In Teror, a charming little town with some of the best examples of colonial-style architecture, life has always been dominated by the 18th century Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pino – dedicated to Gran Canaria’s patron saint. The main features of the large triple-nave interior of the Basílica are the vast Baroque altar with the richly-clothed, wooden carved figure of the Virgin, surrounded by votive gifts and symbols, many religious statues created by José Luján Pérez and five of the most significant Rococó paintings on the island.
Legend has it that in 1481 a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared to some shepherds on the top of a pine tree and since then Nuestra Señora del Pino (Our Lady of the Pines) played an important role in the history and the everyday life of the people of Gran Canaria. When in 1914 the Pope Pius XII proclaimed her patron saint of the island, the small town of Teror, with its sanctuary, became the religious capital of the island.
Every year, on 8th September, the Fiesta de la Virgen del Pino (Feast of Our Lady of the Pines) is celebrated and numerous pilgrims from all over the island come to Teror to pay reverence to the saint. This feast is not only the biggest event in the region – it is also the most important religious festival on the island’s calendar and the celebrations usually go on for one week.
Splendid historic houses, some of them dating from the 16th century, line the main square, Plaza de Nuestra Señora del Pino, and the Calle Real de la Plaza. Featuring lavishly-carved wooden and stone balconies, they ensure a trip to Teror is like travelling back in time.
Near the Basílica, you’ll find the square Plaza Teresa de Bolívar, which was named after the wife of Simón Bolívar – South America’s hero in the fight for independence – whose great-grandfather was born in Teror. To the right of the church is the Casa Museo de los Patrones de la Virgen, a charming building set around a courtyard and furnished in a noble 17th century style, displaying paintings, weapons, old photographs and antique furniture representing the lifestyle of the nobles of that time.
Our special recommendation for visiting Teror is on a Sunday morning as there’s always a bustling local market going on, where you can both sample and buy local specialities like chorizo (a soft pork sausage) and sweets made by the nuns of the Cistercian Order.