Vegueta, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Around the Heart of the Royal Canaries

Plaza and Cathedral Santa Ana
The facade of the Cathedral of Santa Ana illuminated by soft light.
animated conversation
A group of friends talk together on a terrace in Vegueta.
street reading
Young man entertains himself reading in a plaza in Vegueta.
Colon's House
The Casa de Colón in the heart of Plaza de Santa Ana.
San Juan
The strict lines of the San Juan neighborhood, much more modern than Vegueta.
the couple from the ranch
A couple from the folklore ranch of San Juan.
Castle Street
The multi-toned street del Castillo, one of the most emblematic of the historic heart of Las Palmas.
Pedestrian and Statue
Passerby passes by a street statue of Vegueta.
Las Palmas from Alto de San Juan
The Cathedral of Santa Ana stands out high above the houses of Vegueta and the surrounding Las Palmas.
Santa Ana the Cathedral
The Cathedral of Santa Ana framed by another large door.
solitary walk
Passerby walks along a well-lit street in the south of the island of Gran Canaria.
Holy Spirit Fountain
The most refreshing corner of Calle del Castillo.
A corner with well-marked colonial architecture in the Vegueta neighborhood.
cubic houses
Very cubic colors and shapes of the San Juan neighborhood.
The Other Face of Sant Ana
Side view of the imposing Cathedral of Santa Ana, the symbol building of Vegueta.
Plaza del Espiritu Santo
Family enters the Praceta del Espiritu Santo, at the confluence with Calle del Castillo.
The old and majestic Vegueta de Las Palmas district stands out in the long and complex Hispanization of the Canaries. After a long period of noble expeditions, the final conquest of Gran Canaria and the remaining islands of the archipelago began there, under the command of the monarchs of Castile and Aragon.

After a whole day of walking and exploring the squares, streets and grid streets of the pioneer neighborhood of Las Palmas, we decided to ascend to the city's panoramic heights.

The orography of Las Palmas has never been lenient with residents of the much newer San José and San Juan neighborhoods. In such a way that, in 2012, the city authorities were moved and inaugurated an elevator that allowed them to bypass the steep climb.

The equipment proved to be short-lived. When we reach its base, the abandonment in which we find it dictates, without reservations, the resort to the alternative staircase.

Ascent to the Heights of San Juan, Las Palmas

We climbed as high as possible. We investigated the top floor corridor in hopes of getting an unobstructed view of the houses in Vegueta and surrounding Las Palmas. From there, we managed to frame them, albeit only one section, far from satisfying our photographic desires.

Some residents of homes near the elevator notice our restlessness. One of them decides to intervene. “But what are you looking for anyway? Looking down there? Ah, but this is much better from the top of the hill”.

We have faith in your more than credible information. Finally, calmly, we scanned the alley and the houses that filled the slope.

The Prodigal Family of Mr. Miguel de San Juan

One of the buildings, orange and improvised and impossible to catalogue, stood out from the rest. The same interlocutor notices the attention we pay him. “I designed and built almost everything. What do you think?"

Truth be told, we lacked the words to respond to you in a dignified way. Mr. Miguel, at the time eighty-seven, feels our astonishment. Choose to develop. “And you know what? It was the best I did. My wife and I have ten children, four girls and six boys.

Eventually they began to have children. When we noticed it, among children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-grandchildren, we were forty-one living there. That building of ours has always been a true home sweet home.”

Of so many inhabitants of Mr. Miguel's family, one of his granddaughters soon appeared at the wheel of an aging car. He was going to take his grandfather to the service station he also owned. Upon learning of our demand, he told us to get into the car, which would take us to the top of the hill. So we do.

Minutes later, Mr. Miguel's granddaughter leaves us on the side of the road, which is untidy but, in fact, panoramic.

Folklore Ranch, San Juan, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

The Folklore Ranch at the Top of San Juan

Ahead, downwards, stretched a good part of the houses of Las Palmas, from the foot of the hill that supported us to the blue expanse of the Atlantic.

We were admiring the scenery when a couple in costumes that looked like folklore, traditional, made us look away. At that moment, a van stops. Seven more women leave, all dressed in the same style, two of them holding a kind of ukulele.

The appearance of that retinue leaves us intrigued. We question them to match. “We are from the folklore ranch of San Juan, we are on our way to a meeting in another town. We can take some pictures, of course. But it has to be fast. We're already a bit late!"

Folk ranch couple, San Juan, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

We dispatched a flash production as fast as we could, with the group's coloring compounded against the sky and sea blues. Soon, they get into the van that goes off.

We returned to contemplating the section of Las Palmas we had to the east, a cluster of houses and buildings dominated by white and warm pastel tones.

And that, due to its gray tone and the height of the towers, the top of a great cathedral stood out, from the few buildings that almost passed the horizon line to the level of the sky.

Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Around the Old Vegueta

Many photographic shots later, through streets and alleys of the San Juan neighborhood different from those we had taken on the way up, we returned to the smooth foothills of the hill and the centuries-old Vegueta.

The further we descend towards the sea, the more imposing, elegant and impressive the neighborhood reveals itself, with an obvious apogee in the square that precedes the temple that we used to see highlighted, Plaza de Santa Ana, at that time occupied by an event of children's competitions.

Santa Ana Cathedral, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

To the east was the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santa Ana de Canaria, built between 1500 and 1570, as the supreme Catholic expression of the island of Gran Canaria.

Even if the exterior remodeled in the XNUMXth century is neoclassical, its huge nave is still Gothic, supported by columns erected to emulate the palm trees that were prolific in that area before the arrival of the Conquistadors of Castile.

The Ultimate Conquest of the island of Gran Canaria

On June 24, 1478, the newly disembarked Castilian troops, charged with submitting once and for all the resistance of the Canarian natives, set up a camp in the vicinity of a ravine that was to be called del Guiniguada.

Right there, in order to guide the boats that would come to supply them, they preserved three huge palm trees. From this reference came the embryonic name of the island's capital, Real de las Tres Palmas de Gran Canaria, today the most populous city in the archipelago, with 375.000 inhabitants.

Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

A group of friends talk together on a terrace in Vegueta.

Affected by the strong resistance of the natives and, to top it off, by disagreements among the Castilians, the conquest dragged on.

It was only confirmed in April 1483, the month in which Guayarmina Semidá, the island's indigenous queen, surrendered to the invaders and caused the suicide of an influential tribal chief and his shaman.

Vegueta's Unique Colonial Architecture

From then onwards, with the stamp of the Crown and the almost infallible prospect of large profits, the construction of the first settlement in Gran Canaria was intensified.

A hospital, the Mudejar Chapel of San António Abad, is located where the chapel that spiritually served the camp of Real de Las Tres Palmas and predecessor of the current cathedral was built.

Cathedral of Sant Ana, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Canary Islands

Side view of the imposing Cathedral of Santa Ana, the symbol building of Vegueta.

They were accompanied by the Episcopal Palace, the Town hall, the Royal Audience, the Tribunal of the Holy Office and the Diocese of the Canary Islands, at the time, the only diocese.

Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

These ecclesiastical and government buildings alternated with others, residential, with open and green patios, abundant wooden balconies, in such a way that one of the emblematic streets of the neighborhood that, at first, welcomed the richest and most influential families on the island. it still calls Calle de los Balcones.

Both buildings and others display a unique architectural richness, an improbable mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Neoclassical and, as is common in southern Spain and the Canaries, Mudejar elements.

Over time, this amalgamation of buildings and styles formed the urbanistic unit that, step by step, continued to dazzle us.

Calle del Castillo, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Calle del Castillo up and down, we passed the Plaza del Espíritu Santo several times.

As we pass by its hermitage dedicated to Cristo del Buen Fin and the fountain designed by the Gran Canarian artist Manuel Ponce de León y Falcón, spring of waters that refresh the small garden full of tropical plants, but not the Elixir of Youth that the discoverer made so much to be found on land today in Florida.

Fonte del Espiritu Santo, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

The most refreshing corner of Calle del Castillo.

Casa Colón and the Columbus Passage through Las Palmas

In the direction of Av. de Canárias and Atlântico, we enter streets delimited by the yellowish facades of the Ermita de San António Abad and the neighboring neo-Gothic House of Colón, each with its intricate coat of arms.

Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

The Casa de Colón in the heart of Plaza de Santa Ana.

Over there, a musician from street plays fife tunes that reinforce the colonial charm of Las Palmas, the also port where Christopher Columbus anchored in three of his four expeditions, the first of which he even prayed shortly before setting sail for the unknown west.

At Casa Colón, we are aware of the importance of Canary Islands – Gran Canaria in particular – and its willful emigrants had in the colonization of the Americas that Columbus did New World.

Gargoyle, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

A gargoyle adorns the façade of the square where the Casa de Colón is located.

Even if on a local scale, we soon arrived at a latitude in Las Palmas different from anything we had seen so far.

We skirt the Vegueta market and cross the road del Centro, to the other side of the GC-5 highway that establishes a road border in the neighborhood.

The Colorful and Surreal House of San Juan

A few hundred meters above, along Calle San Diego de Alcalá and a distinct urban core, we peered into the opposite houses, a side view of the high San Juan neighborhood where we had crossed paths with Sr. Miguel and the folklore group .

For, from there, San Juan filled the entire hill overlooking Vegueta in a multicolored profusion of houses and buildings of elementary and rigid geometry, which seemed to us a scenario from cartoons or the result of a legos game.

San Juan, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran CanariaThe vision aroused in us the strangeness of how the flow of the Ages had generated such contrasting “cities” within the same capital.

Casario de San Juan, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

The strict lines of the San Juan neighborhood, much more modern than Vegueta.

Below, like tough vegetables from the dawn of Las Palmas, a broken line of palm trees swayed in the wind.

We let sunset settle west of the even higher heartland of Gran Canaria.

When the afterglow starts to settle in, we are already back at plazas of Vegueta, delivered to reeds and the inevitable potato canaries wrinkleds.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

East of White Mountain Island

The almost triangular Tenerife has its center dominated by the majestic volcano Teide. At its eastern end, there is another rugged domain, even so, the place of the island's capital and other unavoidable villages, with mysterious forests and incredible abrupt coastlines.
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

Fuerteventura's Atlantic Ventura

The Romans knew the Canaries as the lucky islands. Fuerteventura, preserves many of the attributes of that time. Its perfect beaches for the windsurf and the kite-surfing or just for bathing, they justify successive “invasions” by the sun-hungry northern peoples. In the volcanic and rugged interior, the bastion of the island's indigenous and colonial cultures remains. We started to unravel it along its long south.
El Hierro, Canary Islands

The Volcanic Rim of the Canaries and the Old World

Until Columbus arrived in the Americas, El Hierro was seen as the threshold of the known world and, for a time, the Meridian that delimited it. Half a millennium later, the last western island of the Canaries is teeming with exuberant volcanism.
La Graciosa, Canary Islands

The Most Graceful of the Canary Islands

Until 2018, the smallest of the inhabited Canaries did not count for the archipelago. Arriving in La Graciosa, we discover the insular charm of the now eighth island.
PN Timanfaya, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

PN Timanfaya and the Fire Mountains of Lanzarote

Between 1730 and 1736, out of nowhere, dozens of volcanoes in Lanzarote erupted successively. The massive amount of lava they released buried several villages and forced almost half of the inhabitants to emigrate. The legacy of this cataclysm is the current Martian setting of the exuberant PN Timanfaya.
Tenerife, Canary Islands

The Volcano that Haunts the Atlantic

At 3718m, El Teide is the roof of the Canaries and Spain. Not only. If measured from the ocean floor (7500 m), only two mountains are more pronounced. The Guanche natives considered it the home of Guayota, their devil. Anyone traveling to Tenerife knows that old Teide is everywhere.
La Palma, Canary Islands

The "Isla Bonita" of the Canary Islands

In 1986 Madonna Louise Ciccone launched a hit that popularized the attraction exerted by a island imaginary. Ambergris Caye, in Belize, reaped benefits. On this side of the Atlantic, the palmeros that's how they see their real and stunning Canaria.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
Luderitz, Namibia
Architecture & Design
Lüderitz, Namibia

Wilkommen in Africa

Chancellor Bismarck has always disdained overseas possessions. Against his will and all odds, in the middle of the Race for Africa, merchant Adolf Lüderitz forced Germany to take over an inhospitable corner of the continent. The homonymous city prospered and preserves one of the most eccentric heritages of the Germanic empire.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Ceremonies and Festivities
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Magome to Tsumago, Nakasendo, Path medieval Japan
Magome-Tsumago, Japan

Magome to Tsumago: The Overcrowded Path to the Medieval Japan

In 1603, the Tokugawa shogun dictated the renovation of an ancient road system. Today, the most famous stretch of the road that linked Edo to Kyoto is covered by a mob eager to escape.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
Okinawa, Japan

Ryukyu Dances: Centuries old. In No Hurry.

The Ryukyu kingdom prospered until the XNUMXth century as a trading post for the China and Japan. From the cultural aesthetics developed by its courtly aristocracy, several styles of slow dance were counted.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
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Honiara e Gizo, Solomon Islands

The Profaned Temple of the Solomon Islands

A Spanish navigator baptized them, eager for riches like those of the biblical king. Ravaged by World War II, conflicts and natural disasters, the Solomon Islands are far from prosperity.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Thingvelir, Origins Democracy Iceland, Oxará
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

The Origins of the Remote Viking Democracy

The foundations of popular government that come to mind are the Hellenic ones. But what is believed to have been the world's first parliament was inaugurated in the middle of the XNUMXth century, in Iceland's icy interior.
Ilha do Mel, Paraná, Brazil, beach
Ilha do Mel, Paraná, Brazil

The Sweetened Paraná of ​​Ilha do Mel

Located at the entrance to the vast Bay of Paranaguá, Ilha do Mel is praised for its nature reserve and for the best beaches in the Brazilian state of Paraná. In one of them, a fortress built by D. José I resists time and tides.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Winter White
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
Almada Negreiros, Roça Saudade, Sao Tome
Saudade, São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Almada Negreiros: From Saudade to Eternity

Almada Negreiros was born in April 1893, on a farm in the interior of São Tomé. Upon discovering his origins, we believe that the luxuriant exuberance in which he began to grow oxygenated his fruitful creativity.
Graciosa, Azores, Monte da Ajuda
Graciosa, Azores

Her Grace the Graciosa

Finally, we will disembark in Graciosa, our ninth island in the Azores. Even if less dramatic and verdant than its neighbors, Graciosa preserves an Atlantic charm that is its own. Those who have the privilege of living it, take from this island of the central group an esteem that remains forever.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Bather, The Baths, Devil's Bay (The Baths) National Park, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Natural Parks
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda's Divine “Caribbaths”

Discovering the Virgin Islands, we disembark on a tropical and seductive seaside dotted with huge granite boulders. The Baths seem straight out of the Seychelles but they are one of the most exuberant marine scenery in the Caribbean.
Jingkieng Wahsurah, Nongblai Village Roots Bridge, Meghalaya, India
UNESCO World Heritage
Meghalaya, India

The Bridges of the Peoples that Create Roots

The unpredictability of rivers in the wettest region on Earth never deterred the Khasi and the Jaintia. Faced with the abundance of trees elastic fig tree in their valleys, these ethnic groups got used to molding their branches and strains. From their time-lost tradition, they have bequeathed hundreds of dazzling root bridges to future generations.
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Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Unusual bathing

south of Belize

The Strange Life in the Black Caribbean Sun

On the way to Guatemala, we see how the proscribed existence of the Garifuna people, descendants of African slaves and Arawak Indians, contrasts with that of several much more airy bathing areas.

Composition on Nine Arches Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka
Yala NPElla-Kandy, Sri Lanka

Journey Through Sri Lanka's Tea Core

We leave the seafront of PN Yala towards Ella. On the way to Nanu Oya, we wind on rails through the jungle, among plantations in the famous Ceylon. Three hours later, again by car, we enter Kandy, the Buddhist capital that the Portuguese never managed to dominate.
Chepe Express, Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railway
On Rails
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
full cabin
Saariselka, Finland

The Delightful Arctic Heat

It is said that the Finns created SMS so they don't have to talk. The imagination of cold Nordics is lost in the mist of their beloved saunas, real physical and social therapy sessions.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Daily life
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Fluvial coming and going
Iriomote, Japan

The Small Tropical Japanese Amazon of Iriomote

Impenetrable rainforests and mangroves fill Iriomote under a pressure cooker climate. Here, foreign visitors are as rare as the yamaneko, an elusive endemic lynx.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.