Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Vegueta is the oldest part of
Las Palmas. Some of the most interesting
sites that you will see in Vegueta are only metres away from the where the important military encampment was built. Vegueta is the nucleus which started the development that resulted in the Las Palmas we know today.
Plaza Santa Ana in Vegueta is guarded by bronze statues of dogs which symbolize the legend of the appearance of a dog, that is said to have appeared in the towns heights in 1506.
You will see many statues representing dogs around Vegueta and Las Palmas and the dog is also the symbol of Gran Canaria. In fact as you are travelling around Gran Canaria if you pay attention you will even spot bumper stickers of the Gran Canarian dog. Not, that they are relevant to Vegueta, we are just explaining what they are and why they are relevant.
The Plaza Santa Ana is in Vegueta where you will discover many impressive historic buildings, including the imposing Santa Ana Cathedral, which amazingly have survived the rigours of time and remain in their original states.
Remaining on the Calle del Doctor Chil in Vegueta you will find the church of the old Augustinian Convent. The building is mostly from the 17th century and today serves as the High Court of Gran Canaria.
Casas Consistoriales is an elegant 19th century building in Vegueta which is the is home to the Offices of Island Government. You will also discover the Bishops palace here, however during the great fire of 1599 most of this building was destroyed and only a single storey facade remains of the original building. We must also mention of course the beautiful and imposing Santa Ana Cathedral.
The Columbus House Museum is also in Vegueta. It is claimed that it was in this very house that Christopher Columbus stayed in while one of his ships was being repaired in 1492, though it is now more widely accepted that Christopher Columbus did not actually reside in this building, but that the building housing the Christopher Columbus museum, is a fair representation of the style of house, that Christopher Columbus would have stayed in, during his residence in Vegueta.
Nearby in Vegueta is the small chapel of San Antonio Abad where the famous navigator Christopher Columbus prayed on his first stop on his way back from the Americas. The chapel is in a small square which was the site of the important military encampment built by Juan Rejón's troops in 1478.
The encampment in Vegueta was called, "El Real de las Tres Palmas" which in English translates as, "The Royal of the three Palms" and the city of Las Palmas took it's name from this. Vegueta was the first Spanish outpost in the Atlantic, as well as the place where the Crown of Castile began the Conquest of Canaries. The district of Vegueta takes it's name from the surrounding area and was originally called "la Vegueta de Santa Ana". The word Vegueta is derived from the spanish word Vega, meaning a fertile plain.
The first school in Las Palmas was built in a house in Vegueta provided by the Spanish Inquisitor Romero. The houses on either side of the school were also, occupied by the Inquisition. The school was operated by the Jesuit priests and after a time they built the Baroque style church of San Francisco of Borja. Sombre looking from the outside, the interior is a jewel where you will find beautiful frescos showing scenes of many saints, like San Ignacio of Loyola, San Francisco de Borja and others.
King Carlos III ordered the expulsion of the Jesuit order in 1766 so under the supervision of Bishop Cervera, the Jesuits were evicted from this spacious Vegueta building and the Seminario Conciliar de Canarias (Seminary Council of the Canaries) was formed.
If you are looking to find Gran Canaria's roots then you have to find the Canario Museum which is located on the corner of the Calle Doctor Verneau in Vegueta.
Close to the Canario Museum you will find the square of the Holy Spirit "Plaza del Espiritu Santo", a beautiful and charming little square in Vegueta which has a fountain near it's centre and is surrounded by a number of stately houses and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.