History and Culture of Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria, a jewel of the Canary archipelago, is a destination rich in history and culture. With a heritage that dates back thousands of years, this island not only offers stunning landscapes but also a deep connection to its past and living traditions reflected in its museums, monuments, and local markets. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history and culture of Gran Canaria, providing a comprehensive guide for those interested in discovering the soul of the island.

A Journey Through Time: History of Gran Canaria

Historia de Gran Canaria
AI generated image

The First Inhabitants

The first settlers of Gran Canaria, known as the Canarios or Guanches, arrived on the island around the 5th century BC. These pre-Hispanic inhabitants were of Berber origin and developed a rich and diverse culture, which included building cave dwellings, making pottery, and practicing agriculture and livestock farming.

The Castilian Conquest

The conquest of Gran Canaria by the Castilians began in 1478 and culminated in 1483. This period marked a significant change in the island’s history, with the introduction of Christianity and the integration of Gran Canaria into the Kingdom of Castile. The conquest brought a mix of cultures and traditions that have left an indelible mark on the island’s identity.

16th to 19th Centuries: Trade and Prosperity

During the 16th to 19th centuries, Gran Canaria experienced a period of growth and prosperity. The trade routes established with America and Europe turned the island into an important trading center. During this time, many of the historical monuments and iconic buildings that can still be seen today were constructed.

The 20th Century: Modernization and Tourism

The 20th century brought significant modernization and the rise of tourism. The island’s infrastructure developed rapidly to accommodate visitors, and Gran Canaria established itself as a renowned tourist destination. This transformation has led to a balance between modern development and the preservation of the island’s history and culture.

Museums of Gran Canaria: Windows to the Past

Museo Canario

Located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Museo Canario is a must-visit for those interested in the island’s pre-Hispanic history. The museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, including pottery, tools, and Guanche mummies, offering deep insights into the lives of Gran Canaria’s first inhabitants.

Casa de Colón

Casa de Colón, also in Las Palmas, is another of the island’s main museums. This museum is dedicated to the life and voyages of Christopher Columbus and explores Gran Canaria’s connection to the Americas. Casa de Colón, with its colonial architecture, is also an excellent example of Castilian influence on the island.

Museos en Gran Canaria
AI generated image

Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnología

For those interested in science and technology, the Museo Elder offers an interactive and educational experience. Located in Parque Santa Catalina, this museum is perfect for families and features exhibits on technology, physics, biology, and more.

Museo y Parque Arqueológico Cueva Pintada

In Gáldar, the Museo y Parque Arqueológico Cueva Pintada offers a unique glimpse into pre-Hispanic life in Gran Canaria. The cave, discovered in the 19th century, contains rock paintings that are a fascinating testament to the artistic skill of the ancient Canarians.

Historical Monuments of Gran Canaria

Catedral de Santa Ana

The Catedral de Santa Ana, located in the historic district of Vegueta in Las Palmas, is one of the most important monuments on the island. Built in the 15th century, this cathedral is an impressive example of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The square in front of the cathedral is also an ideal place to enjoy the city’s historical atmosphere.

Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pino

Located in Teror, the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pino is an important pilgrimage site. The church, dedicated to the patron saint of Gran Canaria, is known for its architectural beauty and religious significance. Every year, thousands of faithful visit the basilica during the festivals in honor of the Virgin of the Pine.

Castillo de la Luz

Castillo de la Luz, in the La Isleta district of Las Palmas, is one of the oldest forts in the Canary Islands. Built in the 15th century, this castle has been restored and now hosts art exhibitions and cultural events. It is an excellent place to learn about Gran Canaria’s maritime defense.

Faro de Maspalomas

Faro de Maspalomas, located at the southern tip of the island, is a historic lighthouse that has guided sailors since 1890. Today, it is a regional symbol and a popular landmark for visitors to the nearby beaches.


Gran Canaria is an island rich in history and culture, with a fascinating blend of pre-Hispanic, colonial, and modern influences. From its museums and monuments to its local markets, there are countless opportunities to explore and learn about life on the island. When planning your visit, be sure to include these cultural aspects in your itinerary for a complete and enriching experience.

Prepare your trip and immerse yourself in the history and culture of Gran Canaria for an unforgettable adventure!