A few words
The sea and the sand, that is, the beaches, are essential sites of the city and the best image for the visitors. The capital city lives its main festival the 24th june, St. John's night, commemorating its foundation. It is a night of traditions, full of bonfires on the hillsides that surrounds the city and, at midnight, beautiful fireworks embellish the sky.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with 525 years of history, was not really a town but a military camp. El Real de las Palmas was raised on the right side of the Guiniguada gorge and was the first ultramarine urban settlement of Europe and the example to raise hundreds of towns in America, from Patagonia to United Stated. The city was founded the 24th june of 1478. In a short time, El Real de Las Palmas became a flourishing town from just a military camp, where the conquest of Gran Canaria began. The location of the island close to the Tropic of Cancer and the flow of the trade winds provide the island with averages temperatures of 17ºC in winter and 25ºC in summer.
The ancient district
The ancient district is composed by the quarters of Vegueta and Triana. Vegueta was the original settlement of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the place where El Real de Las Palmas was raised and the conquest of the island began in 1478. In the heart of the quarter we can find the Cathedral and the Plaza de Santa Ana -St. Anne´s square-. The Cathedral started to be erected five centuries ago and is a blend of different architectural styles from the late Gothic to the Neoclassical and Baroque styles. The Plaza de Santa Ana, built during the early 16th century due to the expansion of the quarter, has a rectangular shape.
Opposite the Cathedral is located the Town Hall -Casas Consistoriales- and at both sides, the Bishop's Palace and the Archivo Histórico Provincial -Provincial Historic Archive-. The building of the Casas Consitoriales is in neoclassical style and exhibits nine arches crowned by large windows and a balustrade on its façade. The façade of the Bishop's Palace stands out for its beautiful balcony with its parapet of lattices from the first third of the 17th century.
Triana arouse at the other side of the Guiniguada gorge when Vegueta could not extend any more. Its historical heritage is quite wide, offering true examples of the Canarian traditional heritage from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The buildings show historicist, eclectic, modernist and rationalist features. The most symbolic constructions are the San Francisco and San Telmo Churches, the Military Government building, Pérez Galdós Theatre, the Gabinete Literario building and the Cabildo -island government building-. The central axis of the quarter is sited in the street that bears its name, a very lively commercial street.
The city at night
The Vegueta quarter offers during the day the combination of history, tradition and culture of the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, but at night offers a more boisterous side devoted to leisure and gastronomy. From the Market to the Cathedral of Santa Ana we can find many pub-crawls and restaurants that complements the traditional cuisine of the island with new creative dishes. Besides, all these establishments are adapted to the charming historical architecture of the zone.
Parque Santa Catalina - Alfredo Kraus Auditorium
The Tourist Bus departs from Parque Santa Catalina -St. Catalina Square- and goes through the street León y Castillo towards Avenida Mesa y López, the commercial area. Then crosses Guanarteme and arrives in the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium, located to the north-west of Las Canteras Beach. Here, it is possible to get off the bus to appreciate the building, designed by the architect Óscar Tusquets, surrounded by the privileged environment of Las Canteras Beach.
La Luz Castle
La Luz Castle can be reached walking by the back street of the Parque Santa Catalina. It was the first defence building to be erected in the city -1494- once finished the conquest of Gran Canaria and the only guarding construction against the pirates attacks for years, until the 16th century when more fortifications began to be raised.
The main sites of the Tafira zone are: the Viera y Clavijo Botanical Gardens, also known as Canarian Garden, and the Caldera de Bandama. The Canarian Garden has an area of 27 hectares located in the Guiniguada gorge. It is, at the same time, a botanical institution and a preservation and research centre of the Macaronesia flora (Canaries, Madeira, Azores and Cape Verde). The garden can be visited from 9:00 to 18:00h from Monday to Sunday. It only closes the 1st January and Good Friday.
The Caldera de Bandama is ten kilometres away from the city and should be accessed by the road of Tafira. It, approximately, has the same extension as the Botanical Gardens and it is a crater of an inactive volcano. Its diameter measures 1000 metres, its perimeter 10 kilometres and a depth of 200 metres. It can be visited from Monday to Sunday from 9:00 to 18:00h.
Carnival is the most popular festival of Las Palmas. It is a symbol of the traditions of Las Palmas where thousands of citizens get involved, during two weeks they are the protagonists of the fiesta, street bands, masquerades, disguises, etc. The Parque de Santa Catalina and the adjacent streets shows colourful crowds giving life to the Great Parade and the Entierro de la Sardina -Sardine's funeral celebration-. This festival is one of the most popular ones within Europe and its Carnival Queen election show and the Drag Queen one are a true tourist attraction and promotion abroad. Every year Carnivals are focused on a different theme.