This museum is difficult to find – it hasn’t even got a sign – but it’s a thrilling insight into the country’s past and present.
I’d been in Asuncion for a week researching, of all things, Paraguay’s national anthem (the brilliantly named 'Republic or Death'), when I decided to visit the Museo del Barro.
I had by then fallen for the city – it’s hard not to love a place where the locals spend their time passing around gourds of herb-filled iced tea (terere). But whenever new arrivals at my hotel asked me what they should see I was at a loss; the city’s 'sights' seemed to be its people, not any particular place.
I headed out to the museum without expectations, especially since it was just off one of the city’s busiest roads, had opening hours based around a three-and-a-half hour lunch break and its name apparently translated as 'museum of mud'. But when I finally found it, amid petrol garages and blocks of flats, I was dumbstruck by how great it was.
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There were rooms overflowing with cartoonish Jesuit figurines and smiling traditional masks reflecting Paraguay’s past, bang up against modern exhibits – photos, installations – giving insights into the country’s politics I hadn’t got from many days’ research.
Those juxtapositions made it all feel so exciting, so fresh. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t internationally celebrated. That evening, I told everyone at the hotel where to go. I just made sure to draw them a map.
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This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
This article was written by Alex Marshall from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.