Paraguay's Best Cities: Asuncion and Ciudad Del Este
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Paraguay's Best Cities: Asuncion and Ciudad Del Este

A country known as the “Heart of America” is Paraguay, located in Central South America, northeast of Argentina. It’s landlocked, squeezed between Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. It’s the only country that has no access to the sea.

A country known as the “Heart of America” is Paraguay, located in Central South America, northeast of Argentina. It’s landlocked, squeezed between Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. It’s the only country that has no access to the sea.

Flag of Paraguay

Paraguay had been a colony of Spain who achieved its independence in 1811. They lost two-thirds of their soldiers during the disastrous “War of the Triple Alliance” in 1865–1870. This war was fought against Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay to gain access to the sea. They lost but they won the “Chaco War” of 1932-1935 with Bolivia. Paraguay then gained a large part of the Chaco lowland region. This war claimed 36,000 lives among their soldiers, and this explains the country's low population density. However, in recent decades high population growth was recorded.

Map of Paraguay

Along with the high population growth is a boom in tourism and economy. Asuncion, the capital city offers many subtle charms. Its full name is “La Muy Noble y Leal Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asuncion” (The Very Noble and Loyal City of our Lady Holy Mary of the Assumption). It is also known as the “Mother of Cities” because it’s one of the oldest cities in South America. It was before an important city to the Spanish colonial administration, and today it is the home of the national government, principal port, and the chief industrial and cultural center of the country.

Among the most beautiful spots to see at Asuncion are the following:

Panteon Nacional de los Heroes - it symbolizes the Paraguayan history; it’s a memorial to the fallen soldiers of the country's battles and wars fought.

Casa de la Independencia Museum - showcases pieces of history that dates back to the independence of the country, and it was once the secret meeting place of revolutionaries plotting to break away from Spain.

Casa de los Diputados – it was once a convent, and then made into a blood bank during the Chaco War, and then they turned it into a military museum, then a cultural center. Now this building contains offices for members of Congress.

Casa Viola - one of the few surviving colonial buildings, which now is a museum. It is a primary example of early colonial architecture.

The Palacio de los Lopez - the old Senate building.

Calle Palma - the main street downtown where several historical buildings, plazas, shops, restaurants and cafes are located. Asuncion of course offers a lot more than this.

On the eastern part of the city along the border of Brazil is Ciudad del Este (City of the East). It is the capital of Alto Parana department of Paraguay, and was originally called Puerto Flor de Lis (Port Fleurdelis). It’s the second largest city in the country, and the third largest free-tax commerce zone in the world.

Ciudad del Este is the largest shopping center in South America. Stores sell an endless variety of products imported from the biggest and most advanced industrial centers in the world. And since this city is tax-free, people from Brazil cross the Friendship Bridge to buy items and make a profit from it at home. Shoppers will find quality products made with the most advanced technology, at very attractive prices.

But although it has been said that there has been reported activities of smuggling in the city, Ciudad del Este is still very popular among tourists for its reputation that anything can be found there, name it and the have it. It’s the only place in South America where you can find cheap electronics, exotic pets, counterfeit goods, pirated CDs and DVDs, and even AK-47 rifles. With the number of tourists and shoppers from other countries coming in every month, the city is undoubtedly a shopper’s haven.

Among the beautiful sights to see when you’re in Ciudad del Este are nearby attractions such as:

The Iguazu Falls - the second largest in the world after Victoria Falls in Africa and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Dam – one of the largest dams in the world, with a total length of 8 kilometers and a height of 225 meters. It has 14 gigantic spillways which form artificial waterfalls and generates 12,600,000 kilowatts of clean electric energy.

Salto Monday – Paraguay’s highest waterfall.

Paraguay is a jewel of South America. There are many historical and beautiful places to visit and see. It’s definitely worth the travel. What Paraguayans are now looking forward at the moment isn’t an increase in tourism, but a victory in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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