The Canary Island has an architectural heritage of great wealth, not only for its numerous buildings of exceptional value, but also for the ensembles and old neighborhoods located in cities and towns, such as Vegueta in the capital; or the magnificent examples of domestic and religious architecture in Agüimes, Telde, Arucas, Guía, Agaete and Teror, among others.
The architecture of Gran Canaria is formed through three main sources. In the first place, the fusion of the different cultural currents that are integrated into society over time, generating a certain way of building, specifically insular. The second, its character as a bridge island, since it brings together characteristics of the architecture of the eastern and western islands. Finally, its position as a tricontinental contact area, whose imprint is present in the island’s cultural substratum.
In this note we share 5 places that are historical monuments of Tenerife. Castles, basilicas, palaces … Without a doubt, a different plan to discover the architecture and culture of this beautiful island. Are you ready to take the tour?
San Juan Bautista Castle
The Castle of San Juan Bautista is located in the municipality of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and is popularly known as the Black Castle. It is the best preserved historical monument on the island. It is located in Caleta de los Negros, near the César Manrique Maritime Park and is currently considered an Asset of Cultural Interest and Spanish Historical Heritage.
It was built in the first half of the seventeenth century to avoid any landing and a century later, it was rebuilt due to the onslaught of the waves. It has a circular tower and parapets with embrasures, with a location for five artillery pieces. It is the second most important fortress on the island. Once you are in the place, you will be surprised by the great contrast it makes with the current modern landscape.
San Miguel fortress castle
The Fortress castle of San Miguel is another of the island’s emblematic places. It is located in Garachico, a nice little fishing village. It was built in the 16th century, in order to protect itself from possible attacks, since at that time the town was the main commercial port of Tenerife. With a square plan and thick ashlar walls with embrasures, it managed to survive the volcanic eruption of 1706.
It was in 1956 when the City Council began the procedures to acquire the fortress, and years later the environment was conditioned and the well-known “Plaza de Armas” was devised. The building was built in quarry and stone. It has been considered an Asset of Cultural Interest since 1985 and is currently one of the town’s cultural buildings, which houses the Heritage Information Center.
Basilica Nuestra Señora de Candelaria
In the Basilica Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, the Patroness of the Canary Islands is worshiped, a meeting place for canaries and very frequented by all who visit the island. The first temple on the island, inaugurated in 1672, was destroyed due to a fire in 1789. It was in 1959 when its reconstruction began, the work of Enrique Marrero Regalado. In a regionalist style, it has two towers on the main façade and another on the side.
The Basilica has two access doors and a spectacular 45-meter bell tower. Inside, the decoration, its paintings and its murals stand out. It is one of the main Marian and pilgrimage sanctuaries in Spain and was declared a Site of Cultural Interest. Next to the enclosure is the Convent of the Dominican Fathers, in charge of the care of the Virgin of Candelaria.
The Lercaro Palace is located in La Laguna, a city declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. It was built in the 16th century on behalf of a family of Genoese merchants, the Lercaro, who arrived on the island after the conquest. On the outside it stands out its masonry façade with a central body of stonework and tile eaves, in addition to its portal inspired by Genoese Mannerism, which includes the coat of arms of the Lercaro.
Inside it has a beautiful patio, surrounded by seven columns, in which the wooden panels with plant motifs and the decorative elements stand out. Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, in the Monument category, since 1993 it has been one of the headquarters of the Museum of History and Anthropology, so through its exhibitions, you can learn about the institutional, social, economic and cultural development of Tenerife between the 15th and 20th centuries.
House of the Captains General
Also known as the House of the Alvarado-Bracamonte, it belonged to this family during the years 1624 and 1635. It is located in La Laguna, and later it was renamed the House of General Captains, since six Captains General of the Canary Islands resided there, between 1705 and 1723. Its asymmetric windows framed in red stonework and its iron balcony standing out on corbels.
Inside it has a large patio that leads to the different dependencies. In 1981, it was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in the Monument category and currently houses the San Cristóbal de La Laguna City Council, the Tourism Office, the Mayor’s Office and the CICOP, International Center for Heritage Conservation.