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LANZAROTE - DID YOU KNOW?

In this section, a list of things and events more curious that keeps the island of Lanzarote. A selection in which we find as Atlantis myths, legends of cinema as Moby Dick and native instruments like the timple.

MACARONESIA Y ATLÁNTIDA

For centuries, even after the Spanish conquest, it was believed that the islands were the uppermost peaks of the lost continent of Atlantis of which Plato wrote in his "Timeos and Critias".

Atlantis was a very large island located beyond the Pillars of Hercules (what we now call the Strait of Gibraltar) and it was inhabited by the Atlanteans of semi-divine origins. Atlantis was immensely wealthy and its inhabitants were the most advanced people of the world that in time degenerated becoming complacent and greedy. Zeus decided to punish them and in the course of a single night volcanoes and tidal waves destroyed the big island in a disaster of cosmic proportions. According to the myth, only the islands of Azores, Madeira, Canaries and Cape Verde remain from Atlantis in the sea that took its name from this legendary civilization: the Atlantic Ocean.

Atlanteans monuments?: a central characteristic of the Atlantean empire was the use of a mixture of red, black and white stones. This extraordinary combination, most probably of volcanic origin, can be found all over the Canaries. On Lanzarote, the Guanches built long, conic pillar-like monuments in red, black and white stone. Due to seismic activity on the islands all except one collapsed. This remaining monument can be visited in Zonzamas near Arrecife.

LUCHA CANARIA

The Canary wrestling is a manifestation of sporting guanche origin, characterized by their ability and nobility, taking as a basic principle of the imbalance contrary to do touch the ground with any part of your body other than the sole, since only is permitted support of the foot, if it touches the sand with any other body part occurs disposal.

It is a sport where regular is not allowed to fight on the floor or any kind of keys or strangulation. Currently practised throughout the archipelago.

TIMANFAYA NATIONAL PARK

The Park is a monument to the untameable force of nature. The massive volcanic eruptions which lasted from 1730 until 1736 spewed rivers of fire and clouds of black ash leaving a dramatic landscape of twisted lava, destroying 9 villages and burying 13 further in cinders. The violent explosions could be heard from hundreds of kilometres from the island and was one of longest and most devastating of the world. Prior to the eruption, the south of Lanzarote was a fertile place of vineyards, agriculture and cattle farming.

They say that Nasa showed the astronauts of the Apollo 17 photos of Timanfaya Park’s lunar landscape to prepare them for the moon.

GUANCHES: the natives of the Canary Islands

There is a mysterious haze surrounding the natives of the Canary Islands whose culture is now extinct. Who were these islanders and where did they come from? Fact is that their presence on these islands was a strange anomaly given their position near the African continent: they were tall, had a light skin colour and often blonde hair. They were called Guanches and came from North Africa, originating from the same stock as the Berbers of the Atlas Mountains.

Certainly the Guanches had to arrive via the Ocean but when the Europeans set foot on Canary grounds they found a Neolithic culture based on shepherding and limited agriculture that completely lacked the basic principles of navigation - the islands were in fact cut off from one another-.

Some claim that the Canary Islands are the uppermost peaks of the lost continent of Atlantis and that the Guanches were the descendants from the last survivors of the sunken civilization.

ORIGIN OF THE NAME “CANARIES”

You might think that the islands are named after the canary songbirds, but according to Roman naturalist Plinius, such is not the case. Plinius wrote that Juba, king of Mauritania and vassal of Rome in the I century B.C. sent an expedition to explore the African coast and its proximate islands, the legendary Fortunate Isles which were in the Dark Ocean beyond the Columns of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar).

In one of these islands they found a multitude of fearsomely huge canines and therefore named it Canaria from the Latin word can, canis (dog).

EL GOFIO

Food natural origin guanche is achieved through a process of roasting of different cereals (wheat, barley, rye, corn ...) and its subsequent passage through a mill. It was the food base of the former inhabitants of the Canary Islands, the Guanches. It is a product which is not add preservatives, and its highly nutritious properties make it increasingly valuable inside and outside the archipelago.

The formula is natural gofio powder, commonly used to accompany milk or porridge canary, or kneaded in a pella.

COCHINEAL

Native to the New World, Cochineal was used by the Aztecs for carmine dyeing and was brought to Europe in the sixteenth century following the Spanish conquest. The parasitic insect leads a stationary existence and feeds on the leaves of prickly pear cacti that are expressly grown for its cultivation in Lanzarote´s northern villages of Mala and Guatiza.

The plant was introduced from Mexico in the middle of the 19th century to supply the European textile industry with dyes and was the mainstay of the island’s economy until the market collapsed with the introduction of synthetic colourings.

Due to its non-toxicity it is still widely used for a range of products including lipsticks, sweets, toothpaste and, of course, Campari.

SALT

In the early 1900s salt was a booming industry on the island as it was exported all over the world to preserve fish and meat. When freezing facilities became widespread, demand for salt rapidly declined and many of the island’s salt pans turned into silent reminders of former glories. Only one survived, the Salinas del Janubio; this salt pan located on the southern tip of the island has turned into a tourist attraction and keeps on producing a considerable amount of salt.

In Lanzarote, salt still plays a major role in the religious festival of Corpus Christi that takes place in June. Traditionally this festivity is celebrated all over Spain by decorating the streets with carpets made of colourful flowers. Due to the scarcity of such plants, the ingenious islanders dyed huge quantity of salt various bright colours and used this locally abundant product to create impressive street patterns.

MOVIES FILMED IN LANZAROTE

Lanzarote´s lunar landscape provided the ideal setting for many successful films. Scenes from the movie 'One Million Years B.C.' were shot in the national park of Timanfaya. Keen movie enthusiasts, or indeed Rachel Welch fans will recognise the green lagoon as that of El Golfo.

  • Moby Dick. 1956
  • One million years BC. 1966
  • When dinosaurs ruled the earth.1972
  • Journey to the centre of the earth 1976
  • Doctor Who 1984
  • Enemy mine. 1986
  • The search for treasure island (TV Series). 1997
  • Mararía. 1998
  • Los abrazos rotos. 2008
EL TIMPLE

Instrument more representative of the Canarian music of European origin that belongs to the family of stringed instruments down. It is commonly described as a small guitar that is played features with his right hand.

It is considered a variant within the range of guitarrillos Iberian, but was unlike the other guitarrillos his sounding board narrow, elongated and abombada below. All references suggest that the first builders timple appear in Lanzarote, - the first island to be conquered - and more specifically in the town of Teguise.

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