La Laguna: World Heritage Site
The historic centre of San Cristobal de La Laguna is one of the three projects that the Spanish government presented to the UNESCO in 1998 as candidates for being declared World Heritage Sites. It was finally declared a World Heritage Site in December 1999.
This historic city centre, one of the most typical examples of the type of urban structure that was developed in Latin America during the process of colonisation, has maintained its grid layout intact. In the late 16 century, during the reign of King Phillip II, engineer Torriani, drew his plans of La Laguna, with an urban structure consisting of 400 buildings that have been listed with different degrees of monumental or environmental protection.
For an interesting cultural visit, we would recommend a walk through the streets of La Laguna; as there is so much to see and it is impossible to establish a single route.
The Tourist Board offers a regular or pre-arranged tour service around the historical city centre.
Regular tours: phone 922 63 11 94
Duration of the visit: Around 1 hour. The departure point is at the Oficina Municipal de Turismo (Tourist Office), located at the following address: C/ La Carrera or C/ Obispo Rey Redondo, no. 7 (Casa Alvarado - Bracamonte or Casa de los Capitanes).
MONDAYS AND FRIDAYS: 11:00 am
TUESDAYS, WEDNESDAYS AND THURSDAYS: 11:30 am
Pre-arranged tours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for the same duration and from the same departure point.
Please apply in writing to the Tourist Board at least 48 hours beforehand in order to arrange these tours (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Fax: 922 608 974) including the following details:
Name and telephone of applicants.
Number of persons, indicating their age in the event of school groups.
Date, time and language requested.
Delegación de Turismo de La Laguna (Tourist Board)
C/ Carrera, 7 - Casa Alvarado Bracamonte
Tel. 922 60 11 06 - 922 60 11 07 ; Fax 922 60 89 74
Oficina Municipal de Turismo (Tourist Office)
Opening times: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tel. 922 63 11 94
CHURCH OF LA CONCEPCION
Tel: (+34) 922 259130 Visiting Times: Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.; Sundays from 8.30 a.m. to 12 a.m. and from 5.30 p.m. to 7.15 p.m.
This was the first parish church of Tenerife and the mother house for all the other parishes created since the 16th century. The Governor decided it should be built on this site, after celebrating the Corpus Christi festivities in 1496 for the first time in Tenerife. The original church has undergone a large number of modifications and extensions over the centuries. It was re-built in 1974, after the naves started to collapse in the 60´s. The previous major reform had taken place in the 18th century from drawings by architect Diego Nicolás Eduardo. It was declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1948. The layout is typical of Canary Island churches, with three naves, semicircular arches and Mudejar style heartwood moulded ceilings. The millstone tower is the third that the church has had, and was finished in 1697. The tower is now the most representative symbol of La Laguna. The church holds a rich artistic heritage within its walls. This includes the pulpit, a Baroque piece carved in fine wood at the end of the 18th century (anonymous author) and considered a gem, unmatched in its genre. The baptismal font, 15th century Seville ceramics, is of historical interest. It is said that it was brought to the Island by the first Governor and used to baptise the first three Guanches of Tenerife. Sculptures include: La Predilecta (La Dolorosa), by José Luján Pérez, in the Santisimo Cristo Chapel. El Cristo del Rescate, late Spanish Gothic, (16th century); San Pedro y La Inmaculada Concepción, the last carving (around 1849) of the Tenerife figure artist Fernando Estévez (1781 - 1854). La Piedad group, by Lázaro González (17th century). A figure of San José (17th century Genoa School) Paintings include: The famous San Juan Evangelista, by Cristóbal Ramirez, from which, according to tradition, blood was seen to flow in 1648. A large canvass by Cristóbal Hernández de Quintana 1651 - 1725, entitled Cuadro de Las Animas. The church also contains an important collection of precious metal work, like the Great Monstrance of the Marquis of Bajamar and the Corpus Christi monstrance; several reredos and a lovely choir, made in the early years of the 18th century by Rodríguez Bermejo.
Tel.: (+34) 922 258 938 and (+34) 922 258935;
Visiting Times: CLOSED.
Built over the former church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, work on which started in 1515. Its origins are to be found in a small church built in 1511. It became a cathedral in 1818, when the Bishopric of Tenerife was created (Nivria Diocese) by a Papal Bull issued by Pope Pious VII. The building was declared in ruins in 1897 and it was completely demolished, except for the neo-classical facade built in 1820 from plans of the cathedral of Pamplona, designed by Ventura Rodríguez. The current building, opened in 1913 is neo-Gothic with crossed domes, built from plans drawn by engineer Rodrigo de Villabriga, who left the main facade exactly as it was.
The cathedral contains an interesting heritage in works of art: the tabernacle, made in 1795 by José Luján Pérez, sculptor from the island of Gran Canaria, finished off with an anonymous 16th century carving of Christ on the Cross, El Cristo de los Remedios, is in the chancel. There is also a great Baroque reredos of Los Remedios, from the first half of the 18th century, which has a splendid set of seven panels that supposedly come from the brush of Hendrick Van Balen, Van Dyck´s maestro, according to the theory of Matías Díaz Padrón, Curator of Flemish painting for the Prado Museum. These panels belonged to the Mazuelos Reredos, commissioned in Flanders by Pedro Afonso Mazuelos in 1597.
Another important reredos is the Señor de La Columna, done in neo-classical style.
A splendid Carrara marble pulpit, work of Genovese sculptor Pascuale Bocciardo in 1762; a great canvas called Las Animas del Purgatorio, by Canary Island painter Cristóbal Hernández de Quintana (1651 - 1725); La Santa Cena, by Juan Miranda.
- La Virgen de los Remedios, in coloured wood form the beginning of the 16th century, and perhaps the first work of religious art to be done in Tenerife.
- Cristo atado a la Columna (Genoa School, 18th century).
- Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, by Spanish sculptor Carmona, 18th century.
- A figure of Christ, by Tenerife sculptor Fernando Esttévez.
- A beautiful figure of Nuestra Señora de La Luz, the largest carving in the Cathedral, which appears to be the work of the maestro Juan Bautista Vázquez the Elder, who founded the Seville School of the 16th century. This figure is kept in the Cathedral Museum.
- The Cathedral also has a neo-classical choir (19th century), work of maestro Domingo Pérez; a large Rococo monstrance worked in highly decorated silver; some tooled silver Corpus Christi processional biers; a large number of pieces of metal work from the Cordoba, Canary Island and American schools and a large collection of religious ornaments.
CASA DE LOS CAPITANES
TOWN HALL / MAGISTRATE´S RESIDENCE
CONVENT OF SANTA CATALINA
CHURCH OF SAN MIGUEL
CHURCH OF SANTO DOMINGO DE GUZMAN
CHURCH OF SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA
Address: Avda. de Calvo Sotelo Visiting Times: Generally closed. Founded at the beginning of the 16th century, is has undergone several transformations over the last few centuries. It is worth mentioning because it holds the city´s Patron Saint (San Cristóbal de La Laguna). Tradition has it that Fernando de Guanarteme, a native convert from the island of Gran Canaria, who formed part of Fernández de Lugo´s army in the conquest of Tenerife, is buried here.
CHURCH OF THE SANTA CLARA DE ASIS CONVENT
SANCTUARY DEL CRISTO
SANCTUARY DEL CRISTO (Church of El Cristo) (Former Franciscan Convent of San Miguel de las Victorias)
Address: Plaza de San Francisco (Plaza del Cristo) - Tel.: (+34) 922 259748
Visiting Times: from 8 a.m. to 8.45 p.m.
The Franciscans, who arrived in Tenerife with the conquest, raised the old San Miguel de las Victorias Convent in 1506. This was burned down in 1810, but the local people managed to save the figure of Christ. The Gothic style carving of El Cristo de La Laguna (second half of the 15th century), one of the most worshipped figures in Tenerife, reached the island in 1520, at the request of Governor Alonso Fernández de Lugo, to whom it had apparently been donated by the Dukes de Medina Sidonia to be worshipped in Tenerife. The figure is paraded in procession twice a year: once during the city fiestas (14th of September), when it is carried on a silver cross, and the other time during the parade on the eve of Good Friday, when it is carried on a simple wooden cross. The present church also contains: A figure of La Dolorosa by Canary Island sculptor Rodríguez de la Oliva; Another figure of San Francisco de Asis; A large legacy of jewellery and precious metal work, mainly from the best workshops of La Laguna.
CASA DE MONTAÑES / CASA DE LOS JESUITAS / CASA DE OSSUNA
CASA DE LERCARO (HISTORY MUSEUM)
Francisco Lercaro de León, Lieutenant General of Tenerife, had the house built in 1593. It is a fine example of Canary Island civil architecture. The interior patio is unusual among Canary Island patios in that it has wood carvings on the upper floor. The facade has a central body of stone work, with the coat of arms of the original owner. Another striking feature is the finish of the walls, which imitates renaissance brickwork and patterns. There are some fine tooled wooden panels in the house, with stylised plant designs, highlighting the parapet of the corridor. All the rooms have fine moulded ceilings, the main staircase, made of the same stone that has been used in the entrance portico and in the pillars of the patio, is supported by a dome and a semicircular arch. The building, property of the Island Cabildo, has been restored and fitted out to house the Tenerife History Museum and Island Archives. The eleven rooms are equipped with explanatory panels that take the visitor through the history of the Island. There is an extensive collection of maps of the Canary Islands, with works dating from the 16th century.
EPISCOPAL PALACE OR CASA SALAZAR
EPISCOPAL PALACE OR CASA SALAZAR (Palace of the Counts del Valle de Salazar) Address: C/ San Agustín Tel.: (+34) 922 258640On the 23rd of January, 2006, it was devastated by a fire that reduced to ashes the incalculable value of the artistic heritage it held within.
This used to be the palace and residence of the Counts del Valle de Salazar, who commissioned the building in 1664. The facade is the work of Juan González de Castro Illada, built in 1681 by Canary Island stone masons Juan Lizcano and Andrés Rodríguez Bello. The sober and balanced Baroque design makes this facade, in the opinion of many people, the finest example of civil architecture in the Canary Islands. Before it was acquired in the 19th century as the seat of the Bishops of Nivaria and Offices of the Curia, it housed the El Porvenir Casino. The piano was used by Teobaldo Power to compose most of his Cantos Canarios. The interior, laid out around a patio with pillars that support the galleries, contains important works of art, with paintings by Francisco Bonnin, José Aguiar, Mariano de Cossio, Manuel Lópex Ruiz and Martín González, and sculptures including busts of Bishops Rey Redondo and Fray Albino, by Mariano Benlliure.