Perhaps you didn´t know that long time before Las Palmas have been founded, it used to be Gáldar that holded the position of the capital of Gran Canaria. Eventhough the island was divided into 2 parts in the prehispanic times – the kingdoms of Gáldar and Telde, it was here where the island council consisting of 12 leaders (guaires) used to meet.
The name of the city comes from the aboriginal language. The antient inhabitants used to call it “Agáldar”, which acording to one of the possible explications used to mean “The place where the kings live”.
It was also here in Gáldar, where the last indigenous king (guanarteme) Tenesor Semidán came from. After being captured, taken to Spain and christianized he accepted the name of Fernando Guanarteme and signed a document called the “Pact of Calatayud” that promised certain “liberty” to the indigenous Canarians and helped to finish the conquest of Gran Canaria.
After reading all this you won´t be surprised that history breaths here all around you. If you belong to archeology lovers, than you should know that in Gáldar you can visit one of the most important sites of the island – the Painted Cave (Cueva Pintada). Antient painting on the wall that possibly once used to be the calendar of the the indigenous people is surrounded by remaings of their stoney houses. The museum is very interactive and you will also see a collection of prehispanic objects such as ceramics, seals and other tools. The entrance fee is aproximately 6€, but it is definitely worth to visit.
The city also has a beautiful historical center dominated by the church of St. James (Iglesia de Santiago) situated where else, in St. James square. The neoclassical temple from the end of the 18th/beginning 19th century belongs to one of the largest in Gran Canaria. Apart of apreciated sculptures, paintings and decoration you fill admire a very valuable baptismal font that was used to baptize the first christians descending from the aboriginal inhabitants of the region.
Another thing you shouldn´t miss in St. James square is the town hall from 18th century. In the indoor patio you should have a look at the oldest dragon tree (drago) on the island. Next year it will be 300 years old. The town hall neighbours with a historical theatre from the 19th century.
Last but not least thing you should visit in Gáldar, especially if you are keen on arts, is the House Museum of Antonio Padrón. This Galdar painter is one the most important contemporary artist of the archipielago. The museum hosts most of his works.
Surrounded by banana plantations Gáldar is located in the north coast of Gran Canaria. The distance from the actual capital of Las Palmas is approximately 20 km and you can reach it in only 20 minutes by the northern motorway. Maybe on the way back you would enjoy to refresh yourself on one of small local beaches or natural swimming pools.