Church of San Francisco in San Cristóbal de la Laguna (Tenerife)
You do not have to leave Spain to travel back to colonial times, to a time of conquistadors and discoveries. Come to San Cristóbal de la Laguna in the Canary Islands, and feel all the charm of a city with the UNESCO World Heritage designation. Explore its streets, full of religious and civil constructions with centuries of history, and discover a place that served as a model for many of the towns that were built in South America from the 16th century onwards.
In the north of Tenerife, one of the islands that make up the Canaries, you will find a beautiful example of the first non-fortified colonial city: San Cristóbal de la Laguna. In its old town of narrow streets and open spaces, you will find patios, squares, churches, convents and palaces, many of which have brightly coloured façades.
Strolling through this city packed with contrast is like a trip back into history. It is divided into two parts: the Villa de Arriba (upper town), and the Villa de Abajo (lower town), whose layout is ordered according to the Renaissance style of the 16th century, inspired in navigational charts, the science that reigned at the time. In fact, the map of San Cristóbal can be read as a "star chart", where the cardinal points correspond to specific places in the city and where everything has a symbolic meaning. This original layout has remained intact since then, and was the most immediate antecedent to colonial cities in South America such as Havana and Lima, amongst others. San Cristóbal de la Laguna is a clear example of the link that was established between the European and American cultures. A constant relationship between the two continents that is alive to this day.
Awaiting you are towers and bell towers such as those of the Concepción Church and the Cathedral; stately houses and palaces with interior patios surrounded by columns, fountains and vegetation; illustrious buildings with symmetrical façades and large windows wrought in iron, such as the current Town Hall, or the old Chief Magistrate's House; San Fernando University… The majority of these buildings were constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries, and are in a range of artistic styles (600 of them have Mudejar architecture) giving the city a unique atmosphere. There are a range of routes covering the most emblematic spots in the city. If you don't want to miss the best, you should make for the tourist office, where they will help you plan your visit, and where you can sign up for guided tours.
Apart from its culture, San Cristóbal de la Laguna is also an ideal place for hiking enthusiasts. It is surrounded by nature reserves and mountains covered in flora endemic to the Canary Islands. Be sure to see the stunning views of the islands from some of the area's viewpoints, such as Las Mercedes or La Cruz del Carmen. Enjoy an unforgettable holiday in a unique destination.
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