Villarrica is a city located in the middle of the Oriental Region of the Paraguayan territory, is capital of the Guairá Department. It was founded by the Spanish Captain Ruy Diaz de Melgarejo on May 14 1570 in the old Guaira, today Brazilian terrirory.
Villarrica has many places that honor the Paraguayan culture, such as the monument to the memory of Manuel Ortiz Guerrero, honorary citizen of the city. About this city Bacón Duarte Prado (journalist and musician) wrote: “Villarrica is the city of the eternal youth, born from the waters of the Ycuá Pytá and the breeze that comes from the hills”.
Founded by the Spanish Ruy Diaz de Melgarejo, 350 km east from the Saltos del Guaira, on May 14, 1570, with the name Villa Rica del Espíritu Santo (Villa Rica of the Holy Ghost), finally settled in 1682 in the hills near the Ybytyruzu, part of the Caaguazú Cordillera, 180 m. above ocean level.
The city had to be moved 7 times before finding a definitive place, because of the invasions of Paulist Bandeirantes, about 20 leagues west from its original place.
In 1592, Ruy Díaz de Guzman moved the city 100 km. East. N 1599 moved it near the Mboteitei River, 100 leagues from Asunción. After long years of peaceful existence, the city was invaded in 1632 by the Mamelucos, and after 4 years of pilgrimage it was settled in the closeness of Mbaracayú. Two years later, the Governor Valderrama determined to situate it in the fields of Yarú. In 1642 the population migrated to Curuguaty.
In 1674, an expedition of hunters of natives went out form San Pablo, lead by Francisco Pedrozo and cross the Paraná and attacked the lands of Guarambaré, Atyrá and the nearby towns to Villa Rica, but that time , the population already had escape to other areas.
In 1678 the population settled close to the Tobatyry River, a place called “Espinillo”, but the soil was no good for agriculture so many people decided to organize and do a recognition expedition to the area beyond the Tebicuary River. They found fertile land near Ybyturuzú, so they requested the Governor authorization to move the city to that place. In May 25, 1682, he gave licence to establish in Ybyturuzú, only if the King approved it too, which he did on May 14, 1701. This date became the definite date of foundation.
The city is settled nearby Ybyturuzú, part of the Caaguazú Cordillera. The land is elevated, rough and wooded, appropriate for cultivate of sugar cane, trees for wood and cattle.
Villarrica has a population of 56.385 habitants, 27.820 of them are men and 28.566 are women, according to the (copy and paste from the other translations)
The neighborhoods are: Ybaroty, San Miguel de Carumbey, Estación, Santa Librada, Santa Lucía, San Blás and Tutytimí.
In the XVI century Ruy Díaz de Melgarejo leave from Ciudad Real with 40 men and 53 horses to the East, where they expected to find mines of gold and silver. When they arrived to the lands of Cacique (Chief) Cuaracyberá, he founded on May 14, 1570 a new town that named Villa Rica del Espíritu Santo. It was named that way because the belief that there was abundant gold and silver in the area and also because the foundation occurred in the proximities of this religious festivity. Because to the constant invasions to the land, the city has to move seven times before settling in a definite place. For this reason has received the name of “Wandering city”. In 1682 is established in the location that still has today. The Franciscan Missioners helped the consolidation of the city, founding in a Guaraní Mission in Itapé. In 1906 it is created the 4th department of the country, form by Villarrica, Itapé, Hiaty, Mbocayaty and Yataity. During the XX century, the exploit of the wood industry in Caaguazú and the importance of Villarrica as an urban center create the necessity of having the train cross the entire department from east to west, contributing this way, with the development of new ways of communication for the area.
The most important economical activities of the department are: the agriculture, breed of small animals, dairy products, the textile industry, commerce and services.
The department has the Route No. 8 “Blas Garay”, which parts from the joint of Route No. 2 “Mariscal Estigarriba” and Route No. 7 “Doctor Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia” and is paved until it reaches Caazapá. There is also another route that joins with Route No. 7, which passes through Mbocayaty, Natalicio Talavera, Troche and Blas Garay.
The city counts with the Catholic University, one of the oldest in the interior of the country. There is also Filial Faculties of the Asunción National University and North University.
It has numerous educational institutions and schools, such as: the National School, the Ortiz Guerreo School, Technical and Vocational National School, the Diosesano Seminar, the Agriculture Regional School, Women Professional Institute, and the Pío XII School of Arts and Crafts.
Villarrica is considered by many as the second most important city, from the point of view of the Culture. Among the different social, recreational and cultural institutions, the next can be mentioned: “El Porvenir Guaireño”, “El Centro Español”, “El Club de Leones” (Lions Club), “Instituto de Cultura Hispánica” (Hispanic Culture Institute), “Teatro Municipal” (Municipal Theatre), “Orquesta de Cámara” (Camara Orchestra), “Escuela Municipal de Danza” (Dance School), “Asociación de Productores de Caña de Azúcar” (Sugar Cane Producers Association), “Liga Guaireña de Fútbol” (Guaira Soccer League) and “Liga Guaireña de Basquetbol” (Guaira Basketball League).
The city has several radio stations, television cable service and a television station, the Channel No. 8.
The people from Guaira have preserve in their culture some myths and legends of the old natives, like the myth of póra (some kind of ghostly figure), pombero, jasy jateré, kurupi, urutau, karau, jakare, among others.
Among the traditions of European origins, many they keep many religious festivities, such as the Crucifix day, also horse raises, cockfights, bullfights and many of dances and typical way of dressing.
One of the most visited places is the Manuel Ortiz Guerrero Park (named this way in 1936, before it was called Ycua Pyta). The park is located in the north of the city, between the neighborhoods Ybaroty and San Miguel.
Manuel Ortiz Guerrero was a poet born in Villarrica, very famous, for whom the artist Javier Báez Rolón made a commemorative sculpture.
Other centers of culture that deserve to be visited are the “Maestro Fermín López” Municipal Library and Museum, where can be found personal belongings of Fermín López and Natalicio Talavera; arms and ammunitions from the Chaco War, a collection of Paraguayan coins and bills, as well as other artifacts: native arrows, axes and bows; also, old furniture, machines, paintings, photographs and pieces of religious art.
Manuel Ortiz Guerrero (1899-1933). The most famous poet from Guaira. He was born, raised and died a poet. He made the poetry his reason to live, and his verses accomplished to touch the national spirit. His life was an example of worthiness, struggle and rightness.
Natalicio de María Talavera (1839-1867). He was a significant representative of the Paraguayan intellectuality in the moments of the first steps of Paraguayan poetry. He lived the tragedy of his country and wrote about it with deep feeling, but unfortunately most of his work was lost during the War against the Triple Alliance.
Ramón Indalecio Cardozo (1877-1943). He was a teacher and sponsor of a new educational system, in which the children were educated in an environment of truth. Between 1921 and 1934, as a reward for his sacrifice and dedicated job for the education of his Villarrica, he was given the position of President of the National Council of Education and the General Direction of Schools.
Efraím Cardozo (1909-1973). He is recognized as the most prolific and systematic historian of the country. He represented the Paraguay in key moments of its history, such as the signing of the Agreement of Piece and Limits with Bolivia. He published many books of Paraguayan History.