Some history

SAN CRISTOBAL: urban seamen

There is not a single family within this quarter not linked to the sea. Their traditions and connection to fishing have not been altered by the integration in a big city. On the contrary, this vicinity has proved beneficial, adding the advantages of the metropolis, and feeding in its turn to the visitors with their traditions and wise seamanship.

Thanks to the location of the La Puntilla cove, the perfect haven for their boats due to the safety of its berth, San Cristobal was founded as a small fishermen village. And fishing was the main economic activity for decades. As time went by, the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria expanded and absorbed San Cristobal into its metropolitan area. Since then the restaurant business has flourished, boosted by fresh fish consumption. Hence, this borough of San Cristobal keeps that maritime character which will always be its sign of identity.

People always called San Cristobal Castle to what is in fact a defensive tower named San Pedro Martir Tower. At the north end of the village, the tower is the most representative landmark of San Cristobal. Built on a great rock in the sea, the tower gets isolated in high tides. It was one of the constructions built to defend the city from the pirate attacks launched by the end of 16th century by corsairs like Drake or Van der Does.

Today, San Cristobal also houses a jewel of the islands’ culture: the last artisan carpenter specialized in wooden boat building. We can see him patiently checking the frame, adjusting the curves on each piece of timber, nailing and sealing the joints, perpetuating a millenary tradition. The outcome will be another ship that will set out fishing in the waters of Gran Canaria. There is something romantic in this relationship between man, wood and the sea.

School boys and girls can often be seen in San Cristobal while visiting the neighbourhood with their teachers, approaching the way of life of the fishermen. They learn the names of each fishing technique, of each type of fish. And what is more important, they listen the oral tradition from the seamen of this coast, inspiring future generations. Who knows how many of these children will decide to dedicate their lives to the sea after listening to the thousand stories and legends of the old San Cristobal fishermen.