Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman - History and Facts | History Hit

Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman

San Cristobal de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain

Image Credit: Shuttershock

About Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman

Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman is a Catholic Church based in the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna in Tenerife, Spain. Though the church dates mostly to the 17th century, there are elements dating back to as early as the 16th century alongside eclectic modern art and architecture from as recently as the 20th. 

History of Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman

Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman is situated in Plaza Santo Domingo, the original nucleus of the town, and is the oldest church in Benalmadena. It is thought to have been built on the site of a former chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, built in 1527, and close to where the old defensive wall was located. The site was originally home to a Dominican order, with the monastery being constructed in 1522. 

In 1612, a Chair of Theology was created, which heightened the importance and prominence of the monastery, which also came to house a public library. The monastery was therefore expanded in 1649, but was sadly destroyed by fire in 1775. The building which now stands is the refurbished church, with religious altarpieces dating from the late 17th century sharing its walls with more modern pieces from just a few decades ago. 

The church is the final resting place of a number of interesting figures. One of these is the famous pirate Amara Pargo, who was a patron of the church, donating several works of art such as the famous 18th century silver Jesus throne. His marble headstone is located right at the entrance of the church, and has his family crest inscribed upon it, as well as the pirate symbol of the skull and crossbones. 

The church has undergone several expansions and renovations, the latest being in 1998. Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman and the former convent are of cultural interest within the Canary Islands, and were awarded protected monument status in 1986.

Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman today

Today, visitors can enjoy a historically and culturally fascinating blend of artwork and architecture within the church. On the main altar stands the chapel of the Our Lady of the Rosary, which was possibly brought to Tenerife by Dominican friar Pedro de Santa Maria de Ulloa. Similarly, the entire walls of the temple are covered in frescoes and wall paintings by Mariano de Cossio (1880-1960). These paintings represent religious themes and the triumph of the Battle of Lepanto. The church also boasts a bulrush belfry with three bells and a clock. 

The small square where the church is situated also houses a monument to Santo Domingo de Guzman, who was canonised in the early 13th century and was the founder of the Order of Friars Preachers, one of the four great mendicant orders of the Roman Catholic Church. His saint’s feast day is celebrated on 8 August.

In addition to the beauty of the building itself, the church grounds enjoy panoramic views of the coast. On a clear day, the coastline of North Africa is visible on the horizon. The area also boasts the impressive Muro Gardens, designed by Cesea Manrique, known as the ‘Man Who Made Lanzarote.’

Getting to Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman

From the centre of San Cristobal de La Laguna, there are regular buses – the 15, 103, 105, and 108 – that take around 20 minutes to reach the church. It is also a 13 minute drive along the TF-5 main road to reach the same area. More broadly, flights from London to Tenerife take around seven hours, and there is a smaller airport on Aeropuerto de Tenerife Norte which is very close to the church.