Two cities, the island capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife and La Laguna, named a World Heritage Site by Unesco, established to create a perimeter population that sociologists have named the "Metropolitan Area"of Tenerife. Between the two cities there is no urban discontinuity, everyday life only being unbound administratively. A modern tram enables thousands of passengers to this urban area at any hour, it has much to show visitors who come to the island. Many of our great events originated in these two cities, that give shape to our island social life.
Like those carnival fiestas that characterise our capital, in which the quick parade of masks, laughter and noise changes the scene every minute, the city has also recently made its own daily transformation. The melancholy history of Santa Cruz has been seen, in the last decades, to be shaken by the bustle of cranes and the vibrations of drills, which has transformed squares and streets and colossal new buildings have been built: The city has opened up a dizzying path into modernity. It has made an enormous effort to understand the needs of the city, in redefining urban concepts and use of public areas, to extend their offers and facilities for communication creating new car parks, roads and public transport networks, to curb damage from disordered growth. The city has hastily escaped from its past and opens up to the future like a spring flower.
This young and exciting capital of the island of Tenerife has now become more tempting, more arrogant and more in accord with new times as well as more cosmopolitan than ever. It is visited by multitudes of tourists who come on the motorways from hotels in the extremes of our island, both south and north. But also on enormous cruise ships crowded in the harbour. The city rises from between the bay of the same name and a mass of mountains (Anaga), expanding swiftly in an amphitheatre from the low coast until the high peak. It is a place with a perfect climate; Santa Cruz is situated on the Northeast of the island, registering a pleasant average ly temperature of 21°.
With human movement similar to those shopping streets in major European cities, a walk round Santa Cruz presents visitors with endless surprises, an historical area with hundred year old houses torn from the passage of time, modern shops, elegant shopping centres, bars with tables bars on the street, restaurants of various categories (they all have complete menu's at accessible prices), rest areas and, above all, a friendly atmosphere and service that makes foreigners feel at home. Santa Cruz is a city that is pleased to receive tourists, and any request for information is quickly and pleasantly resolved, both at information points built for the purpose or by passers by.
Santa Cruz is cosmopolitan in its own way. By day it bustles with international life, but still far from the depth of night, it goes back to being a peaceful and silent city resting in the past, with peace-loving inhabitants, with a sense of civic value that places value on mutual respect between city dwellers. The thirty districts that make up the capital are immaculate and well cared for, in them the people have made a collective effort so that the city can be intensely experienced from outside, but warm and intimate inside, in homes. The schools are examples of its painstaking culture, there are celebrated meeting places like the Circle of Fine Arts Theatre, the Tenerife Royal Nautical Club, the Salons of the Central Tenerife Casino, (founded in 1840 and Gold Medal of the island), the Circle of Fine Arts, Reading Circle, Chamber of Commerce, professional associations etc., etc., all of these effective antidotes against monotony, arising from a city that although likes to sleep, does not know boredom neither rushing or stress and who knows how to organise great social meetings. The city of Santa Cruz invites a leisurely stroll through the ramblas where you can enjoy pure art, some Chillida sculptures, another from Henry Moore, and another from Martin Chirino. These sculptures can be found in the main Rambla, where you have to walk among jacarandas and flame trees, a pedestrian area sheltered by the trees. The García Sanabria Park is a village of well known artists and it has a flower clock which has been mentioned for years as a meeting point, thanks to the open air cafés that are beside it.
The museums are separate chapters: well worth seeing is the museum of nature and man, the fine arts museum, the TEA (Tenerife Area of Art, a spectacular building that concentrates the best contemporary art and whose construction was due to swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron). The colossal Tenerife Auditorium, work of reputed architect Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the cover of the Athens Olympic Stadium, it has become an architectural emblem of the ultra modern era for the capital. And for assemblies and expositions the International Centre of Fairs and Congress is available.
In the capital, some of our best chefs have come together to create restaurants and publicise the most succulent dishes from our traditional canarian cuisine in adorable corners, or the latest creations from avantgarde cuisine in sophisticated versions of ultramodern interiors. several of our chefs, the most famous, appear on these pages.
Today in Santa Cruz the majority of tourists get around by our excellent network of taxis that offer diligent and cordial service 24 hours a day, on the urban buses "guaguas", whose network covers every corner of the island. Also, since a short time ago, on the English double-decker buses. It is our modern trams "TRANVIA" that links the capital with the historical city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, the other half of the METROPOLITAN AREA.