Lanzarote

The temperature of the Canary Islands is consistently the highest in Europe during the coldest months of winter which gives Lanzarote an all year round season. You can plant tomatoes in December! It is the nearest of all the islands to Morocco and the Moroccan influence is obvious in many ways not least in its population of camels which have been on the Island since 1402. There are no poisonous snakes or insects and the last eruptions of a volcano occurred between 1730 and 1736. During this period a great deal of the low lying land was covered by lava but the Islanders ingeniously developed a method of agriculture which is unique to the Island. They ground the volcanic rock into small granules which is called picon and covered the soil with it. This absorbs moisture over night and releases it into the soil before it can be evaporated by the hot sun.



The ancient wine growing area, la Geria, is another remarkable example of cultivation. All the vines are protected from wind by a semi circle of volcanic stones and the area is widely regarded as one of the wonders of the World. Lanzarote wine was highly regarded in Elizabethan England and is mentioned as ‘malmsy’ by Shakespeare in several of his plays. The production of wine is still an important industry and the annual crop of grapes today is in excess of 4 million kilos.


But Lanzarote has a history which goes back much further than this. The original inhabitants were the Guanches who were effectively exterminated by the Spanish about 800 years ago. Remains of their pottery is still to be found on the island.

Fortunately for Lanzarote a remarkable and very gifted architect and artist, César Manrique, was born on the Island in 1919 who devoted his life and work to gain recognition of the outstanding beauty of Lanzarote. He exerted a powerful influence on the Planning Authorities and prevented the worst excesses of development for tourism during his lifetime. No high rise buildings, no advertising hoardings and more public works of art, pro rata, than any Country in the World. His legacy of visitor attractions is outstanding and all of them are well worth a visit.

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