Visiting Santa Cruz: Calatrava Auditorium is Striking Tenerife Landmark


It’s a large winged bird. It’s a sailing ship. It’s a giant’s eyelid. It’s a sea creature rising from the deep.

It’s Auditorio de Tenerife, the landmark theater perched along the Atlantic Ocean in Santa Cruz, largest of the Canary Islands and a popular cruise ship stop.

Designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava – who also did the Milwaukee Art Museum, among others – the auditorium opened in 2003 and quickly became a symbol of the city.

The venue is home to the capital city’s symphony orchestra and hosts other musical performances and events as well. The complex contains an 1,800-seat auditorium and a 400-seat chamber music hall.

The shimmering white auditorium is so striking that many visitors may not venture near the rocks forming a seawall between the Atlantic and the auditorium. For those who walk to the seaside, they are rewarded with unexpected art works.

I was told that Bulgarian artist Stoyko Gagamov created the unusual outdoor art gallery by painting portraits of famous musicians on the huge boulders.

It must have taken the artist quite a while to do his paintings. And I am sure the sun, rain and ocean breezes are not kind to the artwork. It was fun to try and find favorite musicians. To make it easier, the artist scrolled the name of the person pictured on the large rock.

Some I saw were Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Leonard Bernstein, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Tom Jones, Maria Callas, Mick Jagger and many more.

So, the Auditorio de Tenerife is home to beautiful art both inside and outside.

Photos and story by Jackie Sheckler Finch

Leave a Comment

Trusted by over 1.5 million cruisers since 2003.
Get FREE access to members-only pricing.
There is a highly acclaimed way to receive multiple quotes from a site called CruiseCompete, where cruise specialists compete to offer you the best deal. The media sums it up for CruiseCompete:
Score Luxury Cruises at Bargain Prices” (The Street)
Best site for cruise deals” (The Wall Street Journal)
28 Best Travel Sites” (Kiplinger's) Multiple annual mentions
36 Web Addresses You Should Know” (The Washington Post)