It’s amazing how a small town like Puerto de la Cruz hides many stories in many corners, as if every corner of this beautiful city harbored wisdom and memories of a time very different from the present and makes us remember customs, beliefs and ways to see life very typical in societies not too many decades ago.
The history of the Peñón del Fraile
El Peñón del Fraile is witness to one of these stories and developed into one of the most representative symbols of the city, a huge volcanic rock that was converted over time due to religious beliefs professed in the city and in the Tenerife island centuries ago. This volcanic rock, which today is known as the Peñón del Fraile, originated in the year 1430, at which time the Taoro volcano eruption took place. The giant rock was moving along cliffs and slopes to reach what was formerly the coast of Puerto de la Cruz, a place where it cooled and solidified to become a present witness of this eruption within the city itself.
But the history of this volcanic rock does not stop here, because as the centuries passed it became for some religious people, as the icodense friar Juan de Jesus, a perfect place to pray and block out all the outside world. This monk came assiduously to the rock to pray, with a green cross he placed on top of it, an object that helped him in his prayers.
It was in the year 1813 and thanks to the donation of a resident Genovese monk at that time in Puerto de la Cruz, when the rock began to be ornamented and enabled with a side stairway, a base and a cross. Several decades later, in 1855 new items were added to the base.
Since then the Peñón del Fraile has remained virtually intact, except for the restoration that took place in 2003, when a new bronze dome was introduced.
The legends of the Peñón del Fraile
As usual with these types of places, you can find many legends around the Peñón del Fraile. One of these legends says that inside, hidden among the many cracks of the Rock, are hidden pirate treasures such as the famous Pirate “Caraperro” (“Dogface”).
Another myth surrounding this place: flowers were growing on the same site of the Rock where the monk Juan de Jesus placed his cross. According to the legends, these flowers began to wither to death from the moment that the monk decided to retreat to a convent.
Curiously, the Peñón del Fraile is located on one side of a football field where the local team of Puerto de la Cruz plays. El Peñón del Fraile can also be considered in the days when matches are played in the stadium, as a perfect place from which they can enjoy the game with a perfect view without to pay the entrance. But from up there, you can not only can see a football game in an appropriate way, but you also enjoy an excellent view of the coast of the beautiful city of Puerto de la Cruz.
Where is the Peñón del Fraile
El Peñón del Fraile is situated very near the Castle of San Felipe, place which we discussed previously on our blog. A perfect day to take a bath and enjoy the sea breeze while strolling through the gardens that surround the beach and were designed by César Manrique.
It has been more than two centuries since Luis Lavaggi, thanks to the donation, would turn the incandescent rock – witness to volcanic eruptions – into a landmark of the city, staying in perfect condition until our days.
Visit the Peñón del Fraile
If you’re not a religious person, the Peñón del Fraile is just a very picturesque place you like to know on your future visit to Puerto de la Cruz. If you are planning your trip, we remind you that we offer you our Apartments Ambassador as a place to relax and enjoy your holidays in the beautiful city portuense. We will wait for yo