From our ship’s berth at the passenger port in the Santa Catalina districts (pictured above, on the top left), we drove south across Las Palmas to the old quarters of Vegueta and Triana. On the way, the views from the top of the hill were spectacular.
The historic Vegueta district has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. Atlantic and Latin American ties are reflected in the old quarter (from cobblestone streets to diverse architectural styles), making exploration of Vegueta a trip back through history, dating from the 15th century.
Catedral de Santa Anna (Holy Cathedral-Basilica of Canary or Cathedral of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria or Santa Ana Cathedral) is the seat of the Diocese of the Canaries in the Roman Catholic Church. It is situated within the historic Vegueta neighborhood, next to the Plaza Mayor of Santa Ana. The twin-towered Santa Ana Cathedral, the first church in the Canaries, was built on the orders of Los Reyes Católicos, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, after Gran Canaria was conquered in 1478. The structure is considered the most important monument of Canarian religious architecture. The present church was commenced in 1500 and the structure was finished, and the first offices celebrated, on the eve of Corpus Christi, 1570, in the time of the fourteenth Bishop, Fr. Juan de Alzolares.
In 1478, Juan Rejon, conqueror of Gran Canaria island, founded the Fort of Las Palmas (Real de las Palmas). The fort became the city’s first foundations. In the city (now the Vegueta historic old quarter) new buildings sprang up as the Spanish built up the port and its defenses. One of the notable structures, pictured above, the former Governor’s House, is where where Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) stayed during repairs to his ship before embarking on his 1492 voyage of discovery. Colon also stayed there on two more journeys en route to America. Today the Governor’s house is known as Casa de Colón (Columbus’ House). It houses the local biblioteca (library) and a museum with thirteen permanent exhibition galleries and three large patios.