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Nature's Beauty

Paraguay’s Cerro Corá National Park: A Blend of Culture, History, and Nature

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With a rich cultural history and an abundance of natural resources, Paraguay is affectionately referred to as “the land of peace and sunshine.” The Cerro Corá National Park is Paraguay’s largest protected area, covering just over 12,000 hectares of beautiful wilderness in the Amambai Mountains. The park is situated in the northeast of this landlocked South American country, near the Brazilian border.

The precious natural environment of Cerro Corá is also immensely valuable for its cultural and historical significance. Ancient petroglyphs that adorn several hill-caves throughout the park date back over 5,000 years. Additionally, the protected area of Cerro Corá is recognized as one of four cultivated plant origin points for all of America’s northern and southern continents. Cerro Corá is also part of the Atlantic Forest ecosystem that originally spanned uninterrupted through Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. Many people from the animal kingdom call the Cerro Corá region home.

Another large hill, Cerro Guasú, lies within an 8,000-hectare area of forested land named Jasuka Venda. It is inhabited by the indigenous Paĩ Tavyterã people, whose role as protector of these lands holds the utmost cultural and spiritual significance. For the Paĩ Tavyterã, it is here that creation began, where “earth, water, and all the wealth of the planet originated.” Fundamental to their way of life is maintaining a distinct moral tradition, and central to their religious beliefs is the cultivation of a “land without evil,” believing paradise can be achieved on Earth, as it is in Heaven. The ever-present specter of an impending apocalypse is a burden that the Paĩ Tavyterã always bear with the knowledge of a time when the gods’ retribution for humankind’s misdeeds will manifest in the form of destructive monsters and forest fires.

On the wooded banks of a small tributary of the Aquidabán Niguí River within the Cerro Corá National Park is a small stone and brass monument that commemorates the end of a tragic period of conflict on March 1, 1870. This day is now observed as a public holiday, the National Day of Heroes, which annually serves as a reminder for the future generation.

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