Parque del Pasatiempo/Pastime Park
This is one of my favorite spots in A Coruña. Located in Betanzos, just 15 minutes from the city, you are immediately transported to another world. I last visited Parque del Pasatiempos in the summer of 2018 and it was in great need of repair. Since then, it has been closed to the public awaiting the much needed renovation work. Fortunately, local authorities have given the go ahead to start the first phase of the renovation project.
Now, let me take you back in time to learn the history of the park. Brothers Juan and Jesus Garcia Naveira emigrated to Argentina in the 1800s. After working for many years and making a fortune, they came back to Betanzos, A Coruña in 1893. They generously gave funds to schools, hospitals, hospices, etc. However, Juan Garcia wanted to create a theme park where people in town could get to know different parts of the world in a time when traveling was a luxury. The Pasatiempos Park was like a miniature Universal Fair portraying sculptures, Roman Emperors’ paintings, famous writers’ statues, gardens, fountains and exotic animals and vegetation.
Some photos of the park’s details.
After Juan’s death in 1933 the park was neglected and during the Spanish civil war it was used as a prisoner camp. Afterwards, the park entered a downward spiral until 1986, when the local government bought part of the land and only ten percent of the park was preserved. The most impressive parts like the exotic animals zoo, some fountains and gardens are gone forever.
Here are some old postcards showing how the park looked like when it was created.