Las Canteras sand Nativity Scene, Christmas with the family

The Belén de arena Las Canteras, located on the beach of Las Canteras, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is an event that has been held continuously since 2006 when the Christmas season arrives on the island of Gran Canaria. Eight of the best sand sculptors in the world participate in this event.

Both the quality of the works and the special location, Las Canteras beach, with an average temperature of 23ºC throughout the year, make it one of the most relevant and original events in the world at Christmas. This has made it become, year after year, the third most visited museum space in Spain in December, only behind the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum.

Las Canteras sand Bethlehem, a Christmas tradition in Las Palmas

Las Canteras beach is considered one of the best urban beaches in Europe. Its natural charms are undeniable: a long tongue of golden sand, calm waters thanks to a volcanic barrier, known as La Barra, and full of marine life, ideal for snorkeling, in addition to the pleasant climate throughout the year. With the added bonus of being next to an avenue in the heart of the city, with all the services and full of effervescence thanks to its stores, bars and restaurants.

Undoubtedly, the beach of Las Canteras is the ideal place to plant a gigantic sand nativity scene when Christmas comes, which is certainly different here: it doesn't rain, the weather is good, there is plenty of space and sand to set it up.

1500 square meters and more than 200,000 visitors per year

More than 200,000 people visit the Las Canteras Nativity Scene every year from the time it opens in early December until it closes after the arrival of the Three Wise Men.

This nativity scene, promoted by the City Council of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, occupies more than 1000 square meters near the Plaza de Saulo Torón, in the area of La Puntilla. To create the various scenes that are usually represented, some of them five meters high, 2000 tons of sand are used. With water and the hands of the artists, these sculptures end up becoming ephemeral works that, nevertheless, remain forever engraved in the memory of visitors.

Traditional Christmas scenes and nods to the island.

The artists who participate in this great sand crib usually represent the traditional scenes of any nativity scene, such as the Annunciation, the Nativity, the visit of the Three Wise Men to the stable where Jesus was born, recreations of villages and traditional characters, among others. But they also often make nods to landscapes of Gran Canaria, such as Roque Nublo and the Caldera de Tejeda, or to endemic plants of the islands.

The Bethlehem sand Las Canteras not only has a religious and artistic motif. It is also organized for charity. The economic and material donations made by visitors are given to social canteens in Las Palmas Gran Canaria. Collections exceed 20,000 euros in each edition and thousands of kilos of food are also collected.

Sculptors from around the world

Over the years and editions, this event has gained prestige beyond the Canary Islands and the works presented bear the signature of famous international sculptors. Famous artists such as Russians Aleksei Rynak, Alexey Shcitov, Aleksei Dyakov, Vadim Gryadov and Mikhail Fedotov have left their mark. Italians Leonardo Ugolini and Michela Ciappini. Belgian Enguerrand David. Latvia's Sanita Ravina. France's Benoît Dutherage and Americans Sue McGrew and Kevin Crawford, among many others.

The Canary Islands is a land with a thousand things to see, explore and get to know. If you are interested in learning more interesting facts about the Canary Islands, we leave you the link to the Culture and traditions section.

Paula Vera

Photos:;; Cabildo de Gran Canaria.


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