Gran Canaria
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Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria
Collage Gran Canaria.jpg
Top left: Maspalomas Dunes, Top right: Alfredo Kraus Audiorium, Middle left: Parque rural del Nublo (Nublo Rural Park), Middle right: Matriz Santiago de Los Caballero Church, Bottom left: Arucas Church, Bottom right: Casa Museo del Tomas Morales (The House Museum of Thomas Morales)
Spain Canary Islands location map Gran Canaria.svg
Geography
LocationAtlantic Ocean
Coordinates27°58?N 15°36?W / 27.967°N 15.600°W / 27.967; -15.600Coordinates: 27°58?N 15°36?W / 27.967°N 15.600°W / 27.967; -15.600
Area1,560 km2 (600 sq mi)
Highest elevation1,949 m (6,394 ft)
Highest pointPico de Las Nieves
Spain
RegionMacaronesia
Autonomous CommunityCanary Islands
ProvinceLas Palmas
Largest settlementLas Palmas (pop. 383,308)
Demographics
Population846,717[1] (2018)
Pop. density543 /km2 (1,406 /sq mi)
Flag of Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria (, ;[2][3]Spanish pronunciation: [a? ka'na?ja] meaning "Great [Island] of Dogs") is the second most populous of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the Atlantic coast of Northwest Africa which is part of Spain. As of 2018 the island had a population of 846,717 that constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago.

Gran Canaria is located in the Atlantic Ocean about 150 kilometres (93 mi) off the northwestern coast of Africa and about 1,350 km (840 mi) from Europe.[4] With an area of 1,560 km2 (602 sq. mi)[5] and an altitude of 1,956 m (6,417 ft)[6] at the Pico de las Nieves, 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 after Tenerife and Mallorca.[7]

History

In Ancient History, Gran Canaria was populated by the North African Canarii, who may have arrived as early as 500 BC. The Canarii called the island Tamarán ("Land of the Brave").

In the 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 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 was founded on June 24, 1478, under the name "Real de Las Palmas", by Juan Rejón, head of the invading 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 community of the Canary Islands.

Geography

Topography of Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria 3D

Gran Canaria is located southeast of Tenerife and west of Fuerteventura. The island is of volcanic origin, mostly made of fissure vents. Gran Canaria's surface area is 1,560 km² and its maximum elevation is 1,949 metres (Pico de Las Nieves). It has a round shape, with a diameter of approximately 50 km.

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 1000 km3, 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.[8]

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 100 km3. 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.[8]

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 3500 years ago.[8]

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.[9]

Vegetation

Until the conquest, Gran Canaria had extensive forests, but then suffered extensive deforestation[10] as a result of continuous logging, land divisions and other intensive uses. This reduced the forest cover to just 56,000 hectares,[10] making the island the most deforested of the Canary Islands.[11] 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.[10]

Governance

Municipalities of Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is in the autonomous community of the Canary Islands (Islas Canarias). It lies within the Province of Las Palmas, a Spanish province which consists of the eastern part of the Canary Islands community. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the provincial capital, one of the two capitals of the Canary Islands along with Santa Cruz de Tenerife.[12]

The island of Gran Canaria is governed by the Cabildo insular de Gran Canaria.[13] Gran Canaria itself is divided into twenty-one smaller municipalities:[12]

Name Area
(km2)
Population
(2001)[14]
Population
(2011)[15]
Population
(2018)[16]
Agaete 45.50 5,202 5,735 5,573
Agüimes 79.28 20,124 29,641 31,152
Artenara 66.70 1,319 1,252 1,090
Arucas 33.01 32,466 36,771 37,691
Firgas 15.77 6,865 7,606 7,491
Gáldar 61.59 22,154 24,358 24,209
Ingenio 38.15 24,439 30,022 30,831
Mogán 172.44 12,444 22,847 19,657
Moya 31.87 8,137 8,043 7,728
La Aldea de San Nicolás 123.58 7,668 8,522 7,608
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 100.55 354,863 381,271 378,517
San Bartolomé de Tirajana 333.13 34,515 53,440 53,588
Santa Brígida 23.81 17,598 18,878 18,314
Santa Lucía de Tirajana 61.56 47,652 66,725 71,863
Santa María de Guía de Gran Canaria 42.59 13,893 14,149 13,924
Tejeda 103.30 2,400 2,136 1,921
Telde 102.43 87,949 101,080 102,424
Teror 25.70 12,042 12,857 12,449
Valleseco 22.11 3,949 3,896 3,784
Valsequillo de Gran Canaria 39.15 7,964 9,118 9,278
Vega de San Mateo 37.89 6,979 7,737 7,625
Totals 1,560.11 730,622 846,084 846,717

The island has a population of 846,717 with 378,628 (year 2018) of those in the capital city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife.[17]

Transportation

Roads

Autopistas in Gran Canaria provide rapid road transport around the coast
A Gran Canaria bus
Gran Canaria Airport
The Tenerife catamaran ferry

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. Dual carriageway is GC2, and GC31, GC4 and 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 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.[18] Bus tickets may be purchased with cash, and AUTGC also operates a contactless electronic ticket called the TransGC Card, which is valid across the whole network.[19]

Inter-urban bus services across the island are operated by the Global bus company.[20][21] 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).[22] Local bus services in Las Palmas are run by the municipal bus company, Guaguas Municipales de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.[23]

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.[24]

Sea ports

The most important ports in the island are the Port of Las Palmas (Puerto de la Luz), in the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; 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,[25] and the 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.[26]

Train

Plans for a Tren de Gran Canaria railway network linking the capital with the south have been approved by both the Gran Canaria Cabildo and the autonomous Canary Islands' Government, though the discussion with the central Spanish Government hinges now on budget. The planned 57 km 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.[27][28]

Climate

According to the Koppen Climate Classification, Gran Canaria is considered to have a desert climate (Bwh) due to its consistent warm temperatures and severe lack of precipitation. Gran Canaria is noted for its rich variety of microclimates. Generally speaking though, the average daytime high ranges from 20 °C (68 °F) in winter, to 26 °C (79 °F) in summer. Some cool nights occur in winter, but lows below 10 °C (50 °F) are unknown near the coast. Inland the climate is still mild but mountainous areas see the occasional frost or snow. Annual rainfall averages 228 mm (9.0 in), 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.

Climate data for Gran Canaria Airport (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 20.8
(69.4)
21.2
(70.2)
22.3
(72.1)
22.6
(72.7)
23.6
(74.5)
25.3
(77.5)
26.9
(80.4)
27.5
(81.5)
27.2
(81.0)
26.2
(79.2)
24.2
(75.6)
22.2
(72.0)
24.2
(75.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.9
(64.2)
18.2
(64.8)
19.0
(66.2)
19.4
(66.9)
20.4
(68.7)
22.2
(72.0)
23.8
(74.8)
24.6
(76.3)
24.3
(75.7)
23.1
(73.6)
21.2
(70.2)
19.2
(66.6)
21.2
(70.2)
Average low °C (°F) 15.0
(59.0)
15.0
(59.0)
15.7
(60.3)
16.2
(61.2)
17.3
(63.1)
19.2
(66.6)
20.8
(69.4)
21.6
(70.9)
21.4
(70.5)
20.1
(68.2)
18.1
(64.6)
16.2
(61.2)
18.2
(64.8)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 25
(1.0)
24
(0.9)
13
(0.5)
6
(0.2)
1
(0.0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
9
(0.4)
16
(0.6)
22
(0.9)
31
(1.2)
151
(5.9)
Average precipitation days 3 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 4 5 21
Mean monthly sunshine hours 184 191 229 228 272 284 308 300 241 220 185 179 2,821
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología ,[29]Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[30]

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.[31] The caves of Valerón (a property of cultural interest in the "archaeological site" category) in the municipality of Santa María de Guía bears testimony of it by being the largest pre-Hispanic collective granary of the Canaries.

Tourism

Maspalomas Lighthouse at the southern end of the island.
Roque Nublo in the interior of the island

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.[32] A third of the island is under protection as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

The number of annual visitors was 3.6 million in 2014 (of which 450.000 Spaniards).[33] 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,[34] 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 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. Playa del Ingles is home to the Yumbo Centre,[35] 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 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 of Galdar the most important archaeological park in Canary Islands, or the botanical gardens 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 that crossed the archipelago on November 2005.[36]

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. The highest peak of the island is the Pico de las Nieves, at 1,950 metres (6,400 ft).

The capital city is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. 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 carnaval. It was the first stop of Christopher Columbus' expedition on his way back from the Americas,[37] 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 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,[38] such as the Painted cave of Galdar or the cenobio de Valerón's communal silos, ancient tombs (among which the 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 Municipality of Mogán.

Natural symbols

The official natural symbols associated with Gran Canaria are Canis lupus familiaris (Canary Mastiff) and Euphorbia canariensis (Cardón)[39]

Protected natural areas

The "Dunas de Maspalomas", in southern Gran Canaria

Nearly half of the island territory -- 667 km² (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,[40] a total of 33 are located in Gran Canaria, the second most protected island in the group. [41] There are seven different categories of protection:

  1. Six nature reserves -- El Brezal, Azuaje, Los Tilos de Moya, Los Marteles, Las Dunas de Maspalomas and Güigüi (total 7,153.1 ha)
  2. Two integral nature reserves -- Inagua and Barranco Oscuro (total 3,955,5 ha)
  3. Two natural parks -- Tamadaba and Pilancones (total 13,333 ha)
  4. Two rural parks -- Nublo and Doramas (total 29,893.4 ha)
  5. 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)
  6. Seven protected landscapes -- La Isleta (in the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), Pino Santo, Tafira, Las Cumbres, Lomo Magullo, Fataga and Montaña de Agüimes (total 12,680.9 ha)
  7. Four sites of scientific interest -- Jinámar, Tufia, Roque de Gando and Juncalillo del Sur (total 276.2 ha).[34]

Science and technology

Gran Canaria space tracking station

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.[42]

Sports

2014 game between Herbalife Gran Canaria and Unicaja.

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

Bibliography

  • Andrews, Sarah; Quintero, Josephine (2007). Canary Islands. Lonely Planet. ISBN 978-1741045956.

References

  1. ^ Population referred to the January 1, 2018 Archived 1 January 2019 at boe.es [Error: unknown archive URL]
  2. ^ Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
  3. ^ Roach, Peter (2011). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-15253-2.
  4. ^ Situación y Clima. Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Archived 2010-06-29 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ ISTAC: Estadísticas de la Comunidad Autónoma de Canarias (Statistics for the Canaries) on gobiernodecanarias.org.
  6. ^ Geography and toponymy data Archived 2016-10-06 at the Wayback Machine on ign.es].
  7. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF). 29 December 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Araña, V and Carracedo, J.C: Canarian Volcanoes, Volume 3: Gran Canaria, pp. 8, 24. Editorial Rueda, Madrid, 1978.
  9. ^ Oscillations of up to 400 metres 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 (130m above current sea level) while subaerial materials have been extracted from a well at 230m 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.
  10. ^ a b c Reforestación de las cumbres de Gran Canaria
  11. ^ "Con lo que cuesta un Jumbo se puede reforestar toda Gran Canaria"
  12. ^ a b "Government of Gran Canaria". www.spain-grancanaria.com. Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ "Historia del Cabildo - Cabildo de Gran Canaria". cabildo.grancanaria.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ Census at 1 November 2001: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Madrid.
  15. ^ Census at 1 November 2011: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Madrid.
  16. ^ Estimate at 1 January 2018: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Madrid.
  17. ^ Population referred to the January 1, 2018 Archived 1 January 2019 at boe.es [Error: unknown archive URL]
  18. ^ "Intercambiadores y Paradas Preferentes | Autoridad Única del Transporte de Gran Canaria". www.autgc.org (in Spanish). Autoridad Única del Transporte de Gran Canaria.
  19. ^ "Tarjeta TransGC". www.autgc.org (in Spanish). Autoridad Única del Transporte de Gran Canaria. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ "Gran Canaria - Global SU". Global SU. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ "Líneas y Horarios". Global SU (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ "La Empresa: Global". Global SU (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ "Guaguas Municipales | Quiénes somos". Guaguas Municipales (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ "Entrada en los aeropuertos canarios según islas". Archived from the original on 13 November 2010.
  25. ^ "Cadiz to Las Palmas ferry tickets, compare times and prices". www.directferries.co.uk. Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ "Agaete to Santa Cruz de Tenerife ferry tickets, compare times and prices". www.directferries.co.uk. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ "Gran Canaria train details announced - Gran Canaria - Gran Canaria - ISLANDCONNECTIONS.EU". Island Connections. Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ "Estado y Cabildo pactan cerrar los proyectos del tren en 2018". www.canarias7.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018.
  29. ^ "Standard Climate Values. Gran Canaria Aeropuerto".
  30. ^ "Guía resumida del clima en España (1981-2010)". Archived from the original on 2012-11-18.
  31. ^ Cenobio de Valeron, section "El yacimiento arqueologico". On arqueologiacanaria.com.
  32. ^ Gran Canaria - Official Canary Islands Tourism
  33. ^ "Situation Of The Tourism Sector, Year Ending 2014". The Official Gran Canaria Tourist Website. Cabildo de Gran Canaria. Retrieved 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Espacios Naturales Protegidos de Gran Canaria Font: Gobierno de Canarias". Archived from the original on 2007-03-23. Retrieved .
  35. ^ http://yumbocentrum.com/home/
  36. ^ BBC NEWS - Tropical Storm Delta batters Canaries.
  37. ^ Andrews & Quintero 2007, p. 29.
  38. ^ Interactive map of Heritage sites on Grand Canary island. On estodotuyo.com, site on Heritage assets by the council of Grand Canary.
  39. ^ Ley 7/1991, de 30 de abril, de símbolos de la naturaleza para las Islas Canarias
  40. ^ Red Canaria de Espacios Naturales Protegidos Archived 2016-11-21 at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ "Relación de los Espacios Naturales protegidos de Gran Canaria". Archived from the original on 2007-03-23. Retrieved .
  42. ^ "Maspalomas station". European Space Agency. Archived from the original on 8 February 2019. Retrieved 2019.

External links


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