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Tenerife's Arts and Culture - Carnival, Museums, and Folklore

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Art and culture flourish on Tenerife, but are probably missed by most tourists, who come to flee the cold for the island's year-round sunshine. Many cultural events are aimed at locals, but visitors always receive a warm welcome. Tenerife's distance from the mainland has created a unique culture within Spain, and Canarians are happy to share it.

Tenerife's music scene

 

From karaoke bars in the resorts, to the fall opera season in Santa Cruz, Tenerife has something for everyone musically - with the added pleasure of enjoying much of it outdoors. Listen to blues, jazz, or folk music under the stars, or in winter check what's on in indoor theatres

 

Auditorio Adan Martin

 

The oceanfront Auditorium Adan Martin, designed by the world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, is symbolic of the eclectic cultural mix of the island. It hosts a wide variety of concerts; from musicals, to opera, and folk.

 

Avenida de la Constitucion, 1, 38003 Santa Cruz de TenerifeTel: +34 92 256 8600

 

Auditorio Adan Martin website

Museums and exhibitions

 

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived on Tenerife, they found a Stone Age people who mummified their dead. Distant from the Spanish mainland, and beset by pirates and attacks from other trading nations, a unique culture developed. It is recorded in the island's museums - from anthropology and geology collections, to astronomy and folk traditions. Together they paint a colourful picture.

 

Museo de la Naturaleza y El Hombre

 

Situated in a building dating from 1745, the museum of Nature and Man takes us on a journey from the volcanic origins of the island, to the mummified bodies of the Guanche - Tenerife's original inhabitants.

 

Calle Fuente Morales, s/n, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Tel: +34 92 253 5816

 

Museo de la Naturaleza y El Hombre website

 

Tenerife Espacio de las Artes

 

The avant-garde Tenerife Arts centre houses an airy, 24-hour library, art and photography galleries, and a cinema. Films are usually shown in their original language.

 

Avenida de San Sebastián 10, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Tel: +34 92 284 9057

 

Tenerife Espacio de las Artes website

 

Street performance and fiestas

 

Bad weather is rare in Tenerife, meaning the arts thrive outdoors; from an Easter "Passion Play" to a weekend celebration of street arts. Look out for colourful streets lined with "carpets" made from flowers and sand during Corpus Christi. In summer, you can find fiestas, craft fairs, folk concerts, and parades.

 

Mueca festival

 

Every May Puerto de la Cruz celebrates Mueca, a festival whose name translates to "pulling faces." Watch street performance in all its guises; from mime to music, acrobats to clowns, and graffiti to magic.

 

Various locations in Puerto de la Cruz.

 

Mueca festival website

 

Easter Passion Play in Adeje

 

On Good Friday, the hillside town of Adeje becomes ancient Jerusalem; post boxes are draped in cloth, and even camera crews covering the event wear costumes. Christ is played by a professional actor, but the rest of the cast are villagers.

 

Calle Grande, 38670 Adeje.

 

Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife

 

The biggest event on Tenerife's cultural calendar is Carnival - a vibrant month of music, dance, and parades. Its origins lie in the using up of meat before the somber period of Lent. Nowadays it's just a long, loud party. During the weeks after Ash Wednesday, Carnival meanders to smaller towns and villages.

 

The Streets of Santa Cruz and other locations

 

Tenerife’s Carnival erupts onto the streets in its final week. Second in size only to Rio's Carnival, the day of the big parade is Shrove Tuesday.

 

The Streets of Santa Cruz. Tel: +34 92 260 9600

 

The Streets of Santa Cruz and other locations website

 

Film and theatre

 

The island's theatres host dramas and comedies, which are generally in Spanish, so you will need a command of the language to appreciate them. Cinemas in the south of the island usually screen 1 film per week in original version (VO). Every fall, Tenerife hosts Miradasdoc - an international film festival.

 

Miradasdoc Film Festival

 

The small, hillside town of Guia de Isora has hosted this celebration of documentary film since in 2006. Filmmakers from around the world compete, and screenings are usually in original language (VO).

 

Auditorio de Guía de Isora, Calle De la Cruz, 38680 Guía de Isora. Tel: +34 92 285 2012

 

Miradasdoc Film Festival website