Canary Islands, Lanzarote – Following the Traces of César Manrique
Probably the most famous native is César Manrique (1919–1992) and the island owes his typical architecture to him. When the famous architect returned from his stay in New York, tourism began to develop in the Canary Islands. This entailed the construction of giant hotel complexes. Manrique decided to prevent this uniform architecture from penetrating Lanzarote as well, enforcing a ban on building houses taller than local palm trees and a ban on billboards. I can only confirm that, in contrast to Spanish resorts or Tenerife, it is very positive to know its respect for the surrounding landscape all over the island.
We will first visit my favorite object - Jameos del Aqua. This fabulous volcanic lagoon is home to endemic blind albino crabs. You will also find a unique cave auditorium, a concert hall and a museum full of interesting exhibitions on volcanoes. From the cave you go out to paradise with a tropical pool. Admission is 10 euros, if you want to visit his other facilities, I recommend buying a multi-ticket.
Next we go to the Jardín de Cactus garden, it is a paradise for botanists and cactus lovers. There are more than 1,400 species to admire. The garden is arranged in the shape of an amphitheater, which is dominated by a white windmill. You can have a snack at the café and buy souvenirs right in the garden.
But perhaps the biggest surprise for us was the house of César Manrique. On the upper floor there is a gallery and a museum. On the lower floor you will find large volcanic bubbles, which are interconnected by tunnels. These places were mainly used for meetings and parties. Interesting elements are trees and palm trees, which can continue to grow because they have an open roof above them. The house has not forgotten about the pool, which is wonderfully set in the surrounding greenery. The construction of the house occupies about 3000 square meters. You will come across other works of art in other parts of the island. Most often at large road junctions you will come across his original windmills.
It can be said that César Manrique turned Lanzarote into an open-air gallery of his works of art.
Text ¨and photos: Veronika Kocmanová
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