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Sitting on the north bank of the Rio Parana on Paraguay's southern border with Argentina, the city of Encarnación lies in two distinct parts.

Ruins of the Jesus Jesuit missionNext to the river's edge is the colonial part of town, home to old public buildings and some housing, whilst higher up, overlooking the river, are the city's larger businesses.

Perhaps the biggest attraction of Encarnación are the Jesuit ruins of Trinidad and Jesus, which are the best preserved in the country. Designed by the Italian Juan Bautista Primoli, the ruins were barely finished by the time of the Jesuit expulsion from the country in 1767.

Rarely does one find a UNESCO World Heritage Site with so few visitors, but that’s only part of the attraction of these impressive Jesuit Missions. A walk around the atmospheric red-brick hilltop ruins allows you to absorb a sense of what once made these 17th and 18th century colonies so powerful that the Spanish crown had them abolished.

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Map of Encarnación

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