Photogallery: Paraguay – A Country of Contrasts
Paraguay – A Country of Contrasts
heading (paragraph): States
No. of pictures: 34 pictures
Paraguay is a country in Latin America without access to the sea. It is situated about 5000 kilometers from the closest sea. Therefore, it is very surprising that the country has been building a strong navy. There aer wonderful contrasts within the country - you can see there horse pulled carriages, luxurious cars, small shops next to huge shopping malls, poverty and unbelievable wealth. Take a look at this interesting country with us.
Text: Lenka Bauerová
Photos: Tomáš Novák
Before we get to Asuncion we need to ride through Gran Chaco which spans across Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. It covers most part of Paraguayan north where most of the war with Bolivia took place in the 1930s. Paraguay won it. The reason for the wall was that both parties mistakenly believed to hold oil resources. Today it is just empy wasteland covered of grass and trees.
The last place on our two-week journey across Paraguay is a city in the east of the country – Ciudad del Este. For many goods being smuggled through here it has been called "South-American supermarket". You can buy almost anything in busy streets in downtown. Brasilians and Argentinians go here to buy all kinds of goods mostly electronics whic is cheaper in Paraguay than in neighboring countries. The city was founded in 1957. Today, there live almost 400 thousand people and is the second largest city in Paraguay. The city lays on the River Parana (the second largest river in South America). The city borders with Argentine and Brasil. The Puente de la Amistad (the Bridge of Peace) links it with Foz do Iguazú.
The city of Encarnacion (the capital of Itapua departament) is situated in the south of Paraguy on the River Parana. The river makes a natural border with Argentina. Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South) is how people call this city of 120 thousand. On the other bank of the river sits Posadas, a city in Argentina. Both banks of the river are linked by the San Roque González de Santa Cruz bridge. The city was founded by the Jesuits in the 17th century. There are many Jesuit missions in this part of Paraguay. There are some well-preserved ruins that we plan to explore. Now we set aside two days to explore Encarnacion.
Jesuit missions are among the most attractive landmarks in Paragueay. I was very interested in such an attraction. I didn't have an idea how such missions look like. The Jeusit missions of Paraguay are mostly along the River Parana and some are also in Brasil, Bolivia, and many in Argentine (the province of Misiones). There are eight Jesuit villages in Paraguay. Three of them are quite well-úreserved. We are heading towards them right now. Missions (native villages) were used to re-education of locals (Guarani tribe) and were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Villages look very similar. Usually, there is a large stone church with sacristy. Adjacent to it, there are several buildings - schools. Then there are dwellings of the natives.
Paraguay is rather a small Southern American country. Still, its area of 406 750 sq kilometers means it is 5x larger than the Czech Republic. Therefore, tourists are motivated to move slowly and to visit small and quieter towns. We hitchhiked one man who told us that only Asunción, Encarnación and Ciudad del Este are considered cities in Paraguay. The rest are villages. And we would soon find it out by ourselves.
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