Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria


The Cathedral | The Beaches | The Port Market

When Christopher Columbus set out to discover a short route to China, he accidentally discovered America.

The last point of the civilisation before he set out into the unknown was Gran Canaria, for this is where the trade winds carried him before really going out into the unknown.

But where did he stay in the Canaries? And the answer is probably the Governor’s house, and this, or its successor has now been made into a Christopher Columbus Museum.

Christopher Columbus' house in Gran Canaria, This is now one of the prime visitor attractions on the island.

This house is probably slight;y later, but Columbus may well have stayed in a predecessor house on the same site

Above is the main facade looking out onto the square at the western end of the Cathedral.


The interior courtyard of Christopher Columbus' house in gran Canaria The interior of the house is laid out like most houses in the Canary Islands round a central courtyard, with a balcony running round both the ground and first floors.

It has now been turned into a Christopher Columbus museum, with models of his ships and the layout of the interior of one of the ships.

His fleet consisted of three ships, almost unbelievably small,  and models of all three ships were on display in the museum.

Columbus' ship, the Santa Maria in which he discovered America The principal ship was the Santa Maria which had a total complement of 52 men.
It was a carrack, that is a cargo ship. It was a good sailer and would stand up well in bad weather, but it was not able to come close to land.

But it could carry a lot of cargo, the food that would  be needed for a voyage of unknown  length. It did not complete the voyage: it was wrecked off Haiti and only the two smaller ships returned to Spain.


Interior of Christopher Columbus' ship, the Santa MariaReconstruction of the central part of the Santa Maria, with the captain’s quarters  at the far end.


The Pinta, one of Christopher Columbus' ships

The other two ships, the Pinta and the Nina were even smaller, with a crew of around 20.

The crew usually slept out on deck, and only went below when the weather was very rough.

They were caravels and did not have the carrying capacity of the Santa Maria,  but they were much more manoeuvrable  and could go up creeks and rivers to explore.

The Pinta (top) was square rigged with two square sails and a triangular sail at the rear.

The Nina, one of Christopher Columbus' ships. The Nina had three triangular sails

The Cathedral

The capital of the island of Gran Canaria, is Las Palmas, where the historic centre is Vergueta. Next door to the Governor’s house is the Cathedral, built mostly in the 16th century.


Las Palmas cathedral DSC05644Here we see the square at the Eastern end


1200px-Santa_Ana_Cathedral_D81_5245_(38774274395)..In the 18th century it was partly rebuilt in a classical style and here we see the Western end in a Wikipedia photo looking out onto a fine square.


Interior of cathedralIMG_20190319_125202353

The great glory of the Cathedral however, is the interior, with the columns stretching up like palm trees and forming a wonderful vista


Cathedral cloisters DSC05646A surprise however, are the cloisters, quite unlike anything we are used to in Northern Europe, but formed just like the courtyards of private mansions


The beaches

And then there are the beaches! Las Palmas has some fine beaches: to the north of the old town is a long peninsula with the magnificent harbour on one side and a fine beach on the other.



GC the Front DSC05912This is the Playa De las Canteras, 2 miles long and one of the finest beaches in the Canaries

Hotel Imperial GC DSC05882We were able to stay in the Imperial hotel right on the beach

Front showing the bar GC IMG_20190320_182419533_HDR.This view from our bedroom window showing the hidden secret of the beach — the bar that can be seen on the other side of the harbour on which the waves break, so that swimming on the beach is very safe.

The beach is very suitable for swimming as it is closed off by a bar on which the Atlantic rollers break.

Here the bar can be seen at low tide – at  high tide it is visible only by the line of waves breaking on it.

Surfers love it – it is ideal surfing country


GC Venus DSC05810And also from our bedroom window I saw this fine time bathing beauty, worshipping the sun with enthusiasm and chatting up her boyfriend


The Market

The Mercado del Puerto

GC Market 276-788

Just behind the port is one of the most remarkable buildings in Las Palmas, the Mercado del Puerto, or the Port Market.  This was built in 1891 by none other than Gustave Eiffel, the great French consulting engineer, and it is a good example of what was called the ‘Modernist’ style,  simple yet elegant,  basic engineering combined with a touch of Art Nouveau.


GC Market entance IMG_20190324_134620894_HDR..Here we see the fine entrance, with ironwork in fine Art Nouveau style


GC Inside market IMG_20190324_132848179The market originally a commercial market down by t he port, but the port has changed, so it has been reborn as an eating place full of coffee shops and tapas bars.




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