Margaret Hebblethwaite tells the legend behind Iguazú Falls and how they came to be.Read more...
Paraguay - At a glance
Paraguay at a glance
Location Paraguay is in the centre of South America, without a coastline. Its neighbours are Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia.
Climate Subtropical, generally hot and humid, particularly in January, with a few cold weeks from June to August. Heavy thunderstorms are common, as are months of drought. The Chaco has a rainy season and a dry season.
Status Republic with a president
Origin of the population Indigenous from many peoples but especially Guaraní; Spanish and their mestizo (mixed race) descendants; more recent immigrants, especially Brazilians, Argentinians, Germans and Koreans
Life expectancy 67 years
Capital Asunción, population 515,588
Other main towns Ciudad del Este, Concepción, Encarnación, Pedro Juan Caballero, Villarrica
Administrative structure 17 departamentos plus the capital
Principal exports Hydro-electric power, beef, soya, leather, wood, cotton, sugar, tobacco, yerba maté, marijuana
GDP US$3,878 per capita in 2012
Official languages Spanish and Guaraní
Currency Guaraní (Gs); for up-to-date exchange rates, go to www.xe.com.
Airport Silvio Pettirossi, Asunción
International telephone code +595
Internet domain .py
Time GMT –4 (but because the summertimes of the two hemispheres are different, Paraguay is 3 hours behind London from October to March, and 5 hours behind from March to October)
Weights and measures Metric; kilograms and kilometres
Flag Red, white and blue horizontal bands, with the shield of the republic in the middle on one side of the flag, and a lion in the middle on the other side
National anthem Paraguayos, ¡República o muerte! (first line of anthem chorus)
National flower Passion flower (Guaraní mburucuyá)
National holidays 1 January: Año nuevo (New Year); 1 March: Día de los héroes (Heroes’ Day – anniversary of death of Mariscal López); Variable Maundy Thursday and Good Friday; 1 May: Día del trabjador (Workers’ Day); 14 and 15 May: Día de la Independencia (Independence Day); 12 June: Día de la paz del Chaco (Peace after the Chaco War); 15 August: Fundación de Asunción (The Assumption); 29 September: Aniversario de la Victoria de Boquerón (Victory of Boquerón in the Chaco War); 8 December: Fiesta de la Virgen de Caacupé (The Immaculate Conception – feast day of Caacupé); 25 December Navidad (Christmas)
The following are also generally celebrated nationwide: 30 July: Día de la Amistad (friendship day, when people give little presents to their friends); 21 September: Día de la Juventud (day for young people, when there is often a parade of floats by educational establishments; it is also the first day of spring).
National tree Lapacho (Guaraní tajý)
National bird Bellbird (pájaro campana)
Most successful sport Football
Most famous writer Augusto Roa Bastos
Most famous composer Agustín Pío Barrios (Mangoré)
NB: figures are from the 2012 Dirección General de Estadística, Encuestas y Censos (DGEEC) and the Enciclopedia Concisa de Py.