Nothing symbolizes Paraguayan history more than the National Pantheon of Heroes, a memorial to the fallen soldiers of the country's hopeless battles and disastrous wars. Construction began in 1864 under the regime of Francisco Solano López, who envisioned a chapel modeled after Les Invalides in Paris. López was soon to lead Paraguay into the catastrophic War of the Triple Alliance. The building was completed in 1936 after the Pyrrhic victory of the Chaco War against Bolivia. López is interred here, as are the remains of two of Paraguay's unknown soldiers. The wars still loom large in Paraguay's consciousness, but commemorative plaques placed on the walls by the old enemies—Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Uruguay—illustrate that all is forgiven if not forgotten. Two sentinels guard the eerily quiet memorial, a place of pilgrimage for every Paraguayan who visits Asunción.
Mariscal Estigarribia at Plaza de los Héroes, Asunción, Paraguay