Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Filed under: Guide |

Las Palmas de Gran CanariaWhat to do in Las Palmas?

The Very Noble and Loyal City of Real de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as its title has read since 1515, came into being in Spanish and world history 24 June 1478, the day that Castilian troops, under the sign of the cross, landed on the beaches of the islands and established their Royal Camp near a palm forest (from which the name derived) and a small stream called Guiniguada.

The first Castillian city in the Canary Archipelago which, due to the sense of all the inhabitants of Gran Canaria throughout its history, has become the largest and most populated city in they Canary Autonomous Communit. According to the 1992 municipal statistics, Las Palmas has nine districts registered with a population of 355,000 inhabitants on a constructed surface area of 35% of the nearly 100 square km that lie within the municipal boundaries.

It is a beautiful city open to visitors from all over the world, cosmopolitan and cheerful, which offers the thousands of tourists who visit daily a pleasant, mild climate dominated by delicious breezes from the blue Atlantic which bathes its extraordinary ten kilometres of beaches running from North to South. It is possible for them to walk through the level avenues or have refreshments at the seaside on winter nights while enjoying a temperature that does not drop below 15 degrees Centigrade.

In the innumerable shops found in the Calle deTriana, a street closed to vehicles in the second district of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, one can acquire costly simple souvenirs.

Doramas Park accommodates different specimens of indigenous floral. Hotel Santa Catalina, a building designed in Canarian Style by Miguel Martin Fernandez de la Torre is also on the grounds. The Las Palmas Casino is located in this hotel.

The Palzade Santa Ana was the third of the first plazas constructed in the City of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It was preceded by the Plazas de San Anton and Los Alamos. Its construction in the dawn of the XVI Century was due to the demands for expansion in the Vegueta neighbourhood, the first urban nucleus in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This plaza continues to be an obligatory site for the capital’s events and celebrations of high social standing.

This historic, rectangular plaza is dominated by the Civil Hall, a neoclassical building, which was inaugurated on 29 April 1856, replacing an earlier structure which was destroyed by fire in 1842. The Episcopal Palace, the Provincial Historical Archives and the Cathedral of Las Palmas are located along the sides of the plaza.

Santa Ana Cathedral though its facade is neoclassical, has a strong Gothic style interior. It was the first Hispanic church built in the Canary Islands.

The vicinity of the Port. The port is district is an important urban nucleus full or mercantile vitality. Featuring the outstanding Santa Catalina Park, its streets are lined by banks, warehouses, shops and businesses, hotels, restaurants and all sorts of attractions to delight the passer-by.

The Castillo de la Luz, an old fort dating from the end of the XV Century, will soon house a museum thus realising one of the city’s long standing aspirations.

Puerto de la Luz
The Bahia de la Luz, the bay with its well distributed and vast docks offers all types of port operations to ships from all over the world. Endowed with all the facilities and services necessary for the thousands of passengers who arrive at our island.

Due to its privileged situation, the Puerto de la Luz de Las Palmas, the City’s harbour, has witnessed many great oceanic enterprises, including Columbus’ departure as he set off to discover of the New World.

Playa de las Canteras
This beach is considered one of the best in the world due to its natural features and exceptional location. Its name comes from the nearby sandstone quarries which provided the material for the construction of the first buildings in our city.

The three kilometre long beach, a crescent of fine, golden sand, is provided by nature with a sand bar two hundred metres long which protects the shore from the high waves.
One can enjoy swimming and many other sports in its warm waters by day or night since it is equipped with magnificent illumination.

Las Palmas is home to no less than eight museums, preserving a large part of the island’s heritage. We have chosen a couple of the museums below;

Museo Canario, Las Palmas

Early Canarian history is a mysterious and fascinating subject that is given in-depth coverage in this excellent museum. The collection presents the most respected theories concerning the origins and practices of the Guanches, allowing you to reach your own conclusions. While most of the objects were unearthed on Gran Canaria, there is also detailed information on the primitive cultures of the other islands.

The Spaniards were intrigued to find primitive cave-dwellers living in artificial caves and stone houses alongside more advanced communities. Fascinating photos and models illustrate both types of dwelling.

The purpose of these small ceramic stamps still isn’t known. Guanches used them either to mark patterns on their skin or to personalize grain stores. Pick your own favourite and head to the museum shop for a replica necklace.

Reproduction of the Cueva Pintada
The original site is in Galdar but you can also see some Guanche art at the museum. The geometric patterns in black, white and red represent the finest examples of cave art to be seen on the islands. The museum’s version is an almost perfect replica of the original.

Some theories link the Guanches to the Egyptians, due to their similar methods of mummification. Archeologists continue to uncover artifacts across the archipelago, but the tombs were raided long ago and their contents sold to the museum, where you can see various mummies on display.

Aboriginal Ceramics
This island-by-island showcase of aboriginal ceramics also includes the primitive tools used to create them.

Funeral rites and Medicine
With mummification reserved for the higher classes, the Guanches also built stone tombs and rickety wooden coffins. Ghoulish skulls illustrate trepanation, a medical procedure in which cranial holes were drilled to ease pain.

Skulls and Bones
Hundreds of smiling skulls adorn the walls in this eerie yet intriguing room. Debate continues to rage as to whether remains are of Cro-Magnon man.

Agriculture and Farming
The basic tools on display demonstrate the though life of the pastoral Guanches, who survived on limited resources.

Magic and religion
Chronicler of the conquest wrote that the Guanches worshipped a single god, but the survival of numerous idols suggests this was not the case. Most deities found on the island take the female form; the largest, the Tara Idol is now a symbol of pride for Canary Islanders.

Traditional Pottery
The tradition of crafting pottery without using a wheel has some examples, and find out where to go if you’re after an almost authentic Guanche pot.

Casa Museo de Colon

One of the capital’s most delightful buildings is a wonderful museum where the main focus is the discovery of America. In the 15th century, the governor home stood on this site, though the building has changed considerably since then. While not certain, it’s very likely that this is where Christopher Columbus stayed in 1492 before he set off in search of a short cut to India and unwittingly stumbled across America instead.

Reproduction of La Nina
Be transported back to the 15th centaury in this replica of la Nina, said to have been Columbus’s favorite ship. Of special note is the voyager’s cabin, complete with a painting and crucifix from the original vessel.

The Discovery
Trace the four journeys Columbus made across the Atlantic on maps of his version of the world. A reproduction of his diary lies open at the page detailing his first stop in the Canary Islands, when he came ashore at Las Palmas and La Gomera before crossing the Atlantic into the unknown.

Canarian Emigration
Once the transatlantic route was established, Canarians emigrated in their hundreds. Paintings and information panels tell the story of the exodus and of the trades that thrived then failed.

Pre-Columbian Art
The high-ceilinged crypt contains some remarkable reproduction of Mexican and Ecuadorian potten from 500 BC to the 10th century. Most are idols while others are decorative pieces.

Early Navigation
See absorbing old maps, atlases, and a globe from the year America was discovered. Trace the changing perceptions of the world from Ptolemy’s sophisticated 2nd-century map through to increasingly accurate efforts in the 1500s.

16th-20th century Painting
A whistle-stop tour through 500 years of art starts with early religious paintings such as de Miranda’s Immaculada Concepcion. Visit the room dedicated to Canarian artists, with colourful 20th-century landscapes and a painting by local maestro Nestor de la Torre.

Historical Las Palmas
Children love the interactive model of late 17th century Las Palmas. There are also models of the Castillo de la Luz and Juan Rejon’s original settlement of 1478.

Model and Maps of the Island
Plan your stay using a 3D model showing ravines craters and mountains – a more-up-to-date view of the island’s topography.

Ceilings and Courtyards
The reproduction Mudejar ceilings are very impressive. Upstairs, look heavenward for the only original section, ornately carved in dark wood. The second patio is also centuries old.

If you view the museum from the cobbled streets around it, you can spot details of Las Palmas’s earliest architecture; parts of the façade date from the 1500s. However, the current building bears little resemblance to the original structure.