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Gáldar, Ancient royal seat of Gran Canaria, gran, canaria

Gáldar is situated in the mountains and is surrounded by valleys. It is located west of Las Palmas, north of Puerto Rico and west of Arucas.

Farmlands are within the coastline while the mountains lie to the southeast. The Atlantic Ocean lies is to the west and to the north. The Pico de Gáldar, an extinct volcano is facing to the northwest.

The main industries of Gáldar are agriculture, businesses and tourism.

Gáldar at the foot of the Pico de Gáldar volcano.Gáldar and Telde have both been the capital of Gran Canaria before Las Palmas assumed the title. Gáldar was the first. Gáldar was formerly called Agáldar, which can be translated as the "Royal City", Gáldar was the seat of several social and political institutions. Gáldar was also the main settlement of the Guanche civilization before the conquest by Spain. After the Spanish conquest, because the town of Gáldar was the seat if one if the two Guanche kings that ruled Gran Canaria, and was therefore considered to be important, the Spanish built a new town over the top of what was Agáldar and it became Gáldar as we know it today. In the building of Gáldar as we see the town in modern times, the Spanish actually covered Cueva Pintada which has only recently been redisvovered.

After the Spanish conquest, modern day Gáldar was founded in 1484. It was once the seat of Tenesor Semidan, one of the two Guanche kings, that ruled Gran Canaria. Since the leaders were recognised as Kings of the Canary Islands by the Castilian monarchs, Agáldar was recognized as the capital and as the birthplace of the court of the reigning dynasty of the island. It is believed that Gáldar was the birthplace of Christianity on the Gran Canaria.

Iglesia de San Tiago de los Caballeros in GáldarGáldar is very proud of its heritage and many of the street have Guanche names. Today, Gáldar is a busy town extending to the foot of the Pico de Gáldar volcano.

In the town square of Gáldar, "Plaza de Santiago", you will find the church (Iglesia de Santiago de los Caballeros, featured in the picture above,) which is built on the original site of the ancient Guanche royal court. The construction of the church, at Gáldar, which has three naves, was started in 1778 and completed in the mid-19th century.  It contains several works by Luján Pérez including a 15th century green font and statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary.

The town hall of Gáldar can also be found in the town square. There is a huge dragon tree in the courtyard of the town hall which was planted in 1719 and is reputed to be one of the oldest in Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands.

Find out when and where Galdár market is held.

Dragon tree in the courtyard of the Gáldar town hallA must see while you are in Gran Canaria is Cueva Pintada or Painted Cave at Gáldar. If you are interested in the island of Gran Canaria, and it's peoples and history, as well as in getting some sun, then this is something you must see. In recent history it has been closed to the public for protection, and a delicate, tender modernization. Now, open again, this site of very special interest in Gáldar will take you back in time to long before the Spanish even thought about the Canary Islands let alone invaded them. This site takes you all the way back to the time of the Guanches - the original Canarian people.

Tumulo de la Guancha is an 11th century Guanche cemetery and was discovered in 1936. It is the last the resting place of Guanche nobles. The site contains 30 round tombs, built of lava blocks. Unfortunately, it is currently closed to public. You will find Tumulo de la Guancha just to the north of Gáldar.