Lanzarote, the most northeaster island of the Canary archipelago, is an extremely fascinating place that, at least once in a lifetime, is worth a visit. As soon as you set foot on this little oasis, it feels like you have landed on the moon. You are surrounded by a volcanic landscape, with wonderful beaches overlooking the ocean, spectacular and typical vineyards, classic white houses, good food and above all you are surrounded by the warmth of its people.
If you look around, you notice that here everything is in harmony with nature, there seems to be nothing out of place. Lanzarote owes the beauty of its uncontaminated environment to César Manrique who worked hard to make the island an authentic, natural and not at all artificial place. Manrique was a very important painter, sculptor, architect, in short, an all-round artist who was born in Arrecife in 1919, studied and worked abroad, then decided to return to his beloved island, dedicating himself to preserve this little gem.
The architecture is in perfect harmony with nature, here art has been able to enhance the beauty of the landscape. It is thanks to the architect of Lanzarote that we can still admire the typical white houses with blue or green windows that blend with the charm of this island full of attractions.
Manrique’s goal was to protect the nature of the island and not to disfigure it, indeed the artist has always tried to live without being surrounded by artificial elements. He managed to combine his love for art with the commitment to protecting the environment, creating works that can adapt to the territory as a real extension of it. The artist died in 1992 due to a car accident and it is sad to know that he left his beloved land without knowing that in 1993 UNESCO declared the island a “World Biosphere Reserve”, Manrique would certainly have been proud of it.
If you have decided to organize your next trip to César’s island, then you should not miss his main works. The magical environment of the volcanic cave of “Los Jameos del Agua” will surprise you with its lake and its particular species of albino crab; if you like breath taking views then you cannot miss the “Mirador del Río” with its panoramic window overlooking the island of La Graciosa, the building is perfectly incorporated into the volcanic rock; the “Jardín de Cactus” houses more than 1,100 different species of cactus; in the centre of the island Manrique built the “Monumento al Campesino”, a 15-meter high work dedicated to all the farmers of Lanzarote. Another extraordinary architectural work is the César Manrique Foundation, the home where the artist lived for 20 years, created inside five volcanic bubbles is the perfect representation of the fusion between art and nature where the dark colours of the lava, the green ones of the plants and the white building create a perfect harmony.
No description would do justice to the beauty of this place, so it is time to plan a trip to this lunar landscape.
The greatest César Manrique’s masterpiece is definitely the island of Lanzarote, as the architect said, “for me it was the most beautiful place on earth. And I realized that if they could see it through my eyes, then they would think the same”.