San Ignacio, Paraguay

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San Ignacio
City & district
Good Friday procession in Tañarandy
Good Friday procession in Tañarandy
Flag of San Ignacio
Official seal of San Ignacio
Location of the district of San Ignacio on the Misiones Department.
Location of the district of San Ignacio on the Misiones Department.
San Ignacio is located in Paraguay
San Ignacio
San Ignacio
Location of the district of San Ignacio on the Misiones Department.
Coordinates: 26°53′12″S 57°01′42″W / 26.88667°S 57.02833°W / -26.88667; -57.02833Coordinates: 26°53′12″S 57°01′42″W / 26.88667°S 57.02833°W / -26.88667; -57.02833
CountryFlag of Paraguay.svg Paraguay
DepartmentBandera del Departamento de Misiones.JPG Misiones
FoundedDecember 29, 1609; Fathers Marcial de Lorenzana and Francisco de San Martín, helped by the Chief Arapysandú
 • MayorMirena Salas de Ruíz (ANR)
 • Total2,020 km2 (780 sq mi)
124 m (407 ft)
 • Total24,468
 • Density12/km2 (30/sq mi)
Time zone-4 Gmt
Postal code
Area code(s)(595) (782)

San Ignacio (Spanish pronunciation: [san iɣˈnasjo]), also known as San Ignacio Guazú, is a district and largest city of the Misiones Department of Paraguay, located 225 kilometres (140 mi) from Asunción.


It was founded on December 29, 1609 by the Jesuit Priests Marcial de Lorenzana and Francisco de San Martín, accompany by Cacique (native word for “chief”) Arapysandú, who took them to his lands, where they built an altar and celebrated the first mass.

The Jesuit Mission was established officially in 1610 with the name of “San Ignacio Guazú” so it wouldn't be confused with another mission “San Ignacio Miní” in Misiones, Argentina. In February of the same year, Father Roque González de Santa Cruz organized the mission, turning it into the center of all the Jesuit missions in Paraguay. The Jesuits that founded other towns such as: Santa Rosa, Santiago, Santa María, San Cosme y Damián and even Encarnación, left from San Ignacio in order to do so.

Originally located in the area where nowadays is Santa Rita, moved to Santiago and later to the current location.

The first inhabitants of San Ignacio were the natives that learned many arts from the European masters.


San Ignacio is an important center for commerce, cattle and agriculture, besides from the historical and cultural richness. His strategic location, in the central area of the department and with several road sections, its population is the one with the most dynamic and economical activity of the department.


The church of San Ignacio

It is considered “Capital of the Hispanic-Guaraní Baroque”, because of the countless pieces of art from that time that is preserve in the city. Some of them are pieces of the church of San Ignacio.

In the Diocesan Museum of Jesuit Art, that is from the time of the Spanish colony, are found statues of saints and objects of great value and variety, plus documents and maps from the first Jesuit mission in Paraguay. This museum is directed by the priests of the Company of Jesus, and it is organized in four halls:

  • The Creation (allegory: The Word of God, the fight between Good and Evil, and an image of a child guided by an Angel of the Creation)
  • The Redemption (statues of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus)
  • History of Christ in the Church (images of saints)
  • Jesuit Company (recreation of the history of the company that founded the missions)

Other historical places are the Museum of the Chaco Heroes “Museo Semblanza de Héroes” that has a collection of objects from the War of Chaco and the Paraguayan War. The House of Culture, a house from the time of the colony, is an example of the architecture of the period. One of these houses is now the Documentation Center of “Files of the Dictatorial Government of Stroessner / House of the Victims 1954-1989, and is located across from the church.

Every year, in January, the festivity of the Missioner Tradition is celebrated, in which are exhibited the folkloric traditions of the country, the ability for riding horses and the food. The most typical food in the area is the “batiburrillo”.

In Tañarandy, a company of the city, the front of the houses is usually painted with illustrations of the work their inhabitants do. In this place settled the natives that didn't allowed to be dominated by the Jesuit, the name means “land of the demons” or “land of the heretic”.

A tradition of the inhabitants is that the Holy Friday, at sunset, a great procession march with candles, reliving one of the oldest catholic rituals, the singing and the “jetopa” (Guaraní word for “gathering”) of the people in the Stations of the Cross. Tourist from all around the country as well as other from outside come around this date to see “the living pictures”, when local actors represent famous painting in a special scenography. This activity was promoted by the Paraguayan artist Koki Ruíz, and counts with the support of the entire community of San Ignacio.

On May 15, it is celebrated a festivity in honor of San Isidro Labrador, in the neighborhood that carries his name. On July 31 is the festivity of San Ignacio.


In San Ignacio, the campus of the Universidad Católica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Catholic University of Our Lady of the Ascension) offers the young people studies of: Science of Education, Law and Social Sciences, Administration, Accounting and Informatics Engineering. There is also a national university, the Universidad Nacional de Pilar and many others privates universities such as UniNorte, UTCD, UPAP, Universidad Autónoma del Sur, Universidad Maria Auxiliadora[permanent dead link], Universidad del Pacífico among others.

List of high schools[edit]

Institution name Type Religious Shift Secondary
Centro Educativo Agroecológico San Isidro Labrador PS Boarding No
  • Agropecuario
Colegio Jesús de Nazareth PR Night Yes No
Colegio Nacional Augusto Roa Bastos PU Morning Yes No
Colegio Nacional Don Julio Afara PU Morning Yes No
Colegio Nacional Egidio Ruiz Aranda PU Afternoon Yes No Web site
Colegio Nacional Martin Rolón PU Afternoon Yes No
Colegio Nacional Padre Luis Parola PU Night Yes No
Colegio Nacional Prof. Dr. Luis María Argaña PU Morning Yes No
Colegio Nacional San Ignacio de Loyola PU Morning,
  • Contabilidad
  • Informática
Colegio Nacional San Ignacio PU Night Yes No
Colegio Nacional San Javier PU Morning Yes No
Colegio Nacional Santa Rita PU Afternoon Yes No
Colegio Nacional de EMD Don Rigoberto Caballero PU Morning,
  • Contabilidad
  • Electricidad
  • Mecánica General
Web site
Colegio San Vicente de Paúl PS Catholic Morning Yes
  • Informática
Eco Colegio Paraguay PR Morning,
  • Salud
Web site
Liceo Nacional Comandante Eduardo Ramirez PU Morning Yes No


Television Networks/Cable Station[edit]

FM Radio Stations[edit]

  • 95.3 FM: Radio Activa
  • 93.3 FM: Del Sol
  • 96.3 FM: Libertad
  • 88.1 FM: Monseñor Bogarín
  • 89.7 FM: San Ignacio
  • 93.7 FM: UNASUR
  • 96.3 FM: Libertad

AM Radio Stations[edit]

  • 1040 AM: Arapysandú

Notable people[edit]


  • Geografía Ilustrada del Paraguay, Distribuidora Arami SRL; 2007. ISBN 99925-68-04-6
  • Geografía del Paraguay, Primera Edición 1999, Editorial Hispana Paraguay SRL,

External links[edit]