There have been many setbacks that the work of the Palace of Letter, the first BIC that Santa Cruz had, to reach its reopening as a tourist information point. Yesterday, the mayor of the capital, José Manuel Bermúdez, inaugurated the first floor of this mansion, which the Carta family turned into a Palace, and to which the renovation has returned the splendor lost in previous interventions.
The work becomes the first to be completed, as the councilor recalled, of all those that are underway to rehabilitate the municipal heritage. The rest of the intervention, that of the upper floors, now begins its path, as Bermúdez advanced yesterday, since the start of the procedures for the drafting of the project has already been commissioned, as well as the possible uses, always with the idea of this building being the Santa Cruz History Museum.
The cost of this first phase has been 1.2 million, and, according to the mayor of Infrastructures, Dámaso Arteaga, the first estimates for this second phase are just over three million. It will be in this intervention when the placement of the duplicate of what was the original door of the Palacio de Carta is addressed, the cost of which could exceed 100,000 euros.
Also in this phase, as explained by one of the architects responsible for the rehabilitation, Fernando Arocha, the intention is to make the cistern discovered under the main patio during the work visitable. “We found it full of rubble. We took them all out, we cleaned them and we believe that the arches that support it deserve to be able to be visited”, he explained. “We are in negotiations with Historical Heritage -he continued- to see if we can make a door in one of the side walls of the ground floor so that it can be accessed.” Now when lifting a tile from the main patio you can see the cistern. The architect revealed that, given the arrangement of the pillars that support the main patio, leaning on the cistern, “it makes us think that it was there before the Palace was built and that the Carta family decided to leave it.”
And it is that the recovery of a ground floor that connects with the old San José street, where there was originally a second entrance, is another of the milestones of this work. Thus, a second interior patio has been enabled, once the cover that had been placed by the bank that used the Palacio de Carta as its headquarters had been removed. A small interior garden and the elimination of the skylight that was on the roof make the main courtyard even more valuable, as Arocha indicated. One of the outstanding characteristics is that, as they are open patios, it has been guaranteed that when it rains, the water is correctly redirected to the installed rainwater systems.
As a preview of the future museum, one of the two exhibition halls that the property has has been conditioned to learn about the history of the city in a very reduced way. The architect Carlos Pallés has been in charge of summarizing five centuries of history on different panels, as well as through videos, which visitors can access.
The second exhibition hall is dedicated to the Discover Santa Cruz program. There interactive panels, thanks to QR codes, allow tourists to download routes to get to know the city, but also Anaga, which occupies a prominent space in the room. The mayor of tourism, Alfonso Cabello, advanced that there are 350,000 euros to provide the tourist information point, with which, other things, a digital kiosk will be installed, in which the visitor will be able to immerse themselves in a virtual visit to 15 places in the city, an experience that will be available in a couple of weeks.
The tourist information office will be open from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. “On Saturday, with the Full Moon, we will make an exception and it will be open until eight in the afternoon,” Cabello explained.
The mayor also advanced that, although this new information point has been opened, the one in the Plaza de España will remain, given that “we are preparing the return of the tourist bus and train, which will depart from that point, so we interested in keeping that office.”
The activity Introduction to the Palacio de Carta will allow you to learn about the property and its history with a guided tour that will be done in English, from Monday to Friday, at 10:30 a.m., and in Spanish, at 12:00 p.m.
Curiosities of the building, such as the lifting platform
Among the curiosities of the rehabilitation is the red marble that the bank had placed. It has been recycled and has gone on to decorate the bathrooms of the Palace. Another novelty is that the panels that explain the rehabilitation and history of the construction, which dot the room, become interactive with the QR codes, which, among other things, allow you to hear the ringing of the bell of the tower that crowns the Card Palace. As for accessibility, a lifting platform has been installed that is hidden behind the entrance stairs. This improvement alone has meant an investment of 200,000 euros.