels succeeded and were able to force the governor Velasco to surrender. Today, Lara's home is known as Casa de la Independencia (House of the Independence) and serves as a museum and historical building.

After Paraguay became independent, there was signifcant change in Asunción. Under the presidency of Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia roads were made throughout the city and the streets were named. However, it was during the presidency of Carlos Antonio López that Asunción (and Paraguay) progressed, 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, his son Francisco Solano López became the new president and led the country through the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance that lasted for five years. After the War of the Triple Alliance ( 1865- 70), Asunción was occupied by Brazilian troops until 1876.

Many historians have claimed that this war has provoked the constant downfall of the city and country, since it massacred two thirds of the country's population. Progress has been tremendously slowed down ever since, and the economy has constantly found itself in stagnation.


Asunción's current population is approximately 539,000 people in the city proper. Roughly 30% of Paraguay's 6 million people live within Greater Asunción. Sixty-five percent of the total population in the city are under the age of 30.

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 1970's, and later because of economic recession in the countryside. The adjacent cities in the Gran Asunción area like 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 Asuncion. These cities have also experienced significant economic growth and expansion, to the point that the boundaries between Asuncion and its adjacent cities has almost but disappeared.


Asunción is located between the parallels 25º 15' and 25º 20' of south latitude and between the meridians 57º 40' and 57º 30' of west longitude. The city sits on the left bank of the Paraguay River, which separates the city in the north-west 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.

Physical setting

Since the location is right next to the Paraguay River the city offers beautiful landscapes and spreads out on gentle hills in a pattern of rectangular blocks. Places like Cerro Lambaré (a hill) located in Lambaré offer a spectacular show in the spring because of the lapacho trees in the area. Parks like Parque Caballero and Parque Carlos Antonio López offer big areas of typical Paraguayan nature and are often frequented by tourists. There are several slightly elevated areas throughout the city (small hills) such as Cabará, Clavel, Tarumá, Cachinga, Tacumbú, among others.


The climate of Asunción can be described as warm and humid for the most part of the year. The average temperature of the city is of 24° C (75.2 F). The average maxima is of 29.4ºC (84.92 F) and the average minima is of 19.2ºC (66.56 F). In 2002, the registered level of rain was of 1,420 milimeters. Usually October is the month with the most precipations, while September is the month with the least amount of precipitation.


The neighbourhoods of Asuncion, called " barrios" by its residents, are the territorial units established by law, and of which Asunción is subdivided into.

The city of Asunción is composed of the following neighbourhoods

  • Campo Grande
  • Carlos A. López
  • Catedral
  • Ciudad Nueva
  • Ricardo Brugada, also known as La Chacarita
  • Dr. Francia
  • El Palomar
  • Gral. Díaz
  • Herrera
  • Hipódromo
  • Itá Pytá Punta
  • Itá Enramada
  • Jara
  • La Encarnación
  • La Residenta
  • Loma Pytá
  • Las Carmelitas
  • Las Lomas
  • Las Mercedes
  • Los Laureles
  • Manora
  • Mbocayaty
  • Mburucuyá
  • Madame Lynch
  • Nazareth
  • Barrio Obrero
  • Pinoza
  • Republicano
  • Recoleta
  • Roberto L. Petit
  • Sajonia
  • Salvador del Mundo
  • San Antonio
  • San Cristóbal
  • San Jorge
  • San Rafael
  • San Roque
  • San Pablo
  • Santa Ana
  • Santa María
  • Santísima Trinidad
  • Tablada Nueva
  • Tacumbú
  • Tembetary
  • Tuyucuá
  • Varadero
  • Villa Antelco
  • Villa Aurelia
  • Villa Morra
  • Villa Victoria
  • Ytay
  • Zeballos Cué


The literacy rate is of 95 percent, the highest in Paraguay. The amount of schools doubled since 1982 creating a big number of jobs for teachers. The amount of students nowadays also doubled, compared to 1962.


The city has a large number of both public and private schools. The most known public schools are the Colegio Nacional de la Capital (which is one of the oldest schools in the city , founded after the Triple Alliance War in 1877), Colegio Presidente Franco and the Colegio Nacional de Niñas (a girls-only school). The most known private schools are Internacional, Colegio San José (catholic school), American School of Asuncion, Colegio Dante Alighieri (Italian school) and Colegio Goethe (German school).


The main universities in the city are the Universidad Católica (private Catholic University) and the Universidad Nacional de Asunción (state-run). The Católica has a small campus in the downtown area next to the Cathedral and a larger campus in the adjoining city of Lambaré, while the Universidad Nacional has its main campus near the adjoining city of Paraguay. There are also a number of smaller privately run universities such as Universidad Americana and Universidad Autónoma de Asunción.

Commerce and Industry

Since its foundation, Asunción has always been the centre of the economic activity in Paraguay. This is mainly due to the location of all the national politic governing bodies and because most of the industrial, diplomatic and economic activities are taken in the city. Most of the population concentrates on commerce and services, followed by the industry and construction sector. Agriculture and animal husbandry is basically non-existent because Asunción is a strictly urban area.


Because the Paraguay River runs right next to Asunción the city is served by a river terminal in the downtown area and in the Sajonia neighbourhood. Public transportation is used heavily and is served through buses that reach all the regions of the city. The main long-distance bus terminal is on the Republica 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. Asunción is served by the Silvio Pettirossi International Airport located in the city of Luque.

Tourist attractions

Traditional buildings in Calle Palma
Traditional buildings in Calle Palma

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

Calle Palma is the main street in downtown where several historical building, plazas, shops, restaurants and cafes are located. The "Manzana de la Rivera", located in front of the presidential palace, is a series of old traditional homes that have been restaured that act as a museum and showcases the architectural evolution of the city. The old railway station still maintains the old trains that now are used in tourist trips to the cities of Luque and Areguá (see Rail transport in Paraguay).

Asunción also has luxurious malls that contain shops of the most well-known brands in the world. The biggest shopping malls are Shopping del Sol, which includes a Macys-style department store; Unicentro, Mariscal Lopez Shopping, Shopping Villa Morra in the central part of the city and the downtown-located Mall Excelsior.

Sports & Other Entertainment

Football is the main sport in Paraguay, and Asunción is home to some of the most important and traditional football teams like Olimpia Asunción, Cerro Porteño and Club Libertad, Club Nacional, Club Guaraní, 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 neighbourhood of Sajonia, just a few minutes away from the centre of Asunción. Since it is a national stadium sometimes it is used for other activities such as rock concerts.

The nightlife revolves around two areas: one in the downtown part of the city and the other in the famous Brazilia Avenue, a strip full of nightclubs and bars.

Sites of Interest

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