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Betanzos, Spain

Parque del Pasatiempo

The remains of an encyclopedic sculpture garden later used as an internment camp. 

Translated as “Pastime Park” or “The Hobby,” Parque del Pasatiempo offers a turn-of-the-century perspective on the wonders of the world.

Completed in 1914, the park was commissioned by the García Naveira brothers who were drawn to the emerging theme park phenomenon and sought to create an educational park based on their own world travels. The result was a sculpture garden that served as a testament to human achievement. The park featured recreations of such sights as the Panama Canal, the Great Wall of China, and a Cairo mosque. Other original attractions included the Avenue of the Emperors, Pope’s Fountain, and a zoo.

Today, only one tenth of the park’s original 90,000 square meters remains. The death of the park’s benefactors and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War resulted in the neglect and destruction of many of the park’s more spectacular attractions. At one point much of the park was used as in internment camp. Restoration efforts began in 1986 but have been halting, impeded by red tape and financial constraints. Still, a core group of supporters remains dedicated to preserving and restoring what remains of the park for future generations.