The capital of Tenerife is the second most populated city of the Canary Islands with more than 200,000 inhabitants. Its present importance comes from the development of its port and its commercial calling which made it progressively absorb the civic centres of La Laguna until it reached the status of capital at the beginning of the last century.
Its greatest development was originated by the decree of free ports in 1852 when the consequent intense commercial traffic contributed to the progress of a middle class intent on making the city grow.
Today, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a city with large landscaped areas which preserves the carm of the modernist architecture. Its treelined avenues, parks and squares are ideal for strolling because the green of Santa Cruz complements its peacefulness and the sunny climate which it enjoys all year.
For a few years the city has also had a maritime park designed by Cesar Manrique, where the old trade docks are used for recreation.
The most frequented place in Santa Cruz is "La Plaza de Espaņa" by the sea, where the building "Cabildo de Tenerife" stands. Castillo, the commercial street par excellance, of the city starts from "Plaza de la Candelaria" which is at the side. Behind it is the sizteenth century churchof "La Concepcion". Higher up stands the charming "Plaza del Principe", next to which is the eighteenth century "San Francisco" church and the convent which houses the Municipal Musseum of Fine Arts. Pilar street, where the eighteenth century church of the same name stands, starts from this square. This street leads to what is possibly the finest place in Santa Cruz, the park of "Garcia Sanabria" where lush trees from all ofer the world stand out from dense exotic vegetation.