After more than 20 years, posts here will now only be occasional (see why) for big events such as Tenerife Carnaval, so please "Like" and follow our Facebook Page because that's where to see future updates.

San Cristóbal Castle Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Cañón Tigre - decisive in the defeat of English Admiral Horatio Nelson in his attempt to invade Tenerife in 1797 - currently on display in the San Cristóbal Castle interpretation centre.

Underneath the Plaza de España in Santa Cruz and marked by the black lines that can be seen in the lake from above, are the ruins of the Castillo de San Cristóbal (Castle of San Cristóbal). Portions of the castle ruins were uncovered during the refurbishment of the plaza carried out by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron in 2006 and these ruins are now open to the public via The San Cristóbal Castle Interpretation Centre. Reading that the centre was to be closed during carnival, we made this our first port of call after we arrived in the city.

Entrance is FREE, so it's well worth it to have a look if you're in the city and for those of a nervous disposition, I'll just mention that the steps are quite normal and the well-lit underground exhibit is not at all dark and dingy as I was expecting.

You don't need to be in Santa Cruz de Tenerife long before you realise that 25 July is a very important date! The whole centre is nicely done with information on various historical attacks on the city - not just the English ones, although that one always figures strongly in any history of the city and here is no exception - with good English translations under the information panels.

At the end of the 1990s, Santa Cruz de Tenerife still had not resolved the integration of the port into its urban core, a situation that led to the calling of several tenders. The Cabildo, the City Council and the Port Authority finally opted for the Herzog & De Meuron project, one premise of which was that the citizen, taking Calle del Castillo as a starting point, could move towards the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, following a longitudinal path in the manner of a previous project proposed by José Blasco Robles and José Luis Escario, which linked two existing squares – Candelaria and España – and a newly created one, the “Plaza del Agua”. In short, it was an ambitious staging that fused the metaphor of the gateway to the Atlantic with the protection of visible architectural vestiges, such as the Monument to the Fallen and the façade of the Alameda del Duque de Santa Elena, as well as other equally known but disappeared ones, such was the case of the Castillo de San Cristóbal. Some remains of its original walls appeared again during the remodelling works of the space and were incorporated under the surface of the recently created "Plaza del Agua". To access the find, a structure of galleries was set up to facilitate access to the venerable vestiges, a space that required the implementation of an interpretation centre. 

In this way, the San Cristóbal Castle Interpretation Centre was conceived, inaugurated in July 2008 and managed by the Autonomous Organism of Museums and Centres of the Cabildo de Tenerife through the Museum of History and Anthropology. The status of interpretation centre has eclipsed, to a certain extent, the nature of a site museum – the first in Tenerife – of the Castillo de San Cristóbal. Indeed, the aforementioned space offers citizens the possibility of visiting one of the most powerful heritage remains that have shaped its history, defending the island for more than two centuries against naval attacks.

In addition to the walls, the San Cristóbal Castle Interpretation Centre offers the possibility of contemplating other exhibits, such as the two tombstones that recall the name of the person who was the builder of the main fortress on the island of Tenerife, Juan Álvarez de Fonseca; and, of course, the presence of the “El Tigre” cannon, exhibited for the first time since it was put out of service, in the environment where it once played a more than outstanding role in the early hours of July 24 to 25, 1797, as evidenced by the testimonies of Monteverde and Grandi Giraud, protagonists and exceptional witnesses of the events.

From the very moment of the centre's inauguration, Tenerife Museums always had the suspicion that it would waste the museum space if it focused exclusively on the Gesta of July 25, an episode whose dimension and appeal have made us overlook the three previous centuries of history of the castle and, by extension, of the city. That is why it was proposed as a place for reflection on the history of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, conceived from the present to the past, taking into account the importance of the fortifications, but also in other episodes that date back at the time of the conquest. Since its inauguration, the San Cristóbal Castle Interpretation Centre has remained open to date, becoming a benchmark for citizens, both local and visitors. 

Restos del Castillo de San Cristóbal - Enrique Castrillo Núñez [CC BY-SA 2.5 es]

Tenerife Land of Eternal Christmas

Sunbathing SantaDesert Island ChristmasScuba Diving SantaTropical Santa
Santa's Having a Whale of a TimeSurfing SantaWaterski SantaCamel Rodeo Santa
With a wide range of products in each design, click the pics (above) to see the full selections.