Anaga Country Park
Just a few minutes’ drive away from the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, lies Anaga Country Park, which has been declared a Biosphere Reserve and has succeeded in preserving its natural assets quite exceptionally. You would not be the first person to be besotted by its beautiful precipitous mountain chain full of sharp peaks. The deep valleys and ravines that cut across it eventually reach the sea, forming a series of beaches where you can take a refreshing dip. The area is also home to a wealth of fauna and flora with plenty of native species. See separate section on Taganana.
Casa de Anchieta
This lovely two-storey house stands in Plaza del Adelantado, with a Neo-classical façade. Father José de Anchieta, the founder of the city of Sao Paolo, was born and raised in this house.
Casa de la Alhóndiga
This house on Calle de La Carrera stands between Casa del Corregidor and Casa de Los Capitanes. It was built in the early 18th century and refurbished in the 19th century, when attempts were made to turn it into a theatre. Over the years, the house has been used as a granary (hence its name meaning the Corn Exchange), a government storehouse, a prison, a school, a courthouse and more. It is currently full of council offices.
Casa de los Capitanes Generales
This house was built between 1624 and 1631 by the then Captain General of Tenerife Diego de Alvarado Bracamonte. Its windows are set in red stone frames and arranged asymmetrically on the façade, whilst the impressive entrance is flanked by two pilasters and it has a balcony over it supported by corbels with a French window. The layout is arranged around a central patio. Today, this grand building is used as the City Hall of San Cristóbal de La Laguna. It also houses the Tourism Office, the Council Offices and the CICOP, which stands for International Centre for Patrimonial Preservation.
Casa de los Jesuitas
This house was built by the Jesuits in the mid 18th century following the Canarian stately style and sprinkled with Baroque decorative touches. Since the expulsion of this religious order from Spanish territory, the building was used to house the University of San Fernando, from which the current University of La Laguna stemmed, making it part of Tenerife’s cultural Enlightenment. Today, it is the base of the Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País (one of various private associations established in Spain during the Enlightenment to boost the economy), which boasts a wonderful historical archive.
Casa del Corregidor
This building from 1540 is one of the oldest in the city, though all that remains of the original construction is the entrance made of red volcanic rock. In the 18th century it was used as a prison and its domed hall was built during that time. Today the building is used for municipal offices.
This 16th century house is now privately owned and has been refurbished quite recently preserving the Canarian architectural style. The top floor was once used for storing grain (hence its name, which means the Grain House) in order to keep the cereal dry.
This 18th century house combines all of the major European trends. The Andalusian patio has been built into the traditional Castilian stately home style, with English windows and Italian wooden balconies. The building has three floors: The ground floor was used for storage and the servants’ quarters; the second floor was where the masters of the house lived and the top floor was used to store corn so as not to have to use the community corn exchange. The huge entrance door was made to suit the needs of the times and enable goods to be loaded and unloaded easily. As a courtesy to the men who drove the carts that transported those goods, there are public urinals at the entrance made of stone.
Built in the late 17th century, the façade of Casa Ossuna has wonderful wooden elements adorning the windows on the second floor and the building’s spectacular balcony. It was refurbished in 2011 and currently houses the main office of the Canarian Studies Institute.
Casa Peraza y Ayala
All along Avenida de la Trinidad are a series of modern buildings, amongst which this stately home stands out, with its annexed chapel devoted to the Holy Trinity. Dating from the 18th century, it has three storeys, wooden framed windows and a balcony with a trellis. The chapel dates back to 1769.
Casa Riquel is a two-storey house on Calle de la Carrera. The simple design of the outer façade is enhanced with red stonework around the openings and on the corners, while the central window is framed with an ornate gable. Over the window is the family coat of arms set in marble. The building is considered a fabulous example of 18th century architecture as it has undergone no major alterations since it was built.
Calle Carrera is one of the city’s busiest shopping streets and on it the theatre building stands out for its somewhat eclectic style. The façade is adorned with floral elements and animal motifs, whilst the inside is decorated with murals by López Ruiz and Manuel Verdugo. The Leal Theatre was the stage for the municipality’s first film screenings and despite spending several years in a state of near ruin, it was refurbished and reopened in 2008. Since then, the theatre has hosted all kinds of theatrical and musical performances, earning it a strong position on the municipality’s cultural scene.
Los Sabandeños Museum House
This 18th century building houses a museum to collect the legacy left behind by the folk music group Los Sabandeños, led by Elfidio Alonso. The exhibition shows all sorts of important trophies, from the awards they have won over five decades of work to small souvenirs of the places they have played in on tour all over the world. There is also a gift shop for visitors selling souvenirs and music by this icon of Canarian culture.
Palacete Rodríguez Azero
This palace house was built by the Rodríguez de Azero family in the early 20th century and now houses the Casino of La Laguna. Its eclectic design was inspired by various historical trends, from the French palace-like style of its tower to the Neo-Pompeii aesthetics of the main hall. The side walls are adorned with glazed iron balconies, which were all the rage at the time.
Palacio de Lercaro
This impressive building on the central street of Calle de San Agustín was commissioned to be built in 1593 by a family of Genoese merchants who settled in Tenerife after the conquest. Although it was extended in later centuries, the original structure of the house and the inside are still beautifully preserved. Its profusely decorated central patio is one of its key features, together with the main staircase that was built using the same stone as the pillars and veranda around the patio. Nowadays, Palacio de Lercaro houses the Tenerife History and Anthropology Museum, which endeavours to preserve, retrieve and research the Island’s heritage, bibliography and documents from the 15th to the 20th century. It is also one of the most famous haunted houses in the Canary Islands with a popular legend claiming that it is inhabited by the ghost of Catalina Lercaro, who chose to take her life instead of going along with an arranged marriage.
Palacio de Nava
Located opposite Plaza del Adelantado, this palace is a blend of Baroque style, Neo-classical features and Mannerist touches. This wonderful piece of Canarian architecture was commissioned to be built in 1585 by Tomás Grimón, who was the governor of Tenerife at the time. Palacio de Nava was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in the Monument category in 1976, though the state of disrepair of some of its inner elements has led it to be considered a safety hazard.
Palacio Salazar (Episcopal Palace)
The Count of Valle Salazar ordered the construction of this palace in 1681. This two-storey palace has a central gable on the façade, as well as a coat of arms, gargoyles and animal-like figures. Since the 19th century, the building has housed the Bishopric of the Tenerife Diocese and has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. A fire in 2006 led it to be rebuilt and refurbished three years later. The chapel is the work of an international ecumenical group directed by Marko Ivan Rupnik. Its Byzantine style central mosaic represents the mystery of Whitsuntide.
Plaza de la Concepción
This is one of the city’s most important squares, located by the emblematic Church of La Concepción. Some of the city’s liveliest and most famous streets lead onto this square.
Plaza del Adelantado
This is one of the most popular squares in the city centre of La Laguna and was named after the Island’s conqueror, Adelantado Alonso Fernández de Lugo. Standing around it are buildings of such significance that this became the scene for many a public ceremony from the 16th to the 20th century. Its first paving stones were laid in 1793, and then in 1843 it was fitted with lovely garden areas. Its beautiful fountain made of marble was commissioned from a French workshop and placed in the middle of the square in 1870.
San Cristóbal de La Laguna City Hall
The building was erected in 1511 to house the Regional Council and has undergone a series of alterations: The façade was refurbished in 1822 using stone from Tegueste and adorned with the city’s coat of arms set in marble. Inside, you can still see the banner that was borne by the Adelantado Fernández de Lugo when he reached Tenerife.
The Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios
Right in the heart of the historic quarter, construction work on the Cathedral of La Laguna began in 1515 as the city’s second parish church, which was subsequently raised to the rank of Cathedral in 1819. The alterations made to it over the centuries have only preserved the Neo-classical main façade, whilst the Gothic Revival interior dates from the early 20th century. It houses treasures such as the Mazuelos Altarpiece from Flanders in the main chapel and the Carrara marble pulpit.
The church and convent of Santa Catalina de Siena
This convent was founded in 1611 for the Dominican Order. The influence of the Mudejar style is clear to see in the carved wood bay windows and Arabic tiled roof. The church can be accessed from Plaza del Adelantado, where the façade is topped with a bell gable. It has just one nave, a rood loft and a rood screen. Inside is a wealth of artistic heritage, including three Baroque carved wood altarpieces, several oil paintings and a number of religious figures. The main altar is presided over the Virgen del Rosario, together with an image of Santo Domingo de Guzmán and Santa Catalina dressed in the convent’s habit. Inside the church is the Sepulchral Crypt of Sister María de Jesús, better known as the Servant of God, whose perfectly preserved body can be seen through the glass sarcophagus that is exposed every year on the anniversary of her death.
The church and former monastery of San Agustín
The monastery building still has many of its original features despite the various architectural alterations it has undergone since the 18th century. One of those elements is the Renaissance-style inner cloister. This was the first university and the secondary school in the Canary Islands for a long time, with such distinguished alumni as Benito Pérez Galdós, Óscar Domínguez and Juan Negrín. All that remains of the church are its ruins since it was consumed by a fire in 1964. The original rectangular structure is best seen from the outside, with three naves separated by Roman arches.
The church and hospital of Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios
This architectural site positioned in-between the bishopric and the former monastery of San Agustín comprises a hospital, the city’s first charity centre from the 15th century, and the 18th century church that contains a series of highly valuable religious relics. This former monastery now houses the Adrián Alemán Municipal Library.
The Church of Nuestra Señora de La Concepción
This is one of the oldest churches on the Island, located at the end of Calle La Carrera. It was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1947. The steeple stands proudly over the rest of the buildings around it and combines a variety of styles due to the various refurbishments it underwent until the 17th century. The Church of La Concepción has three naves separated by columns under a coffered carved wood ceiling. Among the many relics it contains is a cedarwood pulpit, a 15th century Sevilian ceramic font, the wooden monstrance that witnessed the Island’s first Corpus and a variety of sculptures and precious metalwork.
The Church of San Juan Bautista or Las Clarisas
Founded in 1547, this was the first convent in the Canary Islands. The building we see today was rebuilt after a fire in the early 18th century.
The Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán
This Catholic temple is part of the old convent of the Order of Preachers which operated until 1838. This is where the figure of Virgen de Candelaria was brought the first time it was taken outside the municipality of Candelaria in 1555. Another curious fact about this building, which is classed as an Asset of Cultural Interest, is that the corsair of La Laguna named Amaro Rodríguez Felipe (better known as Amaro Pargo) was buried here. Today, this religious building houses the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Citizen Involvement of La Laguna’s City Council and it has been considered an Asset of Cultural Interest since 1896. Over the years, the building has been used as a Dominican convent, a monastery, a school and a public library. The most outstanding feature on the outside is the 18th century bell gable, whilst the inside has various lovely elements such as the cloister with its gardens, the white marble columns and the fountain in the patio.
The former school of Las Dominicas
Although the façade was put up in 1912 following the Neo-Gothic aesthetic, the building itself dates from the 18th century and features the traditional Canarian architectural style. It used to be the School of Las Dominicas but is now used to house a variety of municipal offices.
The Monastery of San Francisco and Santuario del Cristo
Work on this building began in 1506 thanks to the alms that were collected specially for its construction. Already in the 17th century, the building had a main chapel and four side chapels, all of which was destroyed by a fire in 1810 and it has never quite recovered its original grandeur. The church is classed as a Royal Sanctuary and contains a Flemish sculpture of Santísimo Cristo de La Laguna, which is very popularly worshipped in the Canary Islands. The altar is made of embossed silver.
Source: Tenerife Tourist Board