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Parque Juana de Asbaje

Photo: Luisgaapartado on Wikimedia Commons


Juana de Asbaje Park was for much of the twentieth century the garden of one of the few psychiatric hospitals in the City. Since colonial times, people of limited means who were no longer considered fit to mingle with society were usually sent to San Angel, Coyoacan and, above all, to San Agustin de las Cuevas.

Here, the Sanatorio de la Floresta opened its doors in 1938, treating the most serious cases that could be treated in nearby convents and retirement homes. Almost on the other side of the Plaza de la Constitución, it was briefly an elementary school focused on gardening. There are rumors, even from that time, that the school was connected to the Templo de San Agustín by a mysterious tunnel under the plaza. Such rumors gained momentum when new patients began to arrive.

La Floresta remained an institution for the care of the mentally ill until the 1970s. The gardens provided, above all, a safe place for this unfortunate population to spend their afternoons. The former home of Dr. Millan, who had started the sanatorium, still stands on one side of the park and now houses an office. It continues to be the subject of rumors of apparitions and strange happenings, especially at night.

  • Juana de Asbaje, although not well known by that name, is actually Juana Inés de Asbaje Ramírez de Santillananota, (1648-1695). She is better known as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the nun and poet who appears on the 100 Mexican peso bill.

The remains of the old elementary school make the park with avocado, tejocote and pear trees. Some are more than 70 years old. Still, it’s not the haunted park of nightmares, but a warm and welcoming community ecological park. There’s almost always plenty to do, and it’s in the center of all that is Centro de Tlalpan.

Hours: Daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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