Santa Cruz de Santiago de Tenerife is the island’s historic capital and is also the joint capital of the Canary Islands (along with Las Palmas). Set at the foot of the Anaga mountains this city has its roots steeped in history.
We park near to the auditorium, our first stop. Since its opening in 2003 the auditorium has become one of Tenerife’s most emblematic buildings. The building is composed of a succession of different platforms, overshadowed by the enormous curved volume of the main hall and the 50 metre high overhanging roof. This architectural wonder was built by Spanish artist Santiago Calatrava and has apparent influences from the ocean and encompasses the authority of the city.
Nearby, the rocks that form the wave breaks have been covered in paintings of famous musicians and singers. Stars from Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix to Madonna all have their faces on the rocks at Santa Cruz.
In the large square in front of the Auditorium is one of César Manrique’s best Tenerife art sculptures. It is placed in front of the fort, Castillo Negro San Juan and beside the auditorium, linking the history of the island with the culture, music and opera.
We decide to head towards the historic quarter of the city and on our way we pass the iconic theatre mask sculpture outside the Guimerá Theatre, one of Spain’s most beautiful theatres. Opened in 1851 to provide a stable venue for some of the world’s greatest theatre and opera companies who would call into Santa Cruz en route to touring Central and South America. The theatre’s name honours the great dramatist from Tenerife, Angel Guimerá, who died in 1924.
Plaza de España is the largest square in the city of Santa Cruz, built in the 1940s on the land that was occupied by the historic Castillo de San Cristóbal, a bastion for defending the island of piracy. It features a great artificial lake, work of swiss architects Herzog and Meuron, and the Monumento de los Caídos, built to commemorate the deaths from the Spanish Civil War.