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Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Plaza Weyler in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Monumental Fountain in the Plaza Weyler in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The square in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which bears the name of General Valeriano Weyler, was formerly known as Campo Militar (Military Field), because the troops from El Cuartel de San Miguel (San Miguel barracks), which were in its surroundings, carried out their exercises there. On the site that today is occupied by the Palacio de la Capitanía General de Canarias (Palace of the Captaincy General), a Military Hospital had stood since 1778, ordered to be built by the General Commander Marqués de Tabalosos.

As this was on the outskirts of the city, it was used as a rest stop for horsemen and carriages, and the Castillo and La Luz streets - now Imeldo Serís - then only reached San Roque street (today Suárez Guerra), until the City Council carried out redevelopment of the area, extending Calle Castillo to the square, which was inaugurated on July 25, 1875, and quickly surrounded by new two-story houses where, until then, there were orchards.

On January 5, 1879, when Captain General Valeriano Weyler received authorization from the Government to build the Palacio de la Capitanía General de Canarias (Palace of the Captaincy General) and a new Military Hospital on Calle Galcerán, residents celebrated it by gathering in the Plaza de la Constitución (today Plaza de la Candelaria), in front of the Palacio de Carta, which then housed the Captaincy General (1853-1881).

With this construction, the area would begin to gain momentum, since it led to the new opening of Calle Méndez Núñez and Avenida Veinticinco de Julio and, which would give rise to the stately neighbourhood of Los Hoteles, as well as the Maestranza street (today Galcerán), which would promote the development of the Duggi neighbourhood.

That same year, the Captain General requested that trees be planted on the embankment in front of the Hospital, known as the “military field” to serve as ornaments. The levelling works, following the design of the architect Vicente Alonso de Armiño, were carried out by migrants from Fuerteventura and Lanzarote who had arrived in Tenerife fleeing the droughts and famines on those islands. On February 7, 1879, the City Council agreed to give the name of Weyler to the new plaza that today serves as an elegant prelude to what would be the noble and monumental Captaincy General building.

The square was inaugurated on Sunday, May 6, 1883.

That day, bazaars were set up to raise funds to carry out the construction work of the ashlar walls that closed the perimeter, works that would not finish until 1909. The harpist Esmeralda Cervantes even offered a benefit concert at the Municipal Theatre of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, with funds given to Valeriano Weyler so that he could finance the works.

The square underwent various works within the municipal works plan of 1938 and 1944, the latter by the municipal architect Antonio Pintor, but the great remodelling that gave it its current appearance was the work of the architect Enrique Rumeu, in 1955.

Today, being located in one of the areas with the greatest pedestrian movement, the square is used as a thoroughfare; however, its landscaped flower beds are very well cared for and preserved, which makes it one of the most beautiful public squares in Santa Cruz.


Weyler Square Fountain

In 1883 a small circular pond was installed in the centre of the square in which a fountain stood as a simple ornamental fountain, but councillors Luis Candellot and Isidro Miranda proposed, in 1891, to request different plans for fountains from Francisco Franchini's company, in Genoa (Italy), its installation being carried out in 1899.

As the cost of such a luxurious fountain, 11,380 lire, exceeded the financial possibilities of the City Council, it was necessary to resort to local contributions, organize dances, sale of raffles, and install tómbolas and bazaars. The wood from the barracks that had been installed in the bullring to house the troops repatriated from Cuba were even sold.

The ensemble made from Carrara marble, with neo-Renaissance characteristics, made in Genoa by Achille Canessa, is made up of two different bodies: the central pillar, and the basin or bowl. The central pillar, 5.8 m high, which rests on a cylindrical base, has a great decorative development on the three levels in which is divided. It is topped by the statues of two putti holding a garland of flowers; on the central section, four putti, one in each corner, hold a dolphin that spews water from its mouth, which falls into the shells at the bottom.

In 2009, following the project of the architect Alejandro Beautell, a general cleaning was carried out, with sandblasting to eliminate stains produced by environmental pollution, pigeon droppings, excess of lime in the water, rust, bacteria, fungi and algae.


Plaza Weyler in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The Plaza Weyler (Plaza del General Weyler) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), owes its name to the Spanish general Valeriano Weyler, a military man who was Captain General of the Canary Islands, under whose command the Palacio de la Capitanía General de Canarias (Palace of the Captaincy General of the Canary Islands) was built, which is next to the aforementioned square.

Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau (Palma de Mallorca, September 17, 1838 - Madrid, October 20, 1930) was a Spanish military general and politician, mainly known for his position as Captain General of Cuba during the Cuban War of Independence. He was famous for his reviled policy of Reconcentración in Cuba. One of his measures would be to confine rural inhabitants in concentration camps in order to deprive the rebels of the support of the peasantry. As a result, an estimated 100,000 Cubans were left to die in these concentration camps due to hunger and disease.

The square was built in 1893 by Vicente Armiño, promoted by the Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council, by the General Captaincy of the Canary Islands and by the Urban Building Construction Company. With an area of ​​3,600 m², this square is located in the heart of the city, leading to Calle del Castillo, which is the leading commercial street in Santa Cruz.

Originally, this square was designed as a forecourt to the neoclassical building of the Captaincy General, being also framed by a wall. At the beginning, it had a circular fountain, which was moved when the City Council acquired the current central fountain. 

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