This is the bullring of Santa Cruz. As far as I can tell it's no longer in use, well certainly not for bullfighting anyway. It stands on Rambla General Franco, which is a long, wide boulevard that arcs around the top of the city.
In the suburban areas around Plaza 25 de Julio there are a lot of very attractive mansions and townhouses. I guess this is one of the top addresses withing the city and it's certainly a different world to the concrete hi-rise of some other parts of Santa Cruz.
Standing right by Plaza 25 de Julio is this mansion, where General Franco is said to have lived during his time on Tenerife prior to seizing power in the Civil War. Nice place to live when you are supposed to be in exile...
The Canarian Parliament building is in two parts, standing side by side. One is a towering monstrosity, a plain square block covered in corroded copper that gives it a green hue. Right next to that is the classical-style building seen here, the original seat of the Parliament before it was necessary to enlarge it.
City By Night
The city by night takes on a special feel. Like so many mediterranean resorts (OK, this is NOT the Med) the people go out walking in the evening, along the seafront and through the main streets of the city. It's a warm, friendly buzz that it takes on at this time, and it's a pleasure to walk around.
The buildings are nicely lit (some look better by night than by day) and even some of the parks are specially illuminated.
This picture is the Casino, on the corner of Plaza de Candelaria, the main square of Santa Cruz.
I'm fascinated by docks and by shipping, and the bigger the better. Santa Cruz is the main port of Tenerife, and the only port at which heavy cargo vessels call. The harbour is full of container ships, oil tankers, LNG transpots and general cargo vessels. There are also a few ferries, cruise ships and a yachting marina, so boats of every shape size and purpose.
The harbour and docks hugs the seaward side of the city for several km in each direction of the centre (Plaza de Espana), the uglier side of things (oil processing etc) taking place at the two extreme ends. The container dock is quite close to the city centre, by the Parque Maratimo and the Auditorio, from where this picture was taken.
Designed by the Lanzarotian architecht Manrique who was also responsible for the similar park at Puerto de la Cruz, the Parque Maratimo is the lido of Santa Cruz.
It looks a very picturesque and enjoyable place, but at the time we visited it was a howling gale (look at the plams in the picture) and the lido was closed. As well as swimming and sunbathing there are restaurants cafes there so you can get a meal while you top up your tan. Some pools at the outer extremities are lapped by the ocean waves, to make it feel just a little like you are swimming on the open waves.
Castillo de San Juan
This is the sole remainder of Santa Cruz's forts and dates from 1679. Built from the black basalt rock that forms the basis of so much of Tenerife's historic buildings, it is also known as Castilla Negra (the black castle). It was once the centre of Santa Cruz's slave trade, where Africans were traded on route to the Caribbean. It didn't look like you can visit the castle, but it makes a picturesque and sturdy counterpoint to the gleaming white edifice of the Auditorio next door.
The Auditorio is a superb piece of modern architecture. Built to resemble the sailing vessels of Tenerife's past it stands by the sea close to the harbour entrance. You can walk all around it and up and over a part of it too, on terraced steps. It's very windy and exposed out here by the Auditorio and when we visited it wa salmost dangerously so! But it was a great sight and well worth the trek.
Ermita de la Virgen de la Regla
This small red & white church stands by the road opposite to the Auditorio. It looks totally lost and out of place amongst the building work that is going on there. I hope that when whatever construction is going on there is complete, the Ermita weill be left unspoiled and easily accessible. It was built in 1643 and is one of the city's oldest surviving buldings.
One of our favourite squares was the one shown here, Plaza 25 de Julio. It's jokingly known as "Duck Square" because of the fountain in the middle that contains a sculpture of a duck surrounded by frogs.
The square is elaborately tiled, as are the benches, and the benches carry the advertising slogans of the companies whose sponsorship payed for the square to be built at the turn of the last century. One of the benches displays "Suchard Chocolate" - naturally that was my favourite bench! ;-)
Plaza del Principe
The Plaza del Principe is a lovely city centre park - quite small and hemmed in by buildings, but pleasant nontheless. It is surrounded by some quite lovely buildings too, notably the Museum Of Fine Arts which runs right along one side.
By night the park is illuminated and musical notes hang from the trees, something I didn't notice by day. I guess these adornments may change during the year or may have been there for the recent Mardi Gras, but they were nice to see.
The Church of San Franciso and the adjacent former convent are two of central Santa Cruz's nicer buildings. They date from the 18th century and the latter now houses the museum of fine arts. Behind these buildings is the Plaza del Principe, mentioned later, a pleasant city centre park. Entrance to the museum is at that side, and the building looks totally different from there with its rendered walls.
A rather more appealing and unspoilt side of Santa Cruz can be found around the cathedral, Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Conception. The streets and squares around the church are quiet and peaceful and are the home to some nice cafes and bars that come alive late in the evening. The church has a simple beauty about it, helped I think by the white rendering whereas a lot of other Tenerife churches are left in their natural black/grey stone colour that makes them look quite drab.
The church contains a relic of the Santa Cruz de la conquista (the holy cross of the conquest) after which the city was named.
Plaza de Candelaria
Plaza de Candelaria is perhaps a little disappointing, dominated as it is by the modernist concrete hi-rise that contains shops, cafes and apartments. Much of the rest of the square is concrete too, though the Casino in the bottom corner of the plaza is rather more attractive. Outdoor cafes line one side of the square and from the square lead the main shopping streets of Santa Cruz, all of which are pedestrianised and which have some rather nice shops. On the side of the square, opposite the buildings shown in the picture, is the Hotel Plaza where we stayed for two nights. It too was an ugly concrete block from the outside, though thankfully more attractive inside. It seems that not much thought for aesthetics went into Santa Cruz as it grew during the Franco years, but then the same can be said for many towns and cities throughout England, so who am I to criticise.,
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