Asunción is the capital and largest city of Paraguay. The metropolitan area, called Gran Asunción, includes the cities of San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora, Lambaré, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Ñemby, San Antonio, Limpio, Capiatá and Villa Elisa, which are part of the Central Department. The Asunción metropolitan area has more than 2 million inhabitants. It is the home of the national government, principal port, and the chief industrial and cultural centre of the country. Local manufacturing production includes footwear, textiles, and tobacco products.
Asunción is one of the oldest cities in South America and the longest continually inhabited area in the River Plate Basin; for this reason that it is known as "Mother of Cities". It was from here that the colonial expeditions departed to found other cities, including the second foundation of Buenos Aires and of other important cities such as Villarrica, Corrientes, Santa Fe and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Asunción city sits on the left bank of the Paraguay River, almost at the confluence of this river with the River Pilcomayo. The Paraguay River and the Bay of Asunción in the northwest separate the city from the Occidental Region of Paraguay and Argentina in the south part of the city. The rest of the city is surrounded by the Central Department.
Open Water Swimming
- María Digna Escurra de Ortellado (known as the Sirena del río Paraguay or Paraguay River Mermaid) swam 179 kilometers (111 miles) from Asunción to Formosa in 38 hours 20 minutes in 1954. She was coached by Armando Burifaldi who previously held the record.
- Digna Escurra swam 80 kilometers (49.7 miles) from Asunción in 19 hours 10 minutes and 8 kilometers to the south of Puerto Sara in 1956.
- Victoria Bisso swam 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) from Villa Hayes to Asunción in Paraguay together with her sister Maria Elena Bisso.