San Cristóbal de La Laguna has a universal and exceptional value due to its layout. This historical group is the archetype of the territory-town. It is the first example of an unfortified town, conceived and built according to a plan inspired by navigation, the science of the time. Its space was arranged according to a new pacific social order inspired by the religious doctrine of the millennium.
The town map can be read as a «star map», where the points correspond to specific spots in the town and there is a relationship between certain points and the whole. They have a symbolic meaning and it is interpreted as a sea chart or a constellation map of the period.
All of this led UNESCO World Heritage Committee, gathered in Marrakech (Morocco) on 2 December 1999, to publicly state their approval for the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife to be granted World Heritage status. The World Heritage Committee explained their decision was fundamentally based on the following criteria:
La Laguna is an archetypal historic ensemble of the «territory-town», the first instance of unfortified colonial town and forerunner of the new towns founded in America. It was planned following a complex project based on philosophical principles, and carried out thanks to their knowledge of navigation, the science of the period.
Its original layout dates from 1500 and has remained intact since. It keeps nearly six hundred buildings of Mudejar architecture in good condition. La Laguna is a living example of the exchange of influences between the European culture and the American culture, with which it has kept a constant link.
This world distinction of the value of La Laguna, that recognises it as an ideal city, a city of peace, makes up for the effort made in the past nineteen years by the Administrations that sponsored the project and it also acknowledges the residents who have loved and looked after this city in these five hundred years.