Santa Cruz is located in northeast quadrant of Tenerife, about 210 kilometres off the northwestern coast of Africa within the Atlantic Ocean. The distance to the nearest point of mainland Spain is about 1,300 kilometres. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands, until 1927 when a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains at present. The port is of great importance and is the communications hub between Europe, Africa and Americas, with cruise ships arriving from many nations. The city is the focus for domestic and inter-island communications in the Canary Islands.
The city is home to the Parliament of the Canary Islands, the Canarian Ministry of the Presidency, one half of the Ministries and Boards of the Canarian Government,, the Tenerife Provincial Courts and two courts of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands. There are several faculties of the La Laguna University in Santa Cruz, including the Fine Arts School and the Naval Sciences Faculty. Its harbour is one of Spain's busiest; it comprises three sectors. It is important for commercial and passenger traffic, as well as for being a major stopover for cruisers en route from Europe to the Caribbean. The city also has one of the world's largest carnivals. The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife now aspires to become a World Heritage Site, and is the most important of Spain and the second largest in the world.
The main landmarks of the city include the Auditorio de Tenerife, the Santa Cruz Towers and the Iglesia de la Concepción. Santa Cruz de Tenerife hosts the first headquarters of the Center UNESCO in the Canary Islands. In recent years the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has seen the construction of a significant number of modern structures and the city's skyline is the sixth in height across the country, only behind Madrid, Benidorm, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao.
In 2012, the British newspaper The Guardian included Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the list of the five best places in the world to live.
The area where Santa Cruz currently lies belonged to Menceyato Guanche Anaga, which was the most easterly of the island. The city that is now Santa Cruz had a few names throughout its history: Añazo (Guanche name), Puerto de Santiago Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Santiago de Tenerife, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (current), which means: "holy cross of Tenerife," in memory of the foundation of the city, when a Christian cross was planted in the place that is now the center of town.
The area on which now stands the city and the municipality of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has been the subject of human occupation since the time of the Guanches, approximately 2000 years ago, as attested by the archaeological sites found. The area was known to the Guanches, the first inhabitants of the island, as Añazo. The famous Mummy of San Andrés is one of the most important archaeological remains of the aboriginal past of the region. Besides caves with some remains of mummified animals and stones with engravings ruprestres. This area belonged to the Menceyato de Anaga (aboriginal Guanche kingdom of Anaga), one of nine in which the island was divided.
Later, it became one of the most important ports of the Atlantic and the Canary Islands, a status it retains to this day. This former fishermen's village rose to prominence after a Volcano destroyed the port of Garachico in the 18th century. Santa Cruz became the major port on the Island. It first won its independence from La Laguna and, in the 19th century, was awarded the status of Capital of the Province of Canary Islands by King Ferdinand VII.
Between 1833 and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands. In 1927 a Royal decree ordered that the status of capital city of the Canary Islands would be shared with Las Palmas in Gran Canaria. This arrangement remains in place today.
In recent years, it has become clear that there exists a de facto union with neighbouring city San Cristóbal de La Laguna (141,627 inhabitants as in 2005 census) due to the rapid population growth and reduction in undeveloped space between the cities, as their suburbs merged, forming a metropolitan area with 420,198 inhabitants (including the nearby municipalities of Tegueste, Candelaria and El Rosario). Regarding this situation, the mayor of Santa Cruz, Miguel Zerolo Aguilar and his La Laguna counterpart, Ana María Oramas Moro, both belonging to the Canarian Coalition, stated several times to local media that they shared a willingness to proceed to a full political union between their municipalities, even though the decision was postponed to a date after the local elections in 2007. As of 2012 the merger is no longer part of the political agenda.
Santa Cruz is divided administratively into five districts, which in turn are subdivided into districts, not necessarily consistent with the traditional neighborhoods.
In 1990, the population peaked above the 200,000 mark. Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna form a continuous urban area, with a combined population of over 380,000 inhabitants.
Ethnically, the population is mainly from the Spanish Peninsula, primarily from Málaga and Granada, with some mix of the island's original inhabitants, the Guanches. There has been some Latin American immigration (especially from Cuba and Venezuela) as well as from both Northern and Sub-Sahara Africa. There are also important historical minorities such as Indians (Sindhi), Koreans (see Koreans in Spain) and, more recently, Russians. The majority of the population professes the Catholic religion, but there are also small communities of Hindus and Muslims. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, crime has decreased in recent years and the city has gained a reputation for tolerance among its inhabitants. In fact, Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the first city of the Canary Islands to display the rainbow flag alongside the flag of the City Council, in June 2008.
The Santa Cruz de Tenerife-La Laguna Metropolitan Area forms the second largest city and metropolitan area of the European Union outside Europe. According to data provided by the Canary Islands Government and Cabildo de Tenerife the metropolitan area of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is composed of the municipalities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, San Cristobal de La Laguna, El Rosario and Tegueste with a population of 404,913 inhabitants in 2008, 322.13 km2, and a population density of 1,156.33 inhabitants/km2.
According to AUDES5 this conurbation also comprises the municipalities of Tacoronte and El Sauzal, bringing the total population of the urban population would reach 581.947 (2008).
The cities of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal de La Laguna and urban are physically linked, so that together have a population of over 382,331 inhabitants, making them the largest urban area in the Canaries (independent of municipal lines).
As the centre of the Tenerife Metropolitan Area, Santa Cruz is the hub for the island's motorway network. The 85 km. long Autopista TF-1 links the south of the island, including Playa de las Américas and other southern resorts and towns, with its capital. The motorway itself starts near the Auditorio and gives access to Santa Cruz and La Laguna by three different routes.
Autopista TF-5 links Santa Cruz with the Puerto de la Cruz, La Orotava and the northern side of the island, passing right through La Laguna before entering Santa Cruz.
The Santa Cruz harbour is one of the busiest in Spain; three quays host regular ferries, fast ferries, cruise ships and merchant ships.
Tenerife North Airport, formerly Los Rodeos Airport, is adjacent to Autopista TF-5 on the western outskirts of the city.
The mostly tourist Tenerife South Airport, formerly Reina Sofia Airport, ranks 7th in Spain and is located next to the Autopista TF-1, 75 km. south of Santa Cruz. There are plans to link this airport to the capital with a railway network.
The Intercambiador public transport/mass transit terminal is in the Avenida 3 de Mayo, and is the hub for all TITSA bus lines, the new Tenerife Tram service, and is a major car-parking area.
The first tram line (opened in 2007) line 1, starts at the Intercambiador, and ends at La Laguna's Avenida Trinidad, with a planned extension to Tenerife North Airport A second line between La Cuesta and Tíncer opened in 2009 (connecting with Line 1 at Hospital Universitario and El Cardonal). Main article Tenerife Tram.
The area of Cabo-Llanos (south of downtown) is the location for the new expansion of the city. This place is undergoing a major boom builder who has been nicknamed "Manhattanization", where are tall, modern buildings and street layout imitates American cities.
The economy of Santa Cruz relies mainly on services. Trade, tourism, import-export, the seaport and the presence of the major political and financial institutions, as well as the most important companies, guarantee a strong economic activity and development. The building sector is important, while industry, apart from the oil refinery and food processing, is relatively minor. Santa Cruz has regenerated many areas of the city and modernised its infrastructure, built brand new areas, malls, high buildings and some charismatic structures, such as Calatrava's Auditorio or the Congress Hall, César Manrique's Marina and the not-yet-completed Óscar Domínguez Museum of Modern Art and Culture (IODACC) and the new Plaza de España layout, both by Basel-based Pritzker Prize winner studio Herzog & de Meuron. Work to renew the man-made Las Teresitas Beach is ongoing under the direction of French architect Dominique Perrault.
The city contains many pieces of sculpture, as well as the Exhibition of Outdoor Sculpture in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Situated along the Ramblas and the Parque Garcia Sanabria, the exhibition contains works by artists such as Henry Moore, Andreu Alfaro, Martin Chirino, Joan Miró and Óscar Domínguez, among others.
Santa Cruz has not been characterized by an intense night life, in contrast to the nearby university town of La Laguna. Nevertheless, there are several clubs and pubs spread across the city. The best known are in the Parque Marítimo César Manrique, 3 May Avenue and back, and in La Noria street Residencial Anaga. Moreover, in the area of Industrial Mayorazgo, three new clubs have opened. There are also pubs that have survived without belonging to a particular location for leisure, as the platform, near the Bullring, which opened its doors in 1991.
It has recently gained importance as a leisure street Antonio Dominguez Alfonso (popularly known as Calle La Noria) and adjacent in the vicinity of the Church of the Conception. After several years of neglect, all the houses in this area has been recovered by the local hotel as tapas, light dinner and drinks. This street also hosts the headquarters of several murgas, music groups linked to Carnival, and independent organ of Events and Recreation.
Popularly known as the Avenida de Anaga (as known to all roads adjacent to the port) is in his section of Avenida Francisco la Roche a classic dinner and drinks first. During the 90s was the nerve center of nightlife, the best known local focus of the city. Although many of them closed down because of licenses and noise, attempt to regain its glory today. To that end, the City will undertake various initiatives through 2009.
In 2007, as decided by the City Council and managed by the Society for Development, is set in motion an ambitious plan for revitalization of the city under the brand name "Santa Cruz + Viva ', in accordance with Cabildo Insular de Tenerife and Government of the Canary Islands.
In Santa Cruz de Tenerife have drafted the three provincial newspapers (Diario de Avisos, La Opinión de Tenerife and El Día), as well as editors of newspapers regional La Gaceta de Canarias. Also located in the city the headquarters of various TV channels, most of which broadcast on the island: Spanish Television in the Canary Islands, Television Canaria, Antena 3 TV Canary Islands, Television Day, Canal 7 Atlantic, Channel 4 Tenerife, Channel 8, etc. Most radio stations are also located in the city. Radio Club Tenerife (Cadena SER), RNE, Teide Radio-Onda Cero, Radio Day, Radio ECCA etc.. In the city is the headquarters of the TV Canaria.
Due to the strategic location of Tenerife on the route between the Mediterranean and the Americas, it was attacked a number of times by the English and the Dutch. In particular, Santa Cruz Bay was the scene of two notable naval engagements involving two of the most famous British admirals.
In 1656, Admiral Robert Blake totally destroyed a Spanish silver fleet of 16 ships for the loss of none of his own, despite being under fire from shore batteries and attacking and withdrawing on the tide. 50 years later, the British under John Jennings were defeated when they attacked the island on 6 November 1706 during the War of the Spanish Succession.
In 1797 Admiral Horatio Nelson met with bloody defeat in an attempt to storm the harbour. It was at this battle that Nelson lost his right arm having been hit before he had stepped off the ship's boat. It was on Santiago's day and that is the reason for having Santiago's sword cutting the lion's head as a symbol of the British defeat.
The seal of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has the characteristic features of the Loyal, Noble, Invicta and very beneficial Town, Port and Plaza de Santa Cruz de Santiago de Tenerife. Curiously, it is not square or shield-shaped, but oval. In a blue background with anchors and castles have a green cross, the symbol of the Foundation Cross, which gave the city its name. Behind the cross is a sword of Santiago in red, reminiscent of the day in which the city of Santiago defeated Horatio Nelson. Under this sword are three lion heads facing right (the shield), which symbolizes the victories of the city over Nelson's English privateers, Blake and Jennings. It has castles, anchors and an island of silver. Also holds the Medal of Charity and the Crown. The crown of laurel and olive trees surrounding the shield is the symbol of victory for the city to each and every one of the attacks.
The flag of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is all white with the municipal shield in the center. Granted by Royal Warrant of King Charles IV of 28 August 1803. On a white cloth, coat of arms of the city. The white, the characteristic of the Bourbon dynasty, refers to fidelity to the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Royal House of Spain.
The Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a fishing port, commercial, passenger and sports from the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, capital of the island, located in the Atlantic Ocean. It is managed by the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
It is the first fishing port in the Canary Islands with approximately 7,500 tons of fish caught, according to the Statistical Yearbook of the State Ports 2006 (the latest of which is changing). Following this report is the largest port number of passengers recorded.
Santa Cruz has a tropical semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSh), with less precipitation in the summer than in the winter. Its average annual temperature is 25 °C (77 °F) during the day and 18 °C (64 °F) at night. In the coolest month – January, the typical day temperature ranges from 19–23 °C (66–73 °F), to around 15–16 °C (59–61 °F) at night, the average sea temperature is 20 °C (68 °F). In the warmest month, August, the typical day temperature ranges from 26–32 °C (79–90 °F), to above 21 °C (70 °F) at night, whilst the average sea temperature is 23–24 °C (73–75 °F).
Sunshine hours average at 2,887 per year, from 168 in December and to 337 in July and August. Precipitation per year is only 226 millimetres (8.9 in), concentrated heavily between November and March: May to September are normally mostly dry. Precipitation patterns closely resemble those of the mediterranean climates found in mainland Spain and up the hill in La Laguna, but generally with less precipitation during winter months.
During the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, thousands of people take to the streets each year for over a week. On 18 January 1980 it was declared a Fiesta of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary of State for Tourism, and is one of the world's largest carnivals. At present, the Carnival of Santa Cruz hopes to become a World Heritage Site.
Santa Cruz is popular for its wide commercial offerings, including zona Centro (Central part) – Pedestrian calle Castillo, San José, del Pilar, Viera y Clavijo Zona Rambla (Rambla area) or Rambla de Pulido, calle Ramón y Cajal, and the big shopping centres and department stores in Avenida de 3 Mayo, plus the big malls in Añaza on the southern suburbs. The most upmarket and high street shopping is located along Calle del Pilar and nearby Parque Bulevar Shopping Centre, where many designer shops can be found. International and local brands of shops and restaurants, such as Zara, Mango, H&M, El Corte Inglés, IKEA, C&A, McDonald's and Burger King are much present on the island. Not only the wide range of shops makes the city attractive but the lower prices found in many items, such as tobacco, alcohol, electronic devices, beauty products, sunglasses or even food or coffee. They are indeed much lower than in most cities of Western Europe including Spain, due to the very special and much lighter taxation on goods enjoyed on the Canary Islands.
Honours: In 1991, Argentine Jorge Valdano took charge of the club as manager, and would help rob former side Real Madrid of two consecutive league titles in the last round, to the benefit of FC Barcelona; in the first season, the Canary Islands outfit barely avoided relegation, but would finish in a best-ever fifth position in the following year, eventually reaching the round of 16 in the subsequent UEFA Cup, losing to Juventus 2–4 on aggregate. CF Tenerife has finished in fifth position in La Liga on two occasions, in 1992–93 and 1995–96. It is the only Canary team that has played a European competition.
The consulates located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife are: