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The area of San Juan (St John)

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History

The history of San Juan is rooted in pre-Hispanic times. It is known that the area was one of two great “kingdoms” of the old Tamarán (Gran Canaria) and as such the city has lots of examples of the old Canarias, with around a hundred archaeological points of interest..
Also, references to Telde exist previous to Spanish Conquest.

Pre-Spanish colonialist invasion Telde was the eastern centre to the aborigines of the island, and the renowned aborigine Doramas is believed to have lived here. Telde is situated in a most fertile area of Gran Canaria, Early records point to about 14,000 aborigine dwellings here in Telde at the time of conquest, and Telde is the spot where the famous Idolo de Tara figure—currently housed in the Museo Canario in Las Palmas—was discovered.
Created by papal decree 1351. Today Telde is Gran Canarias second city with a population approaching 100,000. The historic old town area of Telde is particularly popular with visitors.
In the past, Telde was an agricultural community, the main crops being sugar canes, vineyards, bananas and tomatoes. Today, the surrounding area of Telde is quite heavily industrialised becoming the industrial centre on the island.
Iglesia de San Juan Bautista de Telde (The Church of St John the Baptist) is the true spiritual centre of Telde. Located in the square of the same name and founded in 1483, the old church was erected by the Garcia del Castillo family at the time of the town's foundation. It still has the original gateway, an example of Sevillian-Portuguese Gothic architecture. The towers, however, are an example of early 20th neo-Gothic construction. The real marvels are inside the building: the statue of Christ on the main altar, made from corn dough by the Tarasco Mexican Indians, brought here before 1550, the Flemish Gothic main altar, which dates back to before 1516, and the triptych of the Virgin Mary, brought from Flanders, also in the 16th century, depicting five religious scenes.
Since the Conquest, in 1483, Telde became a  rich and prosperous agricultural, industrial and commercial city, with a remarkable social and cultural life, being the fourth  largest populated city within the Archipelago.  


The area of San Juan (St Jhon)
 

 

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The area of San Juan (St Jhon) The area of San Juan (St Jhon) The area of San Juan (St Jhon)
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Lugares de Interés

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Mapa

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Multimedia

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Route

Duration: 120 minutes, stopping in the church, the exhibition halls and the museum.

Getting there

Travelling from Maspalomas and the south, the most comfortable way to access the district of San Juan it is to take insular highway CI-18.11 in its connection with GC - 1, to the the district of Marpequeña and the commercial park of Telde.

From Las Palmas, the access is next to the exit of the GC-1 towards the commercial Park of Telde. Once on the CI-18.11, you are three kilometers from the urban centre of Telde.

In order to go to San Juan, turn right before arriving at a big roundabout, the roundabout is distinguishable by the great structures of metal and crystal that resemble heads of birds.

Follow the street until you reach the park of San Juan. Next to the park there is an ample zone of parking and a new underground parking facility from where the towers of the church of San Juan can be seen.

If you decide to travel on public transport, the best option is to take the 80 from Las Palmas. They leave every 20 minutes from the 07:00 until 21:20.  From Maspalomas, take the number 90. You can alight the bus near the roundabout.

Señorío/ Land area

The areas of San Juan and San Francisco were declared places of cultural interest in 1981, although these areas are small, it is necessary to consider that they are only one part of the historical area of Telde. The tourist route through San Juan is very short if you limit your visits just to the streets, however it is well worth visiting the interior of the Basilica of the church, the most important historical artistic monument of the city. We also recommend the route in the morning.

Begin the visit with a walk down the orange tree lined avenue, where traditional buildings house a variety of shops and businesses. At the bottom of the avenue, you will find the square and the church. The square is a wonderful place to sit and watch the world go by, and also houses a café and a wine bar. The buildings surrounding the square date back to the 19th Century, one of them is the Constitorial house and the other was is the Casino Union (similar to a working men’s club). The other buildings belonged to wealthy families and nowadays the majority are occupied by the local government.

The St John the Baptist church was declared a place of national cultural interest on the 21st June 1991 and is one of the oldest in the Canary Islands. For that reason, it constitutes one of the best examples of the Mudéjar, Andalucian and Portugese art forms on the Islands. It´s origin was a small hermitage of stone and mud raised next to the bunker of San Juan at the end of the 15th Century.

The works of the new Church began around 1519 and continued throughout the 17th and 18th Centuries. You can notice several different architectural styles due to the long process of construction.

The old bell tower was replaced by two modern towers in neo-gothic style constructed in the 20th Century and are currently being restored.

In its interior you can find a variety of interesting art, amongst which the altarpiece of the great altar and the triptych both stand out, both being of flamenco and gothic style. Also a sculpture of Christ fashioned from corn paste by the Tarascos Indians of Michoacán, in Mexico, stands out as well which arrived in Telde in 1550.

Outside of the church is a group of buildings, one of which is the Constitorial House. It is recognizable by the flags on it´s balcony, It has an exhibition hall on the ground floor, where normally exhibitions from local artists are held. The hall remains open from 8am to 3pm and again from 4pm to 8.30pm. Within the inner patio you can see the typical characteristics of traditional Canarian houses.

Next to the Constitorial house, you can take a break and enjoy so drinks and tapas in the Casino building. Outside of the Casino you will find a monumental garden dedicate to one of the local artist. From here it is possible to enter the Santa Rosalía garden, which nowadays serves as a childrens park, which houses a wide variety of birds.
Leaving the Santa Rosalía garden you will enter the “Calle Licenciado Calderín” street where building of different styles constructed through several centuries all sit together.

The public library is situated at the end of this street. If you turn right you will come to the large San Juan park, a wonderful large urban space housing a variety of animals and activity areas.

But we recommend you to take a left turn an wander around the cobbled streets of San Juan where you will find more examples of the co-existence of several centuries of architecture.

A little further ahead and just before the Municipal School of Music and Dance, is the House of the Ruizes de Vergara, a building that dates from the 16th century and that belonged to the “Condado de la Vega Grande de Guadelupe” Family. Today it is the headquarters of the work shop school of the historical heritage of Telde and is undergoing renovation, and so unfortunately can only be seen from the outside. With the plain exterior, the main entrance portrays the importance of the building, it show a typical artistic arch with the family´s coat of arms on it.

As you arrive at the end of this street, turn right into the “Juan Carlos I” street, and you will come across the San Pedro Mártir de Verona church, also declared a place of cultural interest in 1981.


 This location has a history that dates back to the end of the 15th Century. Ines Chemida, a native woman who took care of poor patients founded the hospital of San Pedro Mártir in this place in 1490. Later the church was built and construction finished in 1551. In the middle of the 19th Century it was no longer used as a place of worship and for almost a whole century it was abandoned and fell into ruin until it´s restoration began in 2001. Today it is used as one of the city councils exhibition halls and has the same opening times as the Constitorial House. It is a one roomed building with two small side chapels accessed through two arches, the right hand chapel was build in gothic style in the 16th Century. The left hand chapel was build at a later date, in the second half of the 17th Century

From the square outside the building the two areas, San Francisco and Cendro can be appreciated as well as the old access to the city via “El Puente de lo Siete Ojos” (meaning the bridge of the seven eyes). This bridge was constructed by the engineer Juan de Leon y Castillo in 1868.

The route continues down the Juan Carlos I street. When arriving at the San Juan square, the Inés Chemida street can be found on the right.  From here you can view part of the San Francisco neighborhood commonly known as the “Bailadero” (meaning dance hall). However we recommend that you visit this neighborhood later and continue your visit down Juan Carlos I street until you come to Leon y Castillo street which takes its name from Isabel II famous minster.


Walking down this street you will find the Museum, “Casa Museo de Leon y Castillo” situated at number 43-45. The famous politician Fernando and his brother Juan where born here, They were the creators of many for the islands infrastructures, one of which is the port. Today the museum comprises of two buildings, the original was the Leon y Castillo family home and the other was where the poet Montiano Placereres lived. Its rooms offer a journey through the political history of Spain from the mid 19th Century to the beginning of the 20th Century. In addition, the houses demonstrate two fantastic examples of traditional Canarian architecture, with their interior patios and wooden balconies on the upper floor.


After the visit to the museum, you have a choice of returning to the car park or visiting the San Francisco neighborhood (to see route). If you decide to finish your visit here, you will find yourself back at the San Juan, now being a good moment to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

The Area of San Juan (St Jhon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Area of San Juan (St Jhon)