Five things to see in La Laguna, one of Tenerife's most historic cities

The municipality of San Cristóbal de La Laguna is located in the northeast of Tenerife, between the Anaga massif and the La Esperanza mountain. As a city, La Laguna has always inspired and attracted young people because the island's university, the oldest in the Canary Islands, is located in this municipality. It is also a meeting place for all kinds of people, as the city centre has pedestrian streets full of life and art. In this article, we tell you what to see in La Laguna, as well as a bit of its history.

La Laguna was founded between 1496 and 1497 by the Adelantado Alonso Fernández de Lugo, who established his house in the city. This is why it is also known by the name of Ciudad de los Adelantados (City of the Adelantados). Since 1999, it has been recognised as a Cultural Asset and World Heritage Site by Unesco. Going back to its beginnings, it was the first colonial city without walls in the Canary Islands and, at present, the only one that conserves practically intact its original layout from the 15th century.

San Cristóbal de La Laguna
Views of the centre of La Laguna

Before the conquest of Tenerife in 1496, the area where La Laguna was settled was known by the Guanche name of Aguere, a term that is still used today. After the conquest, it became the first capital of Tenerife and, therefore, the centre of political, economic and cultural power in the archipelago until 1833.

What to see in La Laguna if you are visiting the city for the first time

The streets of La Laguna are marked by commercial, gastronomic and leisure activity, but above all the monuments and historic buildings stand out. If you are visiting the city for the first time, we recommend several places not to be missed in its historic centre.

Plaza del Adelantado

The Plaza del Adelantado is located in the centre of the old part of the town. It is surrounded by the town hall, the municipal courts, the old municipal market, the hermitage of San Miguel Arcángel and the monastery of Santa Catalina de Siena. The square is named after the first Adelantado, Alonso Fernández de Lugo, conqueror of the islands of Tenerife and La Palma, who had his residence at one end of the square. It was created to fulfil the functions of the town's main square due to the importance of the buildings that surrounded it. The most characteristic feature of the square is its fountain, which was installed in 1870. It is currently the oldest and most aesthetically pleasing fountain in the historic centre of La Laguna.

Central fountain of the Plaza del Adelantado in La Laguna
Plaza del Adelantado in the centre of La Laguna

Plaza and church of La Concepción

The Plaza de la Concepción, like the Plaza del Adelantado, is one of the most important squares in La Laguna. It is located next to the emblematic church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción at the end of Calle de La Carrera. There are numerous churches and convents in the city, but the Concepción is one of the oldest on the island, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1947. Its tower, which stands out among the surrounding buildings, is the result of different styles due to the reforms it underwent until the 17th century.

Church of La Concepción in La Laguna
Tower of the Church of La Concepción in La Laguna

Lercaro Palace

It is located in the central street of San Agustín and its construction began in 1593. Although it was extended in later centuries, it perfectly preserves the structure of the house and its interior. The decorated central courtyard and the main staircase built with the same stone as the pilasters of the courtyard and the central portico are worth mentioning. Currently, this building houses the Museum of History and Anthropology of Tenerife, with the aim of conserving, rescuing and researching the heritage, bibliographic and documentary treasure between the 15th and 20th centuries.

Façade of the Palace of Lercaro in La Laguna
Façade of the Palace of Lercaro in the city of Lagunera

Nava Palace

If you are visiting the city for the first time, there is no doubt that the Palacio de Nava is a must-see in La Laguna. It is located opposite the Plaza del Adelantado square and its construction dates back to 1585 by order of Tomás Grimón, alderman of Tenerife. Its style combines Baroque, Neoclassical and Mannerist elements, representing a great example of Canarian architecture of the period. It hasalso beendeclared an Asset of Cultural Interest with the category of Monument since 1976.

Exterior of the Palacio de Nava in La Laguna
Exterior of the Palacio de Nava built in 1585 in La Laguna

Leal Theatre

The Teatro Leal is located on Calle de La Carrera and stands out for its eclectic style. Its façade features floral and animal elements, while inside the murals by López Ruiz and Manuel Verdugo stand out. This theatre was the venue for the first film screenings in the municipality and, since its refurbishment in 2008, it offers all kinds of theatrical and musical shows that reaffirm it as one of the main cultural spaces in the municipality.

Façade of the Teatro Leal in La Laguna
The Leal Theatre, one of the main cultural venues in the municipality of La Laguna.

If you are in Tenerife, don't hesitate to visit La Laguna. In addition to a hundred or so historic buildings and monuments that you can see by simply strolling through its streets, it also offers a wide range of shopping, gastronomy and leisure activities. In the following link we recommend restaurants to make your visit to the city even more perfect and return home with a good taste in your mouth.

Paula Vera

Photos: City Council of La Laguna (Tenerife), Museum of Tenerife, petitfute.com, lalagunaahora.com, Government of the Canary Islands.

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