Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the capital of the Province of Las Palmas. It is the capital of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands together with Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is the most populated city in the Canary Islands with 379,925 inhabitants.
Join us for a walk through this beautiful city.
- Santa Ana Square
- Cathedral of the Canary Islands
- Columbus house-museum
- CAAM – Atlantic Center of Modern Art
- Holy Spirit Square (Plaza del Espíritu Santo)
- Canarian Museum
- Santo Domingo square
- Vegueta Market
- Pérez Galdós Theater
- Plaza de las Ranas
- Calle Mayor de Triana
- San Telmo park
- Mata’s Castle
Stroll through Vegueta
Vegueta is the neighborhood where the city was born. It was June 24, 1478, the troops of the conquistador Juan Rejón landed in the bay of La Isleta. They established their camp on the right bank of the Guiniguada. This camp was called Real de las Tres Palmas, because of the palm trees that were raised in the place.
After the end of the conquest, in 1483, the first buildings of the city began to be built around the camp.
Walking through its narrow streets and admiring its beautiful colonial buildings is getting lost in the history of the Canary Islands.
Take a picture with the dogs in Santa Ana Square
Santa Ana square is one of the most emblematic places in the city. It was built at the beginning of the 16th century in the Vegueta neighborhood. Around them are some of the most remarkable buildings in the city.
One of them is the old Town Hall, which was inaugurated in 1856. It was the first town hall of the city until 1977. In that year, it transferred the headquarters of the Mayor’s Office to the Municipal Offices located on León y Castillo street.
Today it houses an artistic collection of the main Canarian authors such as César Manrique or Jesús Arencibia.
On one side of the square we also find the Episcopal Palace of the Diocese of the Canary Islands. Although its façade dates from the 15th century, designed by Juan Ponce de León, the building dates from the 16th century.
Actually, although today it is not the only one, the Diocese of the Canary Islands is named in this way since it was the only one existing in the archipelago until the 19th century. It was in 1819 when the diocese of San Cristóbal de La Laguna was founded.
Discover Vegueta with a fantastic guided tour with Civitatis:
At the west end, opposite the cathedral, are the famous dogs that all of us children spent hours climbing on and off.
There are 8 sculptures representing dogs created by the French sculptor Alfred Jacquemar. They were placed in 1895.
Its origin is uncertain. It is believed that they were a gift to the mayor Felipe Massieu from a French ship. This mayor helped solve some problems with the ship on its way to South Africa.
Another version is that they were a gift from the son of the British businessman based in the city Thomas Miller.
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Visit the Cathedral of the Canary Islands and the Diocesan Museum
The Santa Iglesia Catedral-Basílica de Canarias is the seat of the Diocese of the Canary Islands of the Catholic Church and is considered the most important monument of Canarian religious architecture.
In 1487 the Catholic Monarchs expressed their desire to build a cathedral church in Gran Canaria. They do it to fulfill the mandate of Pope Innocent VIII.
Its construction began in 1497 but was stopped due to lack of funds in 1570. In 1781 the works resumed. This makes several styles of construction stand out. Its façade is Neoclassical and its interior is Late Gothic.
It was named Basilica of the Canary Islands (Basilicae Canariensis), by Pope Leo XIII “Ad perpetuam rei memoriam” in the year 1894. Being the first Canarian temple to be named a basilica.
Next to the cathedral we find the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is located on the south side of the Cathedral of the Canary Islands, in the so-called Patio de Los Naranjos built in the 17th century.
The museum is located in what used to be the cathedral dependencies and is connected to the cathedral through the so-called Renaissance-style Puerta del Aire. It was inaugurated on December 20, 1984.
Learn about the life and voyages of Christopher Columbus in its museum
It is located in one of the most emblematic buildings of the city: the 16th century House of Governors.
The Museum is made up of two large patios and a total of thirteen permanent exhibition rooms. They expose both the history of the navigator’s passage through Gran Canaria, as well as the history of the Canary Islands and their relations with America.
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Closed on January 1 and 6, May 1, December 24, 25 and 31.
Price: €4. Reduced: €2. Children under 18 free.
Discover all the secrets of the Cathedral and the Columbus Museum with Civitatis:
CAAM – Atlantic Center of Modern Art
The CAAM is the most important contemporary art museum in the Canary Islands. It was inaugurated in 1989 with works, above all, by the Canarian sculptor and architect Luján Pérez (1756 – 1815).
Works by other authors such as Manolo Millares, Martín Chirino or Antonio Saura were also added.
It currently has a permanent collection of some 2,800 works by artists from the Canary Islands, the rest of Europe, Africa and America.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Closed Monday.
Holy Spirit Square (Plaza del Espíritu Santo)
A small corner located in the heart of the Vegueta neighborhood. In it we can find the Hermitage of the Holy Spirit, from the 17th century and the covered fountain installed in 1869. This is the work of the Canarian architect and painter Manuel Ponce de León.
Originally it was km 0 and the starting point of the Gran Canaria water network.
Learn about the history of Gran Canaria at the Canarian Museum
Founded in 1879, the Museo Canario is a scientific and cultural society dedicated mainly to the first settlers of Gran Canaria.
It is an ideal visit to learn about the prehistory of the island and the entire Canary archipelago.
Since I was little, what strikes me the most is the mummy room. It puts the hairs on end.
Hours: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Price: €5. Reduced: €3. Children under 12 years: free.
Santo Domingo Square
Built in the 17th century, it is another of the picturesque corners of the Vegueta neighborhood.
In it is the parish of Santo Domingo, founded in 1841. It is located in the church of the old Dominican convent of San Pedro Mártir, founded in 1522.
It was built around 1524. During the Dutch attack in 1599, the church and the convent were totally destroyed. It was rebuilt in the 17th century, becoming one of the most traditional churches in the city.
Have a drink around the Vegueta Market
Although it is really called Mercado de Las Palmas, it was officially inaugurated in 1858, it was already in use since 1856. It is the first central market in the Canary Islands and mainly offered local products.
In it we can find many local and imported products. In its surroundings we find many places where you can have a drink enjoying the lively area.
Perez Galdos Theater
The theater was inaugurated in 1890 under the name of Teatro Tirso de Molina. The work chosen for this is La Traviata.
After the enormous success in 1901 at the premiere of the play Electra, by Benito Pérez Galdós, the name of the writer from Gran Canaria is proposed as a tribute to the new theatre. Thus, in 1902 it was renamed the Pérez Galdós Theater.
On June 28, 1918, a large fire destroyed the wooden structure of the theater almost completely.
Between 1925 and 1928 its reconstruction was carried out by the architect Miguel Martín Fernández de la Torre. His brother Néstor, an artist and painter, is in charge of decorating the building.
On May 28, 1928, it was reopened with the premiere of the opera Aida.
It was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) by the Government of the Canary Islands in 1994, with the category of Monument.
Rest in the Ranas Square
The Hurtado de Mendoza square, popularly known as the Plaza de las Ranas, is located on the border between the neighborhoods of Vegueta and Triana.
Its popular name comes from the ornamentation of the central fountain, consisting of two frogs spouting water.
The three classic kiosks stand out in the square. Also the monument to Ambrosio Hurtado de Mendoza, installed in 1922. This honors the mayor of the city elected in 1903.
There is also the beautiful building of the Island Library of Gran Canaria. It is a building inaugurated in 1898 and is the work of the architect Fernando Navarro.
Originally it was the Mercantile Circle. Later it became the property of Hispano-American Bank. In 1986 the Cabildo de Gran Canaria recovered the building, rehabilitated it and in 1991 the library was inaugurated.
We can also find some quiet terraces where to have a drink or eat something before continuing our walk.
Stroll along the main street of Triana
Triana emerged in the 15th century as an extension to the north of the first settlement of the Real de Las Palmas located to the south of the Guiniguada ravine.
The large number of Sevillians who were among the conquerors are what give the name to the new neighborhood. Calle Mayor de Triana is its main artery.
Until the middle of the 16th century, the street reached the city walls. Here was the Port of Las Palmas, making Triana a mainly seafaring neighbourhood.
With the construction of the Port of La Luz and Las Palmas at the beginning of the 20th century, the port lost importance until it disappeared.
In the 80s of the 20th century it became pedestrianized and little by little it became an open-air shopping center with the same franchise stores that we find everywhere. With this it has lost its essence…
Even so, it is worth admiring the classical buildings located along the street.
In the surrounding streets we can find a multitude of terraces where to eat or have a drink while hanging out.
San Telmo Park
The park is located on the historic site of the northern wall of the city and the first pier of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Two elements stand out in the park. The first is the Hermitage of San Telmo.
The first hermitage was founded in the 16th century and was destroyed in 1599 during an attack by the Dutch corsair Pieter van der Does. The church was rebuilt in 1604.
It is famous for having one of the most beautiful altarpieces on the island.
The other notable element is the modernist kiosk installed in 1923. It is the work of the architect Rafael Massanet y Faus.
Today it is a cafeteria where you can sit and have a drink watching the people go by in their chores.
Get to know a bit of history in the Castillo de Mata
The Castillo de Mata or Cuartel de Alonso Alvarado is a military fortification on the old city wall. The engineer Juan Alonso Rubián was responsible for its construction in 1577.
It was badly damaged during the Dutch invasion of 1599. It was rebuilt by Francisco de la Rúa after the defeat of the Dutch. It received the name of Castillo de Casa Mata because its function was to guard the city wall.
On April 22, 1949, it was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument. It served as accommodation for the forces of the artillery corps of the Spanish army until 1997.
In 2002 the original cubelo was found during some archaeological excavations. After this, in 2015 a museum of the history of the castle and the city was inaugurated.
Hours: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturdays and first Sunday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.