Fiesta in Breña Baja

Rather confusingly, the main fiesta in San José (the capital of Breña Baja) isn’t St Joseph’s Day, it’s the feast of Santiago and Santana (St James and St Anne) on the 25th and 26th of July, respectively. Since we’ve just had the bajada, the fiesta is a much quieter affair than usual. They just did the religious part: a special mass, a procession, and a loa. So what’s a loa,…

July 27, 2010

The Church of San Juan, Puntallana

The exterior of the church of San Juan, Puntallana As Palmeran churches go, the church of St. John the Baptist in Puntallana isn’t all that old. The presbytery and the side chapels date from the 16th century, and the nave from the 1719. It was officially declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (rather like a listed building) in 1994. The main altar in the church of San Juan, Puntallana The…

July 4, 2009

The Best Baroque Altarpieces in the Canary Islands

This is the main altarpiece in The church of Our Lady of Candelaria (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria) in Tijarafe. According to the books, it’s the best baroque altarpiece in the Canary Islands. It’s certainly gorgeous, and huge. It was made by Antonio de Orbarán, and he worked on it from 1626 to 1628. It cleverly combines niches with statues and painted panels. The church itself was built around…

June 18, 2009

Flemish Art

16th century Calvary in the church of Las Nieves When La Palma was conquered (or invaded, depending on your point of view) in 1493, the Spanish empire also included what is now Portugal, Belgium and Holland. So settlers arrived from all these countries, quite often with surnames like Groenenberg or Van de Walle. Some of them became very rich, and spent a lot of money on their local churches. they…

June 5, 2009

St Maurus’s Church, Puntagorda

The first church on this site was built in the 16th century, when this was the centre of the village. Since then, the population moved uphill, leaving the church rather isolated, and the church has been rebuilt twice (the current building dates from the 19th century), and finally fell into disuse and ruin. It was replaced with a newer one, in the new centre of the village, in 1951, but…

July 24, 2008

Anguish and Waxworks.

The Church of Our Lady’s Anguish lies near the bottom of Las Angustias Ravine, where the river Taburiente runs out of the Caldera. (Well, they take a lot of the water for irrigation, so in the middle of summer it trickles. That still makes it the only year-round river in the Canaries). To find it, take the road from Los Llanos to Tijarafe. Just north of the bridge over the…

June 4, 2008