Island treasures: The Canary Island's best maritime museums
Saturday 24 October 2009
The Canaries have featured in some of the world's great voyages, so it is fitting that they boast some excellent repositories of the stories of the sea.
The biggest historical museum in the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria's Casa de Colón (00 34 928 312373; casadecolon.com ; open Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-3pm; admission free) is also one of its most attractive. Devoted to Christopher Columbus and his role in making the Canaries a gateway to the New World, it's housed in a gorgeous 15th-century mansion in the heart of Las Palmas. Tradition has it that Columbus himself stayed here in 1492, before continuing his great voyage of discovery. Among fascinating collections of maps and navigational instruments is a recreation of the interior of La Niña, one of Columbus's fleet. There's also a room full of priceless pre-Columbian artefacts.
There's another celebration of Columbus's connection with the Canaries in Santa Cruz de la Palma: an outdoor replica of one of his ships, the Santa Maria. Locals call it the Barco de la Virgen (open Mon-Thu 9.30am-2pm and 4pm-7pm, Fri 9.30am-2pm; admission free) and use it as a stage for traditional dances during the island's patronal fiesta, the Bajada de la Virgen, held once every five years. Inside is La Palma's Museo Naval, a small collection of seafaring ephemera.
More recent maritime history is documented at the Museo Naval de Canarias (00 34 928 443155; armada.mde.es ; open Mon-Fri 10am-1pm; admission free) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Located in the islands' main naval base, it gives pride of place to a fine hoard of Second World War weapons including guns, grenades and a torpedo.
The latest addition to Fuerteventura's clutch of ethnographic museums is the Museo de la Pesca Tradicional (00 34 928 866235; open Tue-Sat 10am-6pm; admission free), in El Cotillo lighthouse on the north-west coast. It delves into the island's ocean-going fishing traditions and is stuffed with nets, weights and interesting photos.
Lanzarote's capital, Arrecife, boasts two striking remnants of the age of pirates and adventurers. Just offshore, but connected to the city centre by a causeway with an unusual drawbridge, is the stocky little Castillo de San Gabriel, built to defend the city against 16th-century marauders. There are plans to open a maritime museum here. Arrecife's second fort, Castillo de San José, houses Lanzarote's contemporary art museum, MIAC (00 34 928 812321; centrosturisticos.com ; open 11am-9pm; €2.50). Its restaurant, designed by César Manrique, is one of the best in town.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...
18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...
£20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...
£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...