Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com
Blog Islas Canarias OFFICIAL CANARY ISLANDS
TOURISM BLOG
www.hellocanaryislands.com

Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town


Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
www.hellocanaryislands.com
Previous article
30 Jan 2017

These days, old town Vegueta in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria city is rather sedate. Visitors wander between art galleries and museums, stop for a coffee at outdoor cafes, and just absorb the colonial atmosphere. Vegueta’s pigeons still drink at the same Gothic fountain as their ancestors did 500 years ago.

However, today’s pigeons are the lucky ones because Vegueta hasn’t always been a peaceful historical district living off its easy charm.

In fact, its lively history began almost as soon as it was founded.

Siege and conquest

Vegueta started life in 1478 as a fortified garrison called the Real de Las Palmas and was named after three tall palm trees within the original stockade.  

Within a few days Las Palmas was besieged by the aboriginal Canarii inhabitants. Unimpressed by Spanish attempts to colonise their island, they fought hard to chase them back to their ships but their sticks and stones were no match for Spanish steel and horses.

You can still visit the spot where the original palms grew. It’s on Montesdeoca Street just behind the Casa de Colon. Three small palms mark the spot.

Right by the three palms you’ll find a small doorway leading to the Casa Montesdeoca restaurant set in the leafy patio of a 16th Century house.

View of Cathedral tower from tipìcal canarian house

The house was built by a converted Jew who fled mainland Spain for the more tolerant atmosphere of the Canary Islands and is now one of the city’s best-preserved colonial mansions.

It’s worth sticking your head through the door to see the courtyard, and is also a great place for a languid lunch.

The ocean blue

By 1492 when Columbus came to visit the settlement had become a small town complete with manor houses and churches. Columbus spent a lot longer than he wanted in Las Palmas: Not because he chose to, but because his crew sabotaged a ship.

Not everyone shared his fervent belief that the Indies lay to the west.

Street of Vegueta

To find out more about Columbus’ time in Las Palmas, and about the long relationship between the Canary Islands and the New World, visit the Casa de Colón museum in Vegueta. Set in a stunning colonial mansion, it has everything from a replica of the explorer’s cabin, complete with unmade bed, to original charts, paintings and pottery from the Americas.

The Antonio Abad chapel where Columbus gave his final sermon to a reluctant crew is just behind the Casa de Coón museum. Look out for the huge bougainvillaea creeper and you can’t miss it.

A juicy target

Las Palmas city grew during the 15th Century and by the turn of the century, it was a juicy target for pirates and privateers. Sir Francis Drake and John Hawkins tried and failed to take Las Palmas in 1595.

Their failed attack left no visible signs on modern day Vegueta although the The San Pedro Mártir fort just of San Cristobal village just south of Las Palmas played a large part in the defence of the city. You can walk right out to this island fort at low tide.

In 1595, a vast Dutch fleet led by Admiral Pieter van der Does, sacked the city. Many of its buildings were destroyed and burned and its riches looted.

Plaza de Santa Ana

Van der Does first took the Castillo de la Luz at the north end of modern-day Las Palmas and, after two days of fierce fighting, eventually broke through Vegueta’s walls and took the city.

The local population and militia fled into the hills behind the city and drew the Dutch soldiers into forested country. Here the armoured and exhausted Dutch soldiers were soundly defeated by mobile Canarian militia fighters.

The Dutch withdrew to Vegueta, looted the city of all its riches, set fire to all its major buildings, and sailed away.

Many of Vegueta’s original monasteries, convents and palaces burned down, but the stone cathedral survived. It took the city 100 years to recover.

The key to the cathedral

To appreciate the 500-year history of Vegueta old town, spend time getting to know the cathedral.

Cathedral of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Built in fits and starts when the city was prosperous, it contains elements of all the major architectural styles from the 15th to the 20th Century.

Get on its roof and up its belfry from just inside the door on Santa Ana Square. You get a great view of the whole city.

Or get inside the cathedral via the silver museum on the south wall. The museum has a great collection of art, but the towering interior is the real highlight. On sunny days the  make patches of psychedelic light, and the soaring columns look like palm trees.

Explore the side chapels with care as one of them has a surprise; the bishop who first consecrated the cathedral is still inside, preserved in all his robes inside a glass box.

Another detail worth looking for is the bell taken by Van der Does and later returned to Las Palmas.

Under light of stained-glass windows of cathedral

Tapas Thursday

Old town Vegueta livens up on Thursday nights when all the bars and restaurants around the market offer tapas (two euros for a tapa and a beer of glass of wine).

At any other time, you’re never far away from cafe with outdoor tables. Just watch out because most of them wobble on the cobbles.

 Vegueta´s bar

Give us your comments

Comments

Highlights
How to Enjoy Carnival on Tenerife
Deserted beach and abandoned salt pans in Lanzarote
La Palma: A Heaven for Stargazing
Experience participating in Transgrancanaria
A Road Trip Around the North of Fuerteventura
A Journey to the end of the World, or to Punta de Orchilla
Diversity on the rocks: Hundreds of unique species
La Gomera, the romantic getaway
Following a Tapas Route on Tenerife
Enjoy a trek to the highest point in Lanzarote
Fiesta de la Cruz on La Palma
Gran Canaria’s Other Rock: Sacred Roque Bentayga
A day in the outback of Fuerteventura
Walking to the Beautiful Valley on La Gomera
"Fototrek” an amazing annual photographic adventure in El Hierro
An incredible Whale & Dolphin watching experience in Tenerife
The secret white sand beaches of Lanzarote
On the sunny side: Los Llanos de Aridane
Exploring South Fuerteventura by Car
The Best Bit of Las Canteras Beach is Underwater
La Gomera, lush and beautiful
Paragliding above the valley of El Hierro. What an experience!
Three ways to enjoy Teide in Tenerife
Tasting Lanzarote: Cosecha 2015
La Palma, a taste of the tropics
Jardín Canario Viera y Clavijo, one of the highlights of Gran Canaria
From a Magic Spring to a Secret Lake, Five Curiosities on La Gomera
Jinama and Charco Azul
Amazing boat excursion to the Archipiélago Chinijo marine reserve
Lanzarote sunrises
La Palma: a Treasure Trove of landscapes in One Island
Viewpoint Mirador de la Peña, the smallest hotel of the world and the giant lizard
A Hike Around Gran Canaria's Volcanic Hotspot
Fuerteventura, Strong Wind
La Gomera: A day visiting dolphins and whales
Lanzarote fishing: Fresh fish for lunch
Exploring the Historic Centre of La Laguna
“Ruta de la Tapa” in Valverde
Driving the Las Mimbreras road
Discover the Beautiful North of Lanzarote by Car
Excursion to the Isla de Lobos
La Gomera – a rural tourism paradise
Festival of La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes
A morning in Santa Cruz de La Palma
The water route, Valverde and the Bonanza rock
Exploring the San Juan Volcano
Vegueta: Time Travel In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Old Town
Why You Don’t Want to Miss Out on Trekking Masca in Tenerife
Experience Tinajo: Rural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty
A lovely stroll around Villa de Valverde
A Spring Tour Of Gran Canaria
Through the back roads of El Paso
Relaxation and wellbeing, enjoying Lanzarote´s natural treasures
A trip along the coast of El Golfo, El Hierro
Exploring the Highs and Lows of Puerto de Mogán
Why You Will Absolutely Love Exploring Amazing La Graciosa
The Wild North of La Palma
Tenerife, best locations and the British favourite hotspots
Enjoy the best of Lanzarote at Noches de Jameos
www.hellocanaryislands.com