The streets of the historic center of La Laguna keep the memory of its more than 500 years of history, witnessing the evolution of the World Heritage city, a reflection of the changes brought about by the passage of time and hiding the secrets, legends and anecdotes of its history, customs and neighbors, and that the author Carlos García (1948) has collected in the book The old streets of La Laguna and photo album. The original work was published in 1994 and in this 2022 it will be reissued, by the La Laguna City Council and the Canarian Popular Culture Center, “completely renovated, literary chapters have been expanded and, above all, what it contributes is a album of old photographs of La Laguna, some unpublished”, explains its author.
The book will be presented tomorrow, at 7:00 p.m., at the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Tenerife, in La Laguna.
Thus, the first part of the work “is literary, with all the streets of the town of La Laguna and where the evolution is explained from the first knowledge we have, which is from 1514 with the first acts of the Cabildo, in which they appear, for the first time, the names of some streets”, indicates Carlos García, who was investigating in the Municipal Archive, the Archive of the House of Ossuna or the ULL Library to rescue the past and the stories of the streets of the historical complex.
“The first known map is that of Torriani from 1588, and the book shows that old plan and an updated one, and we see that they correspond absolutely to the same streets; in five centuries they have not changed -he explains-. It was a novel road structure in the 16th century, with horizontal and vertical streets, on a grid, and the origin of this primitive lagoon nucleus is maintained. And that layout was a novelty, in a city that was not walled, which was what was done in the 16th century, it was a city totally open to the countryside”.
The oldest streets in the city “are those that were created in Villa Arriba, in the part next to La Concepción, which was the first settlement that Fernández de Lugo built and is, furthermore, the only place where the streets are not laid out in cordel, they are motley, because they were public lands and people took and built. And they maintain quite old names, such as Calle del Adelantado, where it is said that the Adelantado had land there and built the Callejón de San José, Calle de la Cordera, Calle de la Encantada, Plaza de Santa María la Mayor or the old one…”.
Many of these first names given to the streets of La Laguna come from old residents of the area, from the crafts that were carried out in the environment or, “other times, due to a geographic or determining factor that identifies it, such as a tree or the water”, such as, for example, the current Viana street, which “was called Calle del Pino in the past, because there was a very large pine tree planted there”.
Some have kept their original names to this day, while many others have changed over the years, as is the case of the well-known Los Herradores street, named after the iron and forge professionals who worked there. , but “formerly it was called calle de los Oficios or calle de los Mercaderes and even calle de los Mesones. And it had the name of General Franco, but people never called it that, and later it became Calle de Alfonso XIII… But everyone knows it as Calle de los Herradores, and that’s how it stayed,” says the author.
In others, the circumstance occurs that everyone knows them and names them today by their old name, and not by the official one they have today, such as Calle la Carrera, which is actually Bishop Rey Redondo, “but no one calls it that. And its name comes from the fact that, until the 18th century and practically the beginning of the 19th, it was a dirt street where horse ring races were run during the festivities”, explains Carlos García. Or the popular Camino Largo, which is actually called Avenida de la Universidad, “and was named in honor of the University of San Fernando in the 18th century, but nobody calls it that.”
There are even a few streets of which, according to him, there was “no way to find out what the origin of its original name is, for example: Calle la Rosada, which is the current Ascanio y Nieves, and nobody can say where it comes from. . There is also no way of knowing where the old El Tambor street, now Bencomo, comes from, possibly because some military garrison passed by there to beat the drum, ”he relates.
All these stories about the streets of La Laguna are accompanied by an album with 58 old photographs, and Carlos García appreciates the donation that many collectors have made to make it up.
The book will be presented tomorrow, at 7:00 p.m., at the Laguna headquarters of the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Tenerife, in an act presided over by the mayor of La Laguna, Luis Yeray Gutiérrez, and in which the director of the entity, José Gómez Soliño, and the book will be presented by Juan Mario Troyano.
Carlos García is a doctor of Medicine and Surgery and a specialist in Traumatology and Orthopedics, as well as a researcher of the history of the Island. In this sense, he is the author of other publications such as Recuerdos de Bajamar (2021), Luis J. Duggi and Oria; Italian surname in the history of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and its genealogy (2016), The Duggi neighborhood: history and memories of the old Monturrio (2003) or The City. Historical and traditional stories of La Laguna (1996), among many others.