The Ranilla District of Puerto de la Cruz

Fri, January 31st, 2014 - By Andrea Montgomery

Known today as Puerto’s restaurant district, with its characterful restaurants, tapas bars and candlelit tables and chairs spilling out onto the pedestrianised streets, the Ranilla District is picturesque and charming. But it wasn’t always so.


Ranilla District, Puerto de la Cruz


No-one is too clear where exactly the boundaries of the district begin and end but popular opinion is that it begins at Plaza Charco, goes back as far as Calle Puerto Viejo and El Peñoñ at the football ground, and extends westwards as far as Castillo San Felipe at the start of Playa Jardín. There also seems to be a mystery as to how the district got its name. Ranilla means tadpole in Spanish which seems to bear no relation to the area’s history as the sailors’ and fishermen’s district. One plausible explanation is that it was named after a sailor who lived there in its earliest guise and whose nickname was tadpole. Not such an absurd theory when you discover that for many years all the residents of the district were officially registered by their nicknames only.


Old harbour wall & Castillo San Felipe, Puerto de la Cruz


The Ranilla first came into existence in 1506 when a harbour wall was constructed at the beach of San Felipe where today, Playa Jardín begins, to aid with the loading and unloading of goods. A small customs house was also built from which import duties were collected. At that time, the settlement was named Puerto de la Orotava (Port of La Orotava). But it wasn’t until 1714 that the first stone houses were constructed on what are today Calle San Felipe and Calle Lomo and that was the beginning of the area settled by mariners and fishermen.


Ranilla District, Puerto de la Cruz


Stories abound of the characters who inhabited the Ranilla and their exploits including the one about the “buffoon” Adrián Perez, a fisherman. At the beginning of the 18th century there was a small prison at the top end of Calle Pérez Zamora and one day Adrián saw someone he knew incarcerated there. In a misguided act of heroics, Pérez kicked down the door of the prison and shouted at his friend to run but his friend stood still. It turns out the friend was in fact the judge. Pérez was forever known as “buffoon” from that day forward.


Ranilla District, Puerto de la Cruz


In 1822 the New Wharf, as it was known, was constructed alongside Plaza Charco where it has remained. Despite the wealth that the port brought to La Orotava and to Puerto itself, the Ranilla district remained in poverty and when, at the beginning of the 19th century the Tenerife wine trade collapsed, Puerto went into crisis and the Ranilla fell further into decline. But the 20th century was good to the Ranilla and when tourism came to Puerto de la Cruz, it brought new wealth to the district. Declared a Centre of Historic and Cultural Interest in 1985, the Ranilla is a source of immense pride for all those born into it and is more prosperous today than it has ever been.

Ranilla District, Puerto de la Cruz

Posted : Friday, January 31st, 2014 at 12:24 pm
Category : about tenerife
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