Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Colonial Past mixed with Modernity

     Tenerife (Canary Islands) - time for discovering Santa Cruz, a town where the colonial past is mixed with the life of modern-day capital city….

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Santa Cruz de Tenerife

    In 1833, by the decree of Spanish king Ferdinand VII, Santa Cruz became the capital of Tenerife (and of the Canary Islands), taking this privilege from the nearby San Cristobal de la Laguna.

The decision reflected the growing economic power and importance of Santa Cruz as a major communication hub between Europe, Africa, the Far East, and the Americas. In fact, even these days Santa Cruz’s is the 2nd busiest Spanish harbor!

Casa Elder Dempster - Great modernist-style building designed by the architect Antonio Pintor was built in 1903 for Liverpool’s maritime-trade company. It was an ideal location for English Kingdom on the way to West-African and Far-East colonies

But these days in an unexpected twist of history, due to fast-growing populations of both agglomerations, the municipalities of San Cristobal de la Laguna and Santa Cruz de Tenerife are "physically" connected. It seems to be only a matter of time (and political will) to see the re-union of the past represented by the noble but sleepy Laguna with the bustling commercial and political center of Santa Cruz.

“La Lucha” Fabrica de Tabacos represents an eclectic architecture. Commissioned by Manuel Lopez to the architect Domingo Pisaca Burgada, it was built in 1920-ties for housing the tobacco factory and private apartments.

Parliament of the Canary Islands

             Like most capital cities, Santa Cruz has plenty to offer to visitors. The past splendor collected in museums and art galleries as well as preserved along downtown’s historical streets, new architectural marvels like Auditorio de Tenerife (kind of local Sydney’s Opera House), the tradition mixed with new trends in restaurants and bars offering gourmand Spanish food (my favorite was paella) - this is nowadays capital - Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz - Central Plaza along the Calle de la Marina nicely surprises with "rain-drops" lamps and green tourists' center. The concrete structure is almost entirely covered by the vegetation making it a natural addition to the nearby park.

   But this description will not be accurate if I will not mention the Parque Garcia Sanabria - a place where in an area encircled by busy streets you can find the magnificent garden. It’s a surprising outdoor floral art gallery, an open-air exposition of sculptures, a place where crossing the entrance gate, you leave the bustling city life behind…. It’s a place to rest, to find friends, to get lost with a loved one in the labyrinth of sub-tropical vegetation, it's the place where you can find the peace….

In the center of the park, attention attracts the monument designed by the architect Marrero Regalado with the famous sculpture “La Fecundidad” (Fertility) by Frances Borges Salas.

Inaugurated in 1926, the park got the name after the Mayor Garcia Sanabria, who initiated the idea of municipal park.

“La Fecundidad” (Fertility)

Park Garcia Sanabria

An ideal hideout place in a labyrinth of pathways and a “jungle” of tropical vegetation

Iglesia de la Concepción (Church of the Conception)

       The current Church of the Conception dates from the beginning of the 18th century while the tower was erected in 1786. It replaced the original 16th-century church - Nuestra Señora de la Consolación, destroyed by a fire in 1653.

The huge wooden balcony adds the local accents of its architectural form – so typical to the Canarian colonial style.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Iglesia de la Concepción - interior

Iglesia de la Concepción: Pulpit

Wooden balconies are part of the traditional architecture, no wonder, the balcony also found its "deserved" place in the church's structure!

Iglesia de la Concepción: characteristic bell tower

The church contains many important works of religious, historical and artistic value. The most precious one is a Gothic statue of the Virgin of the Consolation and the Cruz de la Conquista – brought to the island by Fernandez de Lugo at the end of the 15th century.

The richly decorated baroque-style altarpieces are great examples of Tenerife’s local art. The statue of the Immaculate Conception in the main altar was made by Fernando Estévez - the artist from La Orotava.

Holy Cross used during Castilian conquest of Canary Islands

Beautiful candelabrum blends with the Tuscan-Baroque architectural style of the church

       Before leaving Santa Cruz de Tenerife let's make the point: the Colonial past, Modernity of Our Times, and Mother Nature can coexist in peace for the benefits of all of us. It's just a matter of the social support and political will!   

To continue the tour of Tenerife cities in pictures click:
Tenerife - Laguna or Tenerife - Icod de los Vinos 

If you want to make a tour of the Tenerife's El-Teide National Park, get friendly with animals in the Loro Parque, experience the bird's view of the island when paragliding, visit the secluded village Masca, taste local potatoes or witness the unique whistling language in La Gomera then click any of the following links:

El-Teide Volcano Park - and follow several pages
La Piedra de la Rosa 
Tandem Paragliding in Tenerife
Canarian potatoes
Whistling Language in la Gomera
Loro Parque-Tenerife
Masca Village

If you enjoyed this visit, then please share your experience with friends :-)

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