Tenerife, and indeed all the Canary Islands, has a long tradition of wood carving which is shown clearly in the islands churches of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Wood from the Canarian Pine was used in the construction of intricately carved balconies on the mansions of the islands wealthy in the 17th Century, particularly in the old towns of La Laguna and La Orotava. The native Canarian pine is very durable and it was inevitable the wood would be used in domestic architecture.
One of the best examples of these balconies is in the old town of La Orotava in the hills above Puerto de la Cruz on the north of Tenerife, at Las Casa de los Balcones (The House of the Balconies). Remarkably the pine used for these balconies has never been treated and has lasted over 400 years.
This building was originally two separate houses built in the 17th Century by a wealthy local family and has since joined together to from one house.
These grand old houses have inner courtyards protected from the sun and therefore cool, with balconies made from the islands palm trees, creating covered walk ways on the ground floor.
The style of these balconies is Plateresque, named after the work of silversmiths, and inspired by the traditional architecture of Andalucía and Portugal.
As Tenerife has a mild climate and has not suffered any destructive wars, the islands architecture dates back to the Spanish conquest, and largely remain in a good condition.
The above article is by Peter Allen and originally published by e tenerife holidays
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