The Coviella Mansion

The Coviella Mansion

It is most surprising to find in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in what were once banana plantations on the outskirts of the city, a historic property, built in neo-Arabic style, in what could be the stage of a fairy Arabian Nights tale.

This historic Tenerife mansion, built in 1914 by order of who was a famous doctor and benefactor of the city, D. Luis González-Coviella y Perez, to house his clinic and residence, could easily be found in any city of the Islamic world, or at least in any Islamic city with connections to the mythical Arabic Andalusian architecture.

It is no wonder then that the first owner of this unique Tenerife mansion, known among other things for his fascination with the Arab culture, its orientalism, paid a journey to Andalusia accompanied by his friend and renowned architect of the time, D. Mariano Estanga, with the sole purpose of seeking sources of inspiration for the design and construction of the magnificent property in question.

Thus, D. Mariano, designed for his friend in 1907 a fantastic mansion inspired by the Alcazar of Seville and the Alhambra in Granada, with mullioned windows, lobed arches and Nazarí columns and elements, without forgetting the very Sevillian sepka patterns.

The end result is a harmonious Tenerife mansion, very much in line with the architecture of orientalist inspiration that emerged in Europe since the late eighteenth century, although full development took place in the nineteenth century, linked to the  historicist and romantic architectural trends, with illustrious precedents such as the Brighton Royal pavilion designed by John Nash and built between 1815 and 1822 or in Spain, the renowned Arab salon of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, designed by Rafael Contreras Muñoz and built between 1847 and 1851.

To peripherally explore this historic Tenerife mansion, generates at the same time an enormous curiosity and fascination, because literally teleports us to exotic geographies.

The estate, as well as palatial side walls, has a tower topping in one off its ends, which cannot fail to remind us to the minaret of a mosque or at least to a historical Muslim  fortress, which all together generates the feeling of both being in a palatial residence or in a lavish film set.

Finally, we cannot conclude this article without mentioning that all this unique neo-Arab architectural legacy in Tenerife, was the result of the tenacity of a self-made man, who had to abandon his medical studies due to lack of financial resources and that after hard work, savings and effort, completed them in Seville, with the highest marks.

Behind every mansion there is a personal story and a personal passion. The fruit of the efforts of all those past generations, has resulted in a beautiful collection of historic properties on the island of Tenerife which is our duty to study, value and preserve.