The City of Filadelfia
Filadelfia is the administrative center of Fernheim. In 1931, this Mennonite colony was founded and 1993 it was endorsed as the capital city of the province. In 2006, Filadelfia becamea 13.879 km2 big district with its own municipality. Currently it has a population of around 18.000 people.
A future plan of the city was developed including the division of the city in zones: the industrial area, commercial area and residential area. The name of the avenue “Hindenburg” reminds us of the kind welcome the Mennonites got when they came as refugees from Russia. This possibility was given bythe russian (nowadays Germany) president Paul von Hindenburg.
Filadelfia converted into the center of the economic, cultural and spiritual life of the immigrants.
A volunteer team accomplished the first administrative construction in the heart of the town. Nowadays, the corporation finances these constructions. The roads, since the very first path to the traffic network, which connects the villages with the center, are constructed and maintained corporately. In 2009, the first 4 km had been asphalted.
Filadelfia offers infrastructure and services for the whole region. Starting with a simple colony center for the Mennonites, now it has been transformed into a major metropolis for its region.
8 different museums belong to the Association Fernheim. The business hours for visitors are Monday to Saturday: 7:00 am to 11:30 am.
For more information you can contact the tourism office, where you can contact a guide for touring the museums. This office is subordinated of the Cooperative Fernheim and is member of CONRETUR.
The tourism office at the Menno Simons Hof offers following services:
- General information
- Brochures referring to the Cooperative Fernheim and the city of Filadelfia
- Audiovisual presentation of the history of the Mennonites and the Cooperative Fernheim
- Guided tours through the museums of the Colony Fernheim:
- Scientific Museum ‘Jakob Unger’ at the Menno Simons Hof
- Museum of the colony in the city park: “Parque de la Memoria”
- Other museums: household museum “Knelsenhaus”, school museum, museum at the hospital
- Rides, wandering through the city of Filadelfia
- Visit ASCIM, (Asociación de Servicios de CooperaciónIndígena-Menonita) – Association of services of the native and Mennonite cooperation
- Visit Radio ZP30, “la voz del Chaco Paraguayo” – the voice of the Paraguayan Chaco
- Visit ‘Sanatorio Eirene’, (psychiatric sanatorium)
Avenida Hindenburg 131-S esq. Avd. Trébol
0491 41 7380 0985 820 746
Scientific Museum “Jakob Unger”
The scientific “Jakob Unger” museum exhibits a collection of natural and ethnological material from the Chaco – Paraguay and it is located at the “Menno Simons – Hof”.
Jakob Unger was the first colonist who started a biological investigation and embalmed a variety of species and samples for different museums. He donated a large quantity of the embalmed animals to the Colony Fernheim and it is for this reason that the museum was named after him in 1980.
The distinctiveness of the museum is a collection of 210 examples of the 250 categories of birds that live in the Chaco, according to calculation of ornithologists.
In addition to this are coins from the XV century, which probably were brought along during the Spanish expeditions while traveling from Buenos Aires to Peru.
The exposition also boasts examples of the pre-colonial indigenous findings (fossilsof Glyptodonts and Mastodonts species) that had lived here in the Chaco before the last ice age.
Avenida Hindenburg 131-S, esq. Trébol.
This museum tells the history of the hospital in Fernheim. This building was built in 1932 and it consisted of two rooms. It was the first construction on the hospitals property and served as office, operating room, maternity ward and laboratory including the administrators’ office.
In this museum you can find pictures of the history of the hospital, the doctors and some appliances imported from Germany in 1931, as well as some furniture from the early settlement years.
Avenida Hindenburg esq. Trébol
The house what nowadays is a museum that displays what a typical house of the time looked like, was built in 1948 by JakobKnelsen. In the beginning the outer walls were not decorated. Later on this house got renovated and the painting highlighted the coquette construction even more. This house has served as the only hotel for many years in Filadelfia. In 2002, thanks to the initiative of some ladies this house got renovated and converted into a household museum.
The Colony House
The colony house is one of the first buildings constructed during the settlement years between 1933 and 1934. It was the building for the administrative work and later on it was used for different other reasons: as dining hall for high school students or library. For the 50th anniversary of the colony it got converted into a museum.
The colony house is the only building that is preserved like it was constructed and stands as symbol for the residents in Fernheim.
Currently it is showing the exposition ‘patria – homeland’. The majority of the objects are those that were brought from Europe like the expedition equipment, or some utensils fabricated locally in the first years of settlement in Paraguay.
The first high school inFernheim was constructed in the village Schönwiese, Nr. 7, but already in 1935 a new school was built in Filadelfia and opened its doors 1936. One of these buildings nowadays serves as the school museum.
One part of the exposition refers to the elementary school. Wood cubes illustrate the first school in the Chaco bush. Furniture from that time, books and other school material, inclusive blackboards and its markers are shown. Pictures of the different schools in the villages, teachers list, information and statistics are available.
Another part of the exposition presents the technological development throughout the years. Writing and typing machines, episcope, different kinds of movie projectors, copy machine etc. represent the resources of past times.
“Ruedas Pioneras – Pioneer Wheels” Park
This park is located at the east entrance of Filadelfia and its purpose is to remember the communication networks of the colonists in the early settlement years. The Fernheim colonists went to Puerto de Casado with the narrow gauge train and the last 90 kilometers with buggies and wagons pulled by donkeys and mules and later with tractors and trucks. The train was a very important means of transport and commerce for the colonists during their first three decades in the Chaco.
Hotel Florida is a charming hotel located in the centre of Filadelfia. It is a place of relaxation. It has extensive rooms, fresh lounges, excellent restaurant and a colorful garden. Hotel Florida offers national and international meals, swimming pool, car parking lots, fax, WiFi, and computers for use in the reception area and laundry service.
Information regarding tourism in the Chaco and an air-conditioned conference hall are offered as well.