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Christianity was established in the Canary Islands with the arrival of the Spaniards. Fathers of various monastic orders founded monasteries and chapels and Christianised the native population of the Canary Islands.

The Canarians are almost 100% Catholic and have built many churches in honour of the Virgin Mary. In addition to the regular national church holidays, many feasts of Mary and commemorative days of a large number of saints are celebrated exuberantly. During pilgrimages ('romerias'), images of Mary, Jesus or other saints are carried along.

The patron saint of the Canary Islands is Candlemas or 'Virgen de la Candelaria'. The feast of Virgen de las Nieves, the patron saint of La Palma, is solemnly celebrated every year on 5 August. The statue of the Virgin is brought to the capital Santa Cruz de la Palma once every five years.

Remarkable church buildings


The original Iglesia El Salvador or 'Redeemer's Church' was destroyed by pirates in 1553 and then rebuilt in stages.

The portal, completed in 1585, is the purest Renaissance portal in all the Canary Islands.

On the middle of three decorated wall pillars there is the figure of the Saviour with the globe. One of the altars shows a sculpture of the crucifixion of Christ and is called El Cristo de los Mulatos. This statue was brought from Flanders at the beginning of the 16th century. The coffered ceiling, made in the mudéjar style, is considered one of the most beautiful in the Canary Islands.

The Iglesia de San Francisco is the monastery church of the Convento de San Francisco de Asís. One of the magnificent art treasures in the monastery church is the Baroque high altar with a late-Gothic, 16th-century statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. In the dome above the altar is a carved ceiling in the mujédar style (combination of Moorish and Gothic elements).

Just north of the capital is the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves (Virgin of the Snows). The centrepiece of the sanctuary is the 'ermita' (chapel), where the statue of the island's patron saint is located. The precious statue of the Virgin of the Snows was made in Flanders at the end of the 14th century. The Madonna is adorned with precious robes, gems and gold, and further special features are the mudéjar ceiling, gold and silverwork and an impressive 16th-century Flemish panel.

The Iglesia Santo Domingo is a Dominican church from the 16th century. The ceiling is in mudéjar style and the wooden statues were brought by merchants from Flanders.


The Iglesia San Blas was built between 1512 and 1804. Above the doors, there are some modern stained-glass windows. Special features are the richly decorated Baroque altar, the beautifully painted wooden ceiling in mudéjar style and valuable Flemish statues from the Renaissance.


The large Iglesia Nuestra Señora de los Remedios dates from the early 16th century. Remarkable are the wooden ceiling in mudéjar style and the baroque high altar with the statue of the patron saint Virgen de los Remedios, made by Flemish artists.


The Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Luz, one of the oldest churches on the island, has a beautiful mudéjar coffered ceiling and a baroque altar from the 17th century.


The parish church Nuestra Señora de Montserrat dates back to the 16th century and is one of the largest churches on the island.

Of particular note are the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat and an oil painting representing the Virgin Mary on the Catalan mountain of Montserrat.


Canarische eilanden
Van Reemst

Evers, K. / Canarische eilanden : Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote

Klöcker, H. / La Palma

Lipps, S. / Wandelgids La Palma

Murphy, P. / Canarische eilanden

Renouf, N. / Canarische eilanden

Rochford, N. / Wegwijzer voor La Palma en El Hierro : een landschapsgids
Sunflower Books

Schulz, H.H. / La Palma
Van Reemst

Valk, T. / Wandelgids La Palma : 16 wandelroutes

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info