Interior of El Zanjon from the first patio.
Very interesting today, visited the restored merchant´s house known as El Zanjon (The Creek). The property was bought derelict by a company in the mid-1980s to turn into a restaurant, but as they started removing the rubbish, it became apparent that the building was actually an important site in the history of Buenos Aires
. The top building was constructed in 1860s for a wealthy leather merchant and his family, but used older buildings from the 1730s as foundations. Even further down, indigenous and early colonial pottery was found, showing that the site has been in constant use since the 1500s. The highlight is the tunnels under the building, which were built to protect the creek running under the property from pollution and rubbish and allow construction over the top.
Underground foundations of El Zanjon, now displaying pictures of the times and some of the archeaological finds.
There used to be an extensive tunnel system in the area, and although it is possible that more will be found, they believe that many have now been destroyed by later work. The restoration is very good, clearly separating the original parts from the modern re-build, and the place is now used for functions and events, so nice to see it continually evolving. Then walked down to the port area and along the river, which has been restored and turned into a residential and commercial area, very nice. Lots of swanky restaurants (but also a TGI Fridays and Hooters!) and a couple of museum boats. Today we visited the Fragata Presidente Sarmiento, which used to be a navy training ship in the early 1900s. It was built in Birkenhead, England and on one of its voyages even visited Australia. It´s filled with lots of uniforms, silverware, lovely woodwork and even the ship dog has been stuffed and put on display snoozing in his glass cabinet! There must have been a function on board, because there was a group of young sailors in their fancy uniforms waiting around for something to do, and the chef was actually cooking in the galley (smelled really good!). Walked back home up Independencia, visiting a new supermarket on the way and passing the School of Engineering where Evita had her workshop to produce toys for the underprivileged children.