1. The Country Named After a Parrot
The country of Paraguay has an interesting origin story. It is believed that the name of the country is derived from a parrot named Frank, who was befriended by the earliest Jesuit settlers in the area. Ancient maps even referred to the area as "Parrot". Unfortunately, Frank was eventually eaten by the settlers, but his memory lives on in the name of the country.
2. The Iguacu Falls in Paraguay is an awe-inspiring sight to behold
The majestic Iguacu Falls, located on the River Iguacu in Paraguay, is an awe-inspiring sight to behold. Spanning an impressive width of twice that of the Niagara Falls, the Iguacu Falls is also taller than its North American counterpart. Comprised of more than 275 individual cascades, the Iguacu Falls is a must-see for any traveler visiting Paraguay.
3. Dueling in A Legal Activity with a Few Cautions
In Paraguay, dueling is a legal activity, but with a few caveats: both competitors must be registered blood donors, and medical staff must be present at the duel. This ensures that any injuries sustained during the duel can be treated quickly and effectively, and that the blood supply is not depleted.
4. Paraguay's Navy is the Largest in the World
Paraguay is a land-locked country in South America, yet it boasts the largest navy of any other land-locked country in the world. This impressive feat is made possible by the country's extensive network of rivers, which the navy uses to patrol and protect the country's borders. The navy consists of a fleet of patrol boats, as well as a number of other vessels, and is responsible for the security of the country's waterways. The navy also plays an important role in the country's economy, providing transportation and support for the fishing and agricultural industries.
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5. Paraguay's Itapu Dam is the World's Largest Hydroelectric Power Plant
Paraguay is home to the world's largest hydroelectric power plant, located at the Itapu Dam on the Parana River, which forms the country's south-eastern border. The Itapu Dam is an impressive feat of engineering, standing at a height of 200 meters and spanning a width of 1,350 meters. It has a total installed capacity of 14,000 megawatts, enough to power over 10 million homes. The dam is also a major tourist attraction, with visitors coming from all over the world to marvel at its size and power.
6. A Country Without an Aristocratic Upper Class
Unlike most other Latin American countries, Paraguay does not have an aristocratic upper class. This is due to the country's history of social and political upheaval, which has resulted in a more egalitarian society. Paraguayans are proud of their lack of a privileged class, and the country's constitution enshrines the right of all citizens to equal access to education, healthcare, and other public services. This has helped to create a more level playing field for all citizens, regardless of their social or economic background.
7. Paraguay's Pantanal is the largest freshwater wetland in the world
Paraguay is home to the largest freshwater wetland in the world, the Pantanal. Spanning across three countries - Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia - the Pantanal is an incredible ecosystem that is home to a variety of wildlife, including jaguars, giant river otters, capybaras, and over 650 species of birds. It is also an important source of food and livelihood for the local communities, providing them with fish, timber, and other resources. The Pantanal is a unique and precious natural resource, and Paraguay is proud to be a part of it.
8. Paraguay's Historic Railway: A Milestone
Paraguay's first railway line was a remarkable feat of engineering, built by British engineers between 1858 and 1861. Spanning over 200 miles, the railway connected the capital city of Asuncion to the port of Encarnacion, allowing for the transportation of goods and people between the two cities. This railway line was a major milestone in Paraguay's history, as it allowed for the country to become more connected and prosperous.
9. Doorbells are a thing of the past in this hot country
In Paraguay, doorbells are a thing of the past. Instead, when you arrive at someone's home, you are expected to announce your presence by clapping your hands. This is made easier by the hot weather in the country, which means windows are often left open, allowing the claps to be heard loud and clear.
10. Saying "hello" is optional
In Paraguay, instead of saying "hello" when you meet someone, you must say "adios" - which literally translates to "goodbye". This is a subtle way of conveying that you don't have the time to stop and chat, and is a cultural norm in the country. It's a unique way of greeting people, and is a reminder of the importance of time in Paraguay.
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- Member states of Mercosur
- Southern Cone countries
- Countries in South America
- Spanish-speaking countries and territories
- Former Spanish colonies