- La Laguna - some history
- City stroll through the historic center of La Laguna
- Our tip for cruise guests
Our cruise ship is in the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife for one day. We use the stopover to visit San Cristóbal de La Laguna. Tenerife's second largest city is located 550 meters above sea level on a high plateau. To get there, we take the tram line 1. The train stops in Santa Cruz at the Fundación station, about 600 meters from the cruise terminal. After a half-hour ride, we leave the train in the center of La Laguna. In colloquial language, the inhabitants of Tenerife save the "San Cristobal"; we join them.
La Laguna - some history
In 1496 the colonizer Alonso Fernández de Lugo founded the town of San Cristóbal de La Laguna on behalf of the Castilian kings. The founding of the town was preceded by a bloody battle with the Guanches, the indigenous people of Tenerife. The first, simple buildings were erected without a plan. But since 1500, the requirement was that the streets of the growing city should be laid out in a checkerboard manner. The historic city center, which still exists today, was built between 1500 and 1600. The city was Tenerife's capital for a long time and since the early 19th century the seat of a bishopric and the location of a university.
A bird's eye view of La Laguna
La Laguna - Casa Franco de Castilla
La Laguna was not just the political and spiritual center. In Laguna, successful business people, nobles and clergy built representative buildings. Many buildings are characterized by the colonial style. The colonial legacy has been preserved to the present day. UNESCO honored this achievement with the designation of La Laguna as a World Heritage Site.
City stroll through the historic center of La Laguna
In the present, attractive squares and traffic-calmed streets invite you to stroll. You can relax wonderfully in countless cafés, restaurants, tapas bars and vinotheques. But before the enjoyment comes our city tour. It's worth the time spent. The recommended buildings are only a selected part of the abundance of historical buildings worth seeing in the city, which has more than 150.000 inhabitants.
La Laguna - street scene
The tram coming from Santa Cruz stops at the final stop, Avenida Trinidad. From there we walk about 300 meters to our first destination, the Casa de los Capitanes Generales and its neighboring buildings.
Casa de los Capitanes
The owner of the building was Diego de Alvarado Bracamonte, one of the General Colonels of Tenerife. The building is currently being used by the city administration. Visitors are allowed to visit the beautiful inner courtyard. He has an admirable wraparound gallery. Deciduous trees and palm trees adorn the courtyard.
La Laguna - Casa de los Capitanes
La Laguna - Inner courtyard of the Casa de los Capitanes
The Casa de la Alhondiga, the house of the granary, is attached to the house of the Colonel General. This is followed by the Casa Del Corregidor, the governor's house. The bailiffs have resided in the historic building since the 16th century.
La Laguna - Casa de los Capitanes and the neighboring buildings
Locations: The three buildings are located on Calle Obispo Rey Redondo.
After one of the island's top administrators, the Adelante, decided to move his residence to the Plaza del Adelantado, the area protected by shady trees developed into the most important square in the city. At the center of the facility is a large marble fountain. The square is surrounded by the Palace of Justice and the City Hall. Another building worth seeing is the Palacio de Nava.
La Laguna - Plaza del Adelantado
La Laguna - Plaza del Adelantado - fountain complex
Former Convent of Santo Domingo
From the Plaza del Adelantado, Calle Santo Domingo leads straight to the former Santo Domingo de Guzmán monastery. The building, which is hardly noticeable from the outside, has served as a monastery, school and public library over the centuries. The symbol of the monastery is the simple bell tower made of lava stones. The main sights inside are the cloister and the monastery church. The magnificent main altar and the wall paintings that fill the room are noteworthy in the church.
Former Convent of Santo Domingo
La Laguna - Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo - the monastery church
Palacio de Lercaro - Museo de Historia de Tenerife
In the Calle San Agustín we visit the Casa Lercaro, built at the end of the 16th century. The listed building complex reflects Italian building traditions both inside and out. No wonder, the client's family had Genoese roots. In the centuries that followed, the building underwent considerable structural changes, depending on the respective purpose. The city palace houses the Museo de Historia de Tenerife.
La Laguna - Museum of History of Tenerife
La Laguna - Museum of History of Tenerife
House of the Jesuits
On the opposite side of the street, the Jesuit order built the Casa de los Jesuitas in the first half of the 18th century. After the order was expelled from Spanish territories, the building became state property in 1767. The University of San Fernando used the property at times. Nowadays the Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País de Tenerife has its seat there. The organization has pursued charitable goals for more than 200 years. She owns one of the most important private documentary and photographic archives around the Canary Islands.
The Casa de los Jesuitas follows, now on the other side of the Calle San Agustín, the two-storey Palacio Salazar made of gray stones. The magnificent building with the beautiful inner courtyard comes from the second half of the 17th century. In 1892 the Casa Salazar became the seat of the Canary Islands diocese and the episcopal administration.
Catedral de La Laguna - Catedral Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
Our next destination is the cathedral, adorned with two church towers. The current church, built in the neo-Gothic style, was built at the beginning of the 20th century.
La Laguna - towers of the cathedral
La Laguna - facade of the cathedral
The previous cathedral, built with inferior building materials, was in danger of collapsing. Only a large part of the facade made of dark stones remained of the old building fabric. As an innovation, a passage around the chancel was added. These building measures were not made to last forever. Due to the danger of the vaults and the dome collapsing, the cathedral was closed again in 2002 and renovated by 2014.
La Laguna - central nave of the cathedral
La Laguna - main altar of the cathedral
Location: Plaza de los Remedios
From the cathedral we go through Calle Obispo Rey Redondo to the Teatro Leal. The theater originated in the early 20th century. The facade shows elements of the Spanish Art Nouveau. In the 1960s, the Teatro Leal was used as a cinema. After a lengthy renovation and restoration, the theater has been used for cultural and artistic purposes since autumn 2008, following its intended purpose.
La Laguna - Leal Theater
La Laguna - pediment of the Teatro Leal
Opposite the theater is the Hotel Aguere. The building, commissioned by the Marquis of Torrehermosa, has a beautiful inner courtyard.
Nuestra Senora de La Concepcion
The church, originally built in 1511, was the mother church of the island of Tenerife. The three-aisled church has had its current form since 1558. Poor quality building materials were often used in construction. This fact made many on-site changes necessary. That is why the church is a mix of different stylistic epochs. Apart from that, the inside of the church is very worth seeing.
La Laguna - Nuestra Señora de La Concepcion
The bell tower collapsed twice before it was made of solid building material in the late 17th century. The 28 meter high tower can be climbed. The view of the city and its surroundings offered from the height justifies the climb leading over 99 steps with sometimes unfamiliar heights.
Location: Plaza de la Concepción, near the Teatro Leal.
Our tip for cruise guests
The tram (line 1) goes from Santa Cruz (Fundación station, approx. 600 m from the cruise terminal) to the final stop Avenida Trinidad in San Cristóbal.
The price of a single ticket: 1,35 euros (as of 2021). The day ticket costs ten euros and entitles you to travel on all public transport.
If churches are to be visited, we recommend the collective ticket, which entitles you to visit three churches, the Casa Salazar and to climb the tower of the Iglesia de la Concepción. The tickets are sold in all buildings that require entry. They cost five euros.