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Gran Canaria

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Geography

Gran Canaria lies about 210 km from the nearest point on the African coast and is about 1,250 km from Cadiz, the nearest European continental harbour; specifically, at 28 º latitude and 15 ° 35 ' longitude. Within the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria lies between Fuerteventura at 83 km to the east, and Tenerife located 62 km to the west

Of volcanic origin, in its 1,560 square kilometres and 236 kilometres of coastline Gran Canaria has examples of many of the varied landscape types in the archipelago. Due to this fact and the diversity of its climate, it is sometimes called a "miniature continent". You could say that the physical characteristic most emblematic of the island is its 'roundness', distorted by a small peninsula about 12 square kilometers located in the northeast (Isleta) coupled to the island by a sandy isthmus. The highest point is at the Pozo de Las Nieves, in the heart of Gran Canaria at 1,949 metres. Also of note are some other natural monuments such as Roque Nublo (1,813 meters) and Roque Bentayga. From these peaks down to the coast, the island is radially criss-crossed by deep ravines, which give it a very distinctive landscape.

On June 29th 2005, part of the island of Gran Canaria was declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco. The area covered by the reserve represents 46% of the island territory, and additionally another 100,458 hectares of sea area.

The Climate

With average annual temperatures ranging between 18º and 25ºC, Gran Canaria has moderate weather, like an all year round springtime, that is recognized by the international scientific community as one of the best in the world. An exhaustive study by the University of Syracuse has given reason for the American press (USA Today) to highlight Las Palmas as one of the cities with the best weather in the world. The miracle of this phenomenon occurs thanks to the trade winds, moist and fresh, from the Azores anticyclone.

However, as a result of the peculiar relief of the island, Gran Canaria has a wide variety of microclimates. While the weather is dry and sunny almost all year round in coastal areas, especially on the southern slope of the island,  in contrast at higher altitudes, the marine influence is smaller and the mountains encourage cloud formation, causing large thermal differences between the temperate zones or subtropical valleys, and the forests in higher areas, where the temperature can drop to 0 degrees. Sometimes you can be in the unusual position of being able to take only an hour's drive from swimming and sunbathing on the beach, to play in the snow on the peaks.

With regards to the temperature of sea water, it is equally warm, ranging between 18 degrees in the winter months and 22 degrees in the rest of the year. Along with the 2,700 hours of sunshine typically recorded in Gran Canaria during the year, this combination allows a visitor to make good use of the day, either on the beach, practising any sport, on a trip or other outdoor activities.

The most common mistake is to think that if the islands have a very warm winters, they would suffer from swelteringly hot summers. But nothing could be further from the truth; the summer in the Canaries is moderated by the trade winds that cool the archipelago, giving to the Islands mild pleasant summers, typically 24ºC.

Check the weather today in Gran Canaria: The weather channel

 

Political Organization and Administration

The Cabildo of Gran Canaria is the governing body of that island, and like all the Cabildos in the Islands, it was established under the Cabildos Act of 1912. It is a kind of self government and administration in the Canary Islands which, in addition to the functions of local government, provides services and expertise specific to the Canary Islands autonomous region. Since July 2007, the President of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria is D. Jose Miguel Perez Garcia from the Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) party. The island is divided into 21 municipalities:

  • Agaete
  • Agüimes
  • La Aldea de San Nicolás
  • Artenara
  • Arucas
  • Firgas
  • Gáldar
  • Ingenio
  • Mogán
  • Moya
  • Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  • San Bartolomé de Tirajana
  • Santa Brígida
  • Santa Lucía de Tirajana
  • Santa María de Guía de Gran Canaria
  • Tejeda
  • Telde
  • Teror
  • Valleseco
  • Valsequillo de Gran Canaria
  • Vega de San Mateo

Economy

At present the main economic engine of the island is tourism, and at the same time that has been the driving force behind the development of the construction industry. In parallel, agriculture has been contracting, and every day there are more difficulties for fruit and vegetable exporters (mainly tomatoes and bananas). Tomatoes are primarily cultivated in the south, where large landowners employ the existing manpower as sharecroppers (until a few decades ago social conflicts in this sector were relatively frequent), and bananas are grown in the North.

In the medianías (middle regions) there are rain-fed crops of cereals, legumes and potatoes, all of them being for domestic supply. The medianías crops have suffered major setbacks in recent decades. In Las Palmas, the La Luz harbour maintains its importance, given its size, traffic and amount of commercial activity is considered one of the most important ports in both Spain and the Atlantic Ocean.

The other main connections from the island to the outside world are the Las Nieves harbour (in the municipality of Agaete, an important channel of maritime communication between islands) and Gran Canaria Airport. This, formerly known as Gando airport, is located about 20 km from the city on the slopes east of the island, between the municipalities of Telde and Ingenio.

 

The Cabildo

The Cabildo of Gran Canaria is the governing body of the island. Like all Cabildos, it was established under the Cabildos Act of 1912. It is a kind of self government and administration for the Canary Islands which, in addition to the functions of local government, it provides services and expertise specific to the Canary Islands autonomous region. Its budget in 2008, was 635.264.993 €. Since July 2007, the President of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria is D. Jose Miguel Perez Garcia.

Seats of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria

Casa Palacio

Casa Palcio, the building that currently houses the headquarters of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, is located on Bravo Murillo Street in Las Palmas. Designed by Miguel Martin Fernandez de la Torre, it is the most representative building of his modernist style in the Canary Islands, with a clear influence of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. At the present time it is being extended.

Casa PalacioCasa PalacioThe first premises of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria were located in an office provided by the City of Las Palmas until in 1918, the Island Corporation rented a place located in the Espíritu Santo St for 300 pesetas a month (just under two euros). After occupying the former school of La Soledad, on Canalejas Street and other facilities in Luis Millares Street, in 1934 the Cabildo of Gran Canaria moved its offices to Juan de Quesada Street, in the building that was intended to house the High School. The building was subsequently transferred to the Army for a military hospital, and today it hosts the Rectorship of the University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

Since then, the Cabildo has leased the property in Triana 46, where the Institution stayed until it finally settled on Bravo Murillo Street in 1941. The building plot cost 188,744 pesetas, or about 1,100 euros, and the project was designed by Miguel Martin Fernandez de la Torre in 1932, although five years elapsed until first stone was laid. In 2005 work began on the restoration and enlargement of the interior of the Casa Palacio, based on a plan drawn up in 1994 by Spanish architect Alejandro de la Sota Martinez. It was necessary to clear out the building and other units located in other buildings in the same block, that were affected by the extension work, and they were transferred to other nearby buildings owned by the Corporation, primarily the multi-purpose building "Insular I" that had been purchased a few years earlier.

The project designed by Alejandro de la Sota follows the modernist style which Fernandez de la Torre gave to the current Casa Palacio. A southward extension of the current building is planned, occupying the upper half of the block with the construction of two new seven-storey buildings which will be lifted on a three-storey underground car park with capacity for 300 cars. Of the two new buildings which will be attached to the palace, the first, facing towards Bravo Murillo Street, is intended to accommodate cultural and diplomatic events. The second, facing towards Perez Galdos and Buenos Aires Street will be used for administrative purposes.

A further update of the original construction plan, ordered the construction into three plants, rather than the two originally planned, with an extra extension under the central square that is expected to be built with an exit onto Buenos Aires Street. 

Edificio CristalEdificio Cristal

Cristal building (Edificio Cristal)

Located at 3, Tomas Morales Street, It hosts the Public Works Service and Informatics. 

Building Insular I

The 'Insular 1' office building that the corporation acquired soon after completion of construction, under the mandate of Mary Eugenia Marquez Rodriguez, as an alternative to the proposed expansion and reform of the Casa Palacio which at that time it had chosen not to undertake, and that should serve to accommodate the various administrative services that were scattered throughout various parts of the city, and for those who had no accommodation in the grounds of the Casa Palacio. With the change of Government that occurred in 2003, the De La Sota project was resumed and finally it was decided to transfer the services of the Casa Palacio to this new building with the creation of a Central Office for Citizen Information, located on its ground floor. 

Building at 93, Triana St

Edificio Insular 1Edificio Insular 1This is a historic building in the characteristic style of the city, that until recently was the headquarters of the now defunct Central Bank. It is undergoing a process of reconstruction and restoration to use it for Offices of the Presidency. 

Other facilities

In addition to the above, the Cabildo has other sites hosting various services:

  • Edificios de Bravo Murillo 25 y Bravo Murillo 29-31
  • Edificio de Patrimonio Histórico (Bravo Murillo 33)
  • Edificio de Cano 24 (Librería del Cabildo y Servicio de Cultura)
  • Edificio Humiaga (Avda Primero de Mayo 39)
  • Espacio Joven 24<30 (en la antiguas dependencias de la Biblioteca Pública del Estado)
  • Granja Agrícola Experimental (en Cardones, Arucas)

Coat of arms and flag of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria

The Shield of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria is split down the middle. In the upper left quarter, on a field lies a golden castle, three dungeon battlements and towers, Mazon of sable and clear blue. In the upper right quarter of the arms, on a silver field is a rampant crowned lion, embellished with gold. In the bottom half, the third quarter of shield, is a naturally coloured palm frond, lodged in a rock, and lying two rampant dogs, faced. Bordered with ten silver swords, placed in pairs with blades crossed. At the top, a closed royal crown.

The colours yellow and blue in the flag used by the Cabildo are themselves characteristic of the island, in the form of two right angled triangles arranged in a diagonal, leaving the yellow towards the flagpole and blue outside. It has a 2x3 ratio, i.e. one and a half times longer than wide, and at its centre it bears the coat of arms.

Structure

Secretaries

  • Cultural and Historical Heritage
  • Economic Development, Public Works and Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Sports
  • Economy, Industry, Trade and Crafts
  • Education and youth
  • Employment and Local Development
  • Finance
  • Environment
  • Public Works, Infrastructure and Human Resources
  • Heritage
  • Social Policy and Medical Care
  • Territorial Policy
  • Presidency
  • Human Resources and Organization
  • Tourism, technological innovation and Foreign Trade (Secretary organizer of the event)
  • Housing, Architecture, Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries

Governing bodies

The governing bodies of the institutions are as follows:

  • Presidency
  • Plenary session
  • Governing Council
  • Reporting Commissions
  • Board of Spokespersons

Autonomous organisms

  • Island Waters' Council
  • Foundation for the Development of Ethnography and Canarian Crafts (FEDAC)
  • Institute of Social and Medical Care
  • Island Institute of Sports
  • Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria
  • Tourist Board of Gran Canaria
  • Valora Tax Management and Canary Islands Fair Institution (INFECAR)

También como Sociedades Anónimas el Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM) y la Sociedad de Promoción Económica de Gran Canaria (SPEGC)

 

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the island's capital and shares with St. Cruz de Tenerife the capitality of the Canary Islands. You can get extensive information on the city through the following links: