Official language: Spanish, Guarani
Time zone: UTC-4 (summer), UTC-3 (winter)
Currency: Guaraní (PYG)
On weekends (from Saturday evening through whole Sunday) most of companies in Asunción is closed and the centre of the city empties. People spend time at homes or in restaurants.
In 2002 the National Congress was founded – one of the most impressive new buildings in the city. In its mirrored façade slums located by the river are reflecting.
At Plaza de los Heroes there are situated many souvenir shops. It is worth to buy there leather products, sculptural wood (guampa), vessels to drink yerba mate (bombilla) and traditional lace.
Almost 65 percent of 500 thousand of citizens of Asunción are people beneath 30 years old. Thanks to that, the city, in spite of its colonial, seen on every corner history, is vibrant and attracting with its modern architecture, rush typical for metropolis and numerous murals that are example of Paraguayan street art.
Asunción is one of the oldest Spanish settlements in South America and is referred to as “the mother of cities”, as from there set off excursions of colonizers of South America. The city was founded on 15th August 1537 under the name Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, which means the Assumption of Virgin Mary. For more than 350 years it had remained under Spanish reign, until 1811 when Paraguay gained independence. Two years later Asunción was declared the capital of the country. Colonial architecture has survived till today in good shape, of which you can find out yourself, for instance, during a walk by Manzana de la Rivera street, by which are situated restored villas from the 17th and 18th century.
Worth visiting is also the old town with a pantheon (Panteón Nacional), a cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) and a church Iglesia de La Encarnación. It is best to sightsee the district on foot, walking between the streets Colón and Antequera. An interesting place is also a botanical garden, Jardín Botánico, on whose area there is situated a zoo and a museum of natural history. Fans of modern architecture should go to Plaza de los Heroes and Plaza Uruguaya. Make sure to visit also Calle Estrella, where you will see the best murals in the city, among others, a famous El Reservista Purahéei on a corner of Calle Ayolas.
What to eat in Paraguay? Local cuisine is based mainly on beef, that is eaten asado, which means it is grilled. There is plenty of street food, e.g. hot-dogs called there panchos or stalls with empanadas. Traditional dishes are, for instance mbeju – a flat pie of cassava’s flour and cheese, madi’o – stuffed cassava’s pie, payagua mascada – tortilla from cassava and beef and chi so’s – bread stuffed with beef. Where to eat? For quick stop we recommend street food or market, for dinner – restaurants such as La Cabrera, Lo de Osvaldo or Ese Lugar.