HOME

TheInfoList




Gran Canaria (, ; ), also Grand Canary Island, is the third largest and second most populous island of the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island ...
, an
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
off the Atlantic coast of
Northwest Africa The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب , "the west"), also known as Northwest Africa, the Arab Maghreb ( ), and historically as "The Barbary coast", is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world, Arab World. The region includes Algeria, Libya ...
which is part of Spain. the island had a population of that constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Las Palmas (, ; ), officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is a city and capital of Gran Canaria Gran Canaria (, ; ), also Grand Canary Island, is the third largest and second most populous island of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off th ...
, the capital of the island, is the biggest city of the Canary Islands and the ninth of Spain. Gran Canaria is located in the Atlantic Ocean in a region known as
Macaronesia Macaronesia (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the ...

Macaronesia
about off the northwestern coast of Africa and about from Europe. With an area of km2 ( sq. mi) and an altitude of at Morro de la Agujereada, Gran Canaria is the third largest island of the archipelago in both area and altitude. Gran Canaria is also the third most populated island in Spain.


History

In
antiquity Antiquity or Antiquities may refer to Historical objects or periods Artifacts *Antiquities Antiquities are objects from antiquity Antiquity or Antiquities may refer to Historical objects or periods Artifacts * Antiquities, objects or arti ...
, Gran Canaria was populated by the North African Guanches, Canarii, who may have arrived as early as 500 BC. The Canarii called the island Tamarán ('land of the brave"). In the Middle Ages, medieval period, after over a century of European incursions and attempts at conquest, the island was conquered on April 29, 1483, by the Crown of Castile, under Isabella I of Castile, Queen Isabella I. The conquest succeeded after a campaign that lasted five years, and it was an important step towards the expansion of the unified Spain. The capital city of
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Las Palmas (, ; ), officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is a city and capital of Gran Canaria Gran Canaria (, ; ), also Grand Canary Island, is the third largest and second most populous island of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off th ...
was founded on June 24, 1478, under the name "Real de Las Palmas", by Juan Rejón, head of the invading Crown of Castile, Castilian army. In 1492, Christopher Columbus anchored in the Port of Las Palmas (and spent some time on the island) on his first trip to the Americas. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is, jointly with Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of the Canary Islands.


Geography

Gran Canaria is located in the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island ...
archipelago southeast of Tenerife and west of Fuerteventura. The island is of volcano, volcanic origin, mostly made of fissure vents. It has a round shape, with a diameter of approximately and a surface area of . Gran Canaria's maximum elevation is at Morro de la Agujereada, although the nearby Pico de las Nieves has traditionally been considered the island's tallest peak.


Geology

About 80% of the volume of the island was formed during the Miocene period eruptions, between 14 and 9 million years ago. This is called the "Old Cycle" and is estimated to have lasted some 200,000 years and have emitted about , mostly of fissural alkali basalt. This cycle continued with the emission of trachytes, phonolites and peralkaline rocks. This period was followed by one of erosion, which lasted some 4 million years.Araña, V and Carracedo, J.C: ''Canarian Volcanoes'', Volume 3: Gran Canaria, pp. 8, 24. Editorial Rueda, Madrid, 1978. A second cycle of volcanic eruptions, known as the "Roque Nublo cycle", took place between 4.5 and 3.4 million years ago. This shorter cycle emitted about . Most of the inland peaks were formed by erosion from these materials. This period also started with fissural basalts, but ended with violent eruptions of pyroclastic flows. Some phonolitic features, like the Risco Blanco, were also formed in its last stages. The third or recent cycle is held to have started some 2.8 million years ago and is considered to be still active. The last eruptions are held to have occurred some 2000 years ago. The changes in volume and, therefore, weight of the island have also caused the island to rise above the previous sea level during erosive periods and to sink during eruptive periods. Some of these "fossil beaches" can be seen in the cliff faces of the more eroded northern coast.Oscillations of up to in the level corresponding to sea level have occurred in geological history. The highest point known is in the Bay of El Confital, Las Palmas ( above current sea level) while subaerial materials have been extracted from a well at below sea level in the area of La Aldea. Araña, V and Carracedo, J.C: ''Canarian Volcanoes'', Volume 3: Gran Canaria, pp. 13. Editorial Rueda, Madrid, 1978. File:Nature of Gran Canaria 2016 03.jpg, Nature of Gran Canaria along the eastern shore in 2016 File:Nature of Gran Canaria 2016 1.jpg, Nature of Gran Canaria along the southeastern shore in 2016


Vegetation

Until the conquest, Gran Canaria had extensive forests, but then suffered extensive deforestationReforestación de las cumbres de Gran Canaria
/ref> as a result of continuous logging, land divisions and other intensive uses. This reduced the forest cover to just , making the island the most deforested of the Canary Islands. However, in the twentieth century reforestation of the ridge of the island was begun, recovering some of the lost forest mass. Much of the summit of the island is forested mostly due to reforestation.


Governance

Gran Canaria is in the autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island ...
(''Islas Canarias''). It lies within the Province of Las Palmas, a Provinces of Spain, Spanish province which consists of the eastern part of the Canary Islands community.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Las Palmas (, ; ), officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is a city and capital of Gran Canaria Gran Canaria (, ; ), also Grand Canary Island, is the third largest and second most populous island of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off th ...
is the provincial capital, one of the two capitals of the Canary Islands along with Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The island of Gran Canaria is governed by the Cabildo insular, Cabildo insular de Gran Canaria. Gran Canaria Island itself is divided into twenty-one smaller List of municipalities in Las Palmas, municipalities: The island has a population at the start of 2019 of 851,231 with 379,925 of those in the capital city of
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Las Palmas (, ; ), officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is a city and capital of Gran Canaria Gran Canaria (, ; ), also Grand Canary Island, is the third largest and second most populous island of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off th ...
. Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife.


Transportation


Roads

Gran Canaria has roads encircling the whole island and extending into the mountain areas. In the late 20th century, its dual carriageway, among the first in the Canary Islands, were opened and run around Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and were later extended to the north coast and the airport and subsequently to the south coast in response to increased tourist traffic. The only highway of Gran Canaria are GC1 (Gran Canaria), GC1. Dual carriageway is GC2 (Gran Canaria), GC2, and GC31 (Gran Canaria), GC31, GC4 (Gran Canaria), GC4 and GC5 (Gran Canaria), GC5. The western and the north-western parts, with the fewest inhabitants, are linked only with main roads.


Buses

Public transport around Gran Canaria is provided by an extensive bus network, known in the local dialect as ''wiktionary:guagua, guaguas''. The ''Autoridad Única del Transporte de Gran Canaria'' (Gran Canaria Transport Authority, TGC) manages the network and operates a number of bus stations across the island, including San Telmo and Santa Catalina bus stations in Las Palmas, Maspalomas and Galdar. Bus tickets may be purchased with cash, and AUTGC also operates a Contactless smart card, contactless electronic ticket called the TransGC Card, which is valid across the whole network. Inter-urban bus services across the island are operated by the Global bus company. Global was created in 2000 after the merger of two bus companies, Utinsa (which operated in the north of the island) and Salcai (the bus operator for the south). Local bus services in Las Palmas are run by the municipal bus company, ''Guaguas Municipales de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria''.


Airport

Gran Canaria Airport (IATA: LPA) is the only commercial airport on the island. The large number of aircraft and passengers passing through it each year make it one of the busiest in Spain. Gran Canaria is also responsible for all air traffic control in the Canaries. By destination island, Gran Canaria is the second island that congregates the largest number of passengers in the Canary Islands.


Sea ports

The most important ports in the island are the Port of Las Palmas ''(Puerto de Las Palmas, Puerto de la Luz),'' in the city of
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Las Palmas (, ; ), officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is a city and capital of Gran Canaria Gran Canaria (, ; ), also Grand Canary Island, is the third largest and second most populous island of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off th ...
; Arguineguín, which exports cement from a large factory; and Arinaga, located in the main industrial zone of Canaries and one of the major ones of Spain. The main passenger ports are the Port of La Luz, where Trasmediterránea operates a weekly ferry route to Cadiz on the Spanish mainland, and the Puerto de las Nieves, Port of Las Nieves, located in Agaete on the west side of the island, where Fred Olsen Express operates a catamaran ferry service to Santa Cruz de Tenerife.


Train

Plans for a Tren de Gran Canaria railway network linking the capital with the south have been approved by both the Cabildo insular, Gran Canaria Cabildo and the autonomous Canary Islands' Government, though the discussion with the central Spanish Government hinges now on budget. The planned railway line would run between Las Palmas and Meloneras, with the section in the capital running entirely underground as far as the suburb of Jinámar. The line is planned to have 11 stations, including an underground station at Gran Canaria Airport. The scheme was first announced in 2009, with a planned operational date in 2015. A public company called ''Ferrocarriles de Gran Canaria'' has been formed by the Cabildo's Gran Canaria Transport Authority. Plans were still being discussed in 2018.


Climate

According to the Köppen climate classification, Gran Canaria is considered to have a desert climate (Bwh) due to its severe lack of precipitation. Gran Canaria has consistent warm temperatures in spring, summer and autumn, and mild winters. Gran Canaria is noted for its rich variety of microclimates. Generally speaking though, the average daytime high ranges from in winter to in summer. Some cool nights occur in winter, but lows below are unknown near the coast. Inland the climate is still mild but mountainous areas see the occasional frost or snow. Annual rainfall averages , most of this falling in the cooler months, with July, August and September normally rainless. Rainfall is unevenly distributed through the island with some areas being much drier than others. Cloud cover and sunshine is often quite variable during the cooler months, and there can be several rather cloudy days at times in winter. Summers are generally quite sunny however, with the south of the island being most favoured.


Agriculture

Gran Canaria agriculture is unique among the Canaries islands in that it was traditionally dominated by plantations, with much of these being grains as well as sugarcane, rather than by stock-breeding.Cenobio de Valeron
section "''El yacimiento arqueologico''". On ''arqueologiacanaria.com''.
The caves of Valerón (a property of cultural interest in the "archaeological site" category) in the municipality of Santa María de Guía de Gran Canaria, Santa María de Guía bears testimony of it by being the largest pre-Hispanic collective granary of the Canaries.


Tourism

This island is called a "miniature continent" due to the different climates and variety of landscapes found, with long beaches and dunes of white sand, contrasting with green ravines and picturesque villages. A third of the island is under protection as a Man and the Biosphere Programme, Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The number of annual visitors was 3.6 million in 2014 (of which 450.000 Spaniards). Most of the tourists visit the southern part of the island. The north tends to be cooler, while the south is warmer and sunny. The east coast of the island is flat, dotted with beaches, while the western coast is rockier and mountainous. The island possesses 32 Natural Protected Spaces, notably the Rural Park of Nublo, The Doramas Jungle, the Azuaje Ravine, Tamadaba, Pino Santo, etc. In the south there is a large bird park, Palmitos Park, as well as many beach resort communities. Resorts are concentrated in the central eastern part of the southern coast in the Maspalomas area, which includes the towns of San Agustin, Las Palmas, San Agustín, Playa del Inglés and Meloneras. The Maspalomas Dunes are located between Playa del Inglés ("The Englishman's Beach") and the distinctive 19th century Maspalomas Lighthouse, Maspalomas lighthouse. Playa del Ingles is home to the Yumbo Centre, which was opened in 1982 and has almost 200 shops, including bars, restaurants, cafes, fashion boutiques, electronic outlets and jewellery stores. In Tarajalillo, an Aeroclub exists from where tourist flights can be taken over the island. Still further to the west along the southern shore, in the Municipality of Mogán, are the communities of Puerto Rico, Las Palmas, Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogán, a village referred to as "Little Venice" on account of its many canals. Other attractions include Cocodrilos Park, Roque Nublo (an 80 m monolith), Cenobio de Valerón with more than 350 storage cavities, Painted Cave, Galdar, Painted cave of Galdar the most important archaeological park in Canary Islands, or the botanical gardens ''Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo, Jardín Canario'' (in Tafira Alta) and ''Cactualdea'' (in La Aldea de San Nicolás). El Dedo de Dios, or "God's Finger", was a rocky spire jutting from the sea in Puerto de las Nieves, and was previously the signature attraction of the Canary Islands until it was destroyed by Tropical Storm Delta (2005), tropical storm Delta that crossed the archipelago in November 2005. Other well-known rock formations are El Cura (also known as El Fraile), The Frog (La Rana), Roque Bentayga, the Roque de Gando, and the Peñón Bermejo. Traditionally, the highest peak of the island has been considered to be the Pico de las Nieves, at ; however, Morro de la Agujereada is taller, at . The capital city is
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Las Palmas (, ; ), officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is a city and capital of Gran Canaria Gran Canaria (, ; ), also Grand Canary Island, is the third largest and second most populous island of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off th ...
. ''Las Canteras'' beach, a protected area and diving zone, lies in the heart of the city. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is also known for its annual ''Carnival, carnaval''. It was the first stop of Christopher Columbus' expedition on his way back from the Americas, a commemoration of which is the Hermitage of San Antonio Abad, where the navigator prayed, and the ''Casa de Colón''. Other attractions in the capital city include the ''Museo Canario'' (the most important archaeology museum in the archipelago), the cathedral and the ''Plaza del Espíritu Santo''. In Teror the shrine of ''Virgen del Pino'' ("Virgin of the Pine"), patron saint of Gran Canaria, can be found. Its feast is celebrated on September 8. The town of Agüimes, on the eastern part of the island, has been carefully restored and its town centre, centered on its old church and a peaceful square, now evokes the quiet living of a traditional Canarian town. The district also has some of the best preserved cave dwellings, in the protected area of the Guayadeque ravine, where even the church has been built into the mountainside and visitors can find a number of popular cave restaurants. The district also includes the most renowned scuba diving area on the island: the marine reserve at the ''playa de El Cabrón'' just outside the town of Arinaga. Other important towns are Telde, known among other things for their Surfing, surf schools in Salinetas, Vecindario (within the municipality of Santa Lucía de Tirajana) and Gáldar, that contains an important diving zone. In Arucas there is a Neogothic temple, popularly known as "Arucas' Cathedral", as well as a large fertile plain where bananas are grown. In Gáldar and its surroundings there is also a banana-growing plain and some remarkable archaeological remains,Interactive map of Heritage sites on Grand Canary island
. On ''estodotuyo.com'', site on Heritage assets by the council of Grand Canary.
such as the Painted Cave, Galdar, Painted cave of Galdar or the cenobio de Valerón's communal silos, ancient tombs (among which the necropolis of Maipés, Agaete, necropolis of Maipés), and the port of Sardina del Norte (one of the island's ports where, as in Las Palmas', Christopher Columbus used to get supplies for his ships). Heading west along the southern coast is the fishing city of Arguineguín in the Mogán, Las Palmas, Municipality of Mogán.


Natural symbols

The official natural symbols associated with Gran Canaria are ''Perro de Presa Canario, Canary Mastiff and ''Euphorbia canariensis'' (Cardón) File:Dogo Canario bearb.jpg, ''Perro de Presa Canario, Canary Mastiff'' File:Euphorbia canariensis (La Fajana) 11.jpg, ''Euphorbia canariensis''


Beaches

* Playa de Maspalomas * Playa Dedo de Dios * Playa de Güi Güi * Playa de Amadores * Playa de Tufia y Aguadulce * Playa de Tiritaña


Protected natural areas

Nearly half of the island territory — (42.7% of island) — is under protection from the Red Canaria de Espacios Naturales Protegidos (Canary Islands Network for Protected Natural Areas). Of the 146 protected sites under control of network in the Canary Islands archipelago, a total of 33 are located in Gran Canaria, the second most protected island in the group. There are seven different categories of protection: # Six nature reserves — El Brezal, Azuaje, Los Tilos de Moya, Los Marteles, Las Dunas de Maspalomas and Güigüi (total 7,153.1 ha) # Two integral nature reserves — Inagua and Barranco Oscuro (total 3,955,5 ha) # Two nature park, natural parks — Tamadaba and Pilancones (total 13,333 ha) # Two rural parks — Nublo and Doramas (total 29,893.4 ha) # Ten natural monuments — Amagro, Bandama, Montañón Negro, Roque de Aguayro, Tauro, Arinaga, Barranco de Guayadeque, Riscos de Tirajana, Roque Nublo and Barranco del Draguillo (total 5,264.9 ha) # Seven Protected area, protected landscapes — La Isleta (in the capital Las Palmas, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), Pino Santo, Tafira, Las Cumbres, Lomo Magullo, Fataga and Montaña de Agüimes (total 12,680.9 ha) # Four Site of Special Scientific Interest, sites of scientific interest — Jinámar, Tufia, Roque de Gando and Juncalillo del Sur (total 276.2 ha).


Science and technology

In the 1960s, Gran Canaria was selected as the location for one of the 14 ground stations in the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN) to support the NASA space program. Maspalomas Station, located in the south of the island, took part in a number of space missions including the Apollo 11 Moon landings and Skylab. Today it continues to support satellite communications as part of the ESA network.


Sports

The island is home to CB Gran Canaria – a basketball club playing in Liga ACB at the Gran Canaria Arena, with a capacity of 11,000. The island is also home to UD Las Palmas – a football club playing in Segunda División at the Estadio de Gran Canaria, with a capacity of 32,392.


See also

*List of free economic zones#Spain, Zona franca de las Palmas de Gran Canaria


Bibliography

*


References


External links


Gran Canaria Tourist Board official site
* * {{Authority control Gran Canaria, Biosphere reserves of Spain Fissure vents Islands of the Canary Islands Volcanoes of the Canary Islands