A walk through the ‘Puebla Vieja’ (Old Town) – the name formerly given to the area around the Cathedral, is full of history and has little to do with its original appearance. Wars, fires and other incidents have marked this ancient area.
1. Cathedral and Church of el Cristo
Originally built as the Abbey of San Emeter, it was declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1931.
2. Plaza de las Atarazanas
Located at the foot of the Cathedral, in the 15th century it was a ship building area, as the sea came up to this point.
3. Bank of Spain
On this site there was a castle from the time of King Alphonse VIII that survived until the 20th century with many changes. During the same century, the building known as the ‘Bank of Spain’ was built.
4. Plaza de Alfonso XIII
Known as the Plaza de las Farolas (the Square of the Streetlights), it houses two of the most emblematic buildings in the city: the Post Office and the Bank of Spain.
5. Jardines de Pereda
Opened in 1905 under the name of Jardines del Muelle, it was changed to Jardines de Pereda in 1911, when the monument to the Cantabrian writer, José María Pereda was erected.
6. Paseo Pereda
Parallel to the Jardines de Pereda, there is a wide street with the same name. Its stately buildings looking towards the sea, amongst which is the Banco Santander, making up one of the city’s most important artistic treasures.
7. Banco Santander
The building of the Banco de Santander was projected in 1881 by José Oriol Mestres for Claudio Lopez y Lopez (brother of the first Marquis of Comillas) with different uses: amongst these, a hotel which was the site where the bank was located in 1923; in 1947 Javier Gonzalez de Riancho planned the arch and the new building on the left, which were erected between 1958-60.
8. Plaza de Porticada
It came into being after the fire of 1941. The Santander International Festival of Music and was born in this square in 1952, promoted by Ataulfo Argenta and José Manuel Riancho, the first director of the festival.