Imposing Gateways

Imposing portal in Breña Alta, La Palma island with five battlements.
Imposing portal in Breña Alta.

In the 17th century, landowners in La Palma got rich on sugar cane. These rich families used to leave the heat of Santa Cruz de la Palma and spend the summer on their country estates, particularly in Breña Baja and Breña Alta. The houses are still private, but in some cases the gateway is clearly visible from the road.

It’s a social symbol of wealth and power. These old families looked after their wealth and power by arranged marriages and passing on the entire estate to the oldest son. Only the nobility were allowed to have battlements on their gateways, and five battlements (like the picture above) were the highest possible number. This was part of the Fierro Vandewalle estate, and they were seriously posh.

Estate entrance in Breña Alta, La Palma island with two battlements.
Imposing portal in Breña Alta.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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