At the end of the 14th century, some one hundred years before the conquest of Tenerife, a Gothic carving of the Virgin of Candelaria appeared on the coasts of the Güímar Valley. The Guanches worshipped this statue and gave it the name of Chaxiraxi. From 1526, this image remained in the sanctuary that the second governor of Tenerife, Pedro Fernández de Lugo, ordered to be built. However, this primitive statue disappeared during a torrential rainstorm in 1826. The current statue is the work of Fernando Estévez from Tenerife, completed in 1827.
The basilica is the work of architect Enrique Marrero Regalado. It was built in 1959 thanks to the initiative of the Bishop of Tenerife, Domingo Pérez Cáceres, who was born in Güímar. It is built in a regional style, with three naves, a roof that imitates the Mudejar style and crowned with a 25-metre high dome. The central tower stands over 45 metres high and includes a typical Canarian balcony. The main chapel contains the statue of the Virgin of Candelaria, which Pope Clement VIII proclaimed the patron saint of the Canarian Archipelago in 1599. This title was ratified in 1867 by Pope Pius IX.
Inside there are murals by José Aguiar and works by the painter Martín González. Other works include the Christ of Reconciliation, a baroque monstrance (the vessel used by the Roman Catholic Church to display the Eucharist, during Adoration) made in the 18th century, and a baptism font of great historical value from the 16th century.
Although the liturgical festival of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria takes place on the 2nd of February, on the 15th of August her appearance is celebrated. On this date people from all over the island make a pilgrimage to the basilica. The nearby fountain is called the Pilgrims' Fountain.
To one side of the basilica is the Dominican Monastery, built in 1803 after the original monastery caught fire. The monastery is run by the Dominicans, who since 1530 have been the chaplains of the Candelaria Basilica.
Once you have passed the monastery you arrive at a cave called the Cueva de Achbinico or of San Blas, where the Guanches placed the original image, whose archeological importance is demonstrated.
Next to the Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias there are large, bronze statues of nine Guanche Menceyes (Kings) by the sculptor José Abad from Tenerife.
Working days: from 07.30 to 13.00 and from 15.00 to 19.30 hrs.
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays: from 07.30 to 19.30 hrs. Times for Mass
Sundays and religious holidays: 08.00 - 10.00 - 12.00 and 18.00 hrs.
Working days and non-religious public holidays: 8.00 (Conventual Mass) - 18.00 hrs.