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Friday, July 19, 2013 (read 946 times)
San Cristobal de La Lagunaby Imogen
Tenerife is a fantastic tourist destination, but most tourists tend to just visit the southern part of the island and not venture much further. If you travel north, you will find a whole array of beautiful historic centers, as this is where the Spanish first settled; one such example is the municipality and city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, commonly known as La Laguna.
The Ancient Capital of Tenerife
La Laguna is the ancient capital and the second most populated city on the island. The city was founded in 1496 by Alonso Fernández de Lugo following the victory of the Castilians in the Battle of Aguere in 1494, against the local “guanches”. Named the capital of the island, it quickly began to attract explorers from all over Europe. This encouraged a mass of Renaissance architecture and established a relationship between Tenerife and the newly-discovered Americas.
La Universidad de La Laguna, the first and therefore oldest university of the island was built here in 1701, but despite this, the city suffered a decline in population and economy and this forced nearby Santa Cruz to be elected as the island´s new capital in 1733. La Laguna is, however, still called the cultural and religious capital due to its past. The university has undoubtedly brought with it the nightlife, suited particularly to young people and students.
Located just a few miles away, Santa Cruz has kept La Laguna in the limelight as a tourist destination, recently connected together by a tram line in 2007. La Laguna takes its name from a small lake, which was not drained until 1837, and it is just short drive away from some of the island’s best beaches. Boasting a beautiful climate, tourism is the main source of income for the Northern coast, with other parts of the city relying on agriculture and manufacturing.
The city will have quite a modern-feel for those visiting for the first time, due to its layout. La Laguna was built on a geometric grid, and as it was the departure point for New World explorers, it became the model design for cities in South and Central America. Despite its street design, the historical city of La Laguna is brimming with ancient buildings dating back to between the 16th and 18th centuries. For such an important historical city its beauty and importance seemed to be unrecognized world-wide, until it gained UNESCO world heritage site status in 1999. A few buildings worth noting are the church of la Concepción, the Cathedral and Casa de los Capitanes, home to the La Laguna City Museum. There are also a number of old private residences worth visiting, a few of which now contain museums or exhibitions. With so much to do, La Laguna is the perfect place for a holiday where you can explore more of Northern Tenerife. It is also easy to get to; Tenerife North Airport is in fact located in La Laguna.
Photo by Purple Snail
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