The labyrinth of Parque Chas
Many people dare not set foot in the area delimited by the streets Berna, Marsella, La Haya and Ginebra. Once inside, it’s said to be impossible to escape because these circular streets are arranged like a maze. If you turn around and attempt to head back, you’re likely to end up in any part of the Parque Chas neighbourhood other than where you intended.
Legend has it that once, in 1957, a group of French explorers tried to navigate the labyrinth and were next seen three kilometres away in Villa Urquiza. On another occasion, a group of Catalan town planners decided to divide into two groups and walk in opposite directions on one of the circular streets, planning to find each other on the other side. Instead, the first group to arrive on the other side, after some long minutes waiting, finally saw their companions appear coming from the same direction they had walked themselves.
This legend is told in a story by the writer Alejandro Dolina, who talks about the difficulty in finding one’s way around the circular streets in this neighbourhood, concluding that, “Really, it’s better not to approach Parque Chas”.
The curse of the Faculty of Engineering
Not all that glitters is gold, and not all of the stories of the city’s monumental landmarks have happy endings. Construction of the University of Buenos Aires’ current Faculty of Engineering began in 1912 under the orders of the well-known engineer Arturo Prins. Meticulous and obsessive, Prins wanted to construct the most impressive neo-gothic building in the city.
Everything was going well until in 1938, when, with the first stage of construction complete, work mysteriously came to a halt. Some said that the costs had gone over budget; others that a miscalculation had been made and that if work continued the building was going to collapse.
Prins died a year later and there are those who say he committed suicide because he was not able to live with the error he had purportedly made. In the 1950s, a student wanted to finish the building for his thesis. He not only failed to do so but also failed to graduate in the process. Since then, no one else has dared to continue the building, which continues to be used in its imposing but unfinished state on Avenida Las Heras in Recoleta neighbourhood.
The monster of the Ecological Reserve
A mysterious creature is said by some to live in this 350-hectare green space, and nobody knows when it will appear again. Over the years, different stories have spoken of a rat-like mammal the size of a dog, which some have said is probably a coypu, an animal a little like an otter, which inhabits the shores of the river.
The first time it was spoken of was in 1986, days after the space was inaugurated. With such varied flora and fauna in the reserve, it’s difficult to recognise all the species and no one was able to make a definitive identification, giving birth to the legend of “Reservito”, which, according to some accounts eats human flesh and chases those who walk through the reserve.
Several times, groups of young people have gathered to try to find the “Reservito”, but without success. With no bodies nor unexplained disappearances, it does seem that some parts of the monster’s existence are entirely legend.