Coronel Oviedo, Paraguay - Polarsteps
Coronel Oviedo, Paraguay, population: 72,000, but the metropolitan area/district is about 170,000 people. Oviedo is located midway between Asunción and Ciudad del Este (the two largest cities in Paraguay), and pretty much dead center in the southern half of the country. Therefore, its location makes it an important crossroads for anyone traveling east-west or north-south.
The city has a philharmonic orchestra (more than 40 members) and the Coronel Oviedo Cultural Society. The Cultural Society is mostly young people who dedicate time and energy to the audiovisual arts. Because of the work they have done, Oviedo is considered one of the main cities in Paraguay dedicated to cinema. The Cultural Society is also the organizer of the country's longest-running short film festival, the "National Short Film Competition", which has been running since 2005.
The city was founded in 1758, with the name "Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Ajos". The town's economy was based on agriculture and exporting of black tobacco to Spain. In 1931, the then President of Paraguay changed the name of the town to Coronel Oviedo in honor of one of the great heroes of the War of the Triple Alliance. The Triple Alliance was Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina at war with Paraguay between 1864-1869.
The city's economy is supported by local services, distribution centers, agriculture (in particular - oranges and strawberries), livestock, and tourism. I've noticed something interesting here that does not exist anywhere else I've ever been - orange trees along the sidewalks. Like in Barranquilla, Colombia, where they have mango trees along the sidewalks, here it's oranges. Not just in Oviedo but throughout this part of Paraguay. I also noticed that the oranges have pretty much been picked out of all the low-hanging branches leaving only the oranges that are out of reach.
So, my impressions: Oviedo is not particularly beautiful, and there's no central plaza, but there are two plazas a few blocks apart. One has the main church on one side, and the other is a memorial to fallen military personnel. The city has paved over most of its cobblestone roads, the remaining cobbled roads are in the suburbs. The central business district is longer than it is wide, I walked all of it, and it took a while to walk the length of it. The one thing I didn't like was the heavy truck traffic. Being a central hub city in the country, there is a lot of tractor-trailer traffic through this town. The town is mostly an agricultural town. There are a few tourist areas outside of the city, but nothing for tourists in the city.
My South America Journey