The importance of the town of Adeje is undeniable. In 1496 with the start of the period of colonisation, a small cluster of homes were erected around the Rio de Adeje (Adeje River).
The presence of the Ponte family during the 16th Century helped the growth and establishment of the town. They built emblematic buildings such as the Santa Úrsula church, the Convent of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Peter and, of course, the Fort House.
Between the convent and the church is the magnificent Plaza de España, created by architect Fernando Menis and winner of two World Architecture Festival awards in Singapore in 2012 in the Old & New category and the Director’s Award.
One of the town’s main features is its urban centre, which, despite extensive development, has maintained a number of excellent examples of traditional Canarian architecture along the Calle Grande. In the past water ran down the street, via a carved out channel along the ground, crossing the town from North to South. This is the water the women of the town would use to wash clothes and for other domestic tasks. In 1936 a public laundry was established and in 1938 four public fountains were built to bring drinking water to the whole town and meet the needs of the residents.
Built mid-16th Century, the Church of Santa Úrsula was reformed by Domingo de Herrera in 1764. Notable are the stand-out Moorish coffering and the designs that adorn some of the exterior walls which are quite rare in Canarian architecture.
Bordering the Barranco del Infierno, which forms an incredible backdrop, and located between the Santa Úrsula church and the Convento of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is the Plaza de España. Here you will find a combination of natural and polished concrete and basalt stones. It consists of two distinct spaces, the square and the large stage, with a zone underneath that is open to the barranco. The design is the work of the famous architect Fernando Menis and was a finalist in the Europe Open Urban Spaces competition.
Only a nave remains of the old church. Today the building belongs to the Town Hall and is used as a functions hall. Over time though it had a number of different uses; a hostel for soldiers, a store house for packing tomatoes, a school… In 1991 it was restored. Over the front door you will see the Juan Bautista de Ponte Fonte y Pagés logo in marble and framed in a baroque frieze moulding.
This building is of huge historical importance in the evolution of the borough. The fort and mansion of the Ponte family, ostensibly it was the political, social, economic and social centre for over 400 years. Built in 1556 it had a castle, watch tower, stables, stores, grain house, sugar refinery, bakery, living quarters, and archive room. For 150 years it remained in-tact, but the south and west wings were destroyed by fire at the end of the 19th Century. In 1904 another fire saw the ruination of the north wing. The rest of the complex remains and is one of the few great ruins that exists in Tenerife.