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Lanzarote, history, culture and handicrafts

Historia, cultura, arte y artesanía típica de la isla de Lanzarote, Islas Canarias.

The History of Lanzarote:

The name of Lanzarote comes from the Genoese sailor, Lanceloto Malocello, who arrived on the island in 1312 at a time when few people were navigating the Atlantic ocean. A hundred years later, Lanzarote was conquered. Juan de Bethencourt arrived on the coasts in 1402 and from La Graciosa prepared his attack on Lanzarote. However, both Juan de Bethencourt and his soldiers were surprised by the friendly welcome they recieved from the local people who were peaceful despite the constant pirate attacks. Finally, Juan de Bethencourt governed Lanarote for king Henry III of Castille.

Culture of Lanzarote:

The beauty and peacefulness of Lanzarote has inspired many artists and has helped many artists to discover their talent and creativity. One of the most important points of reference in Lanzarote is the artist César Manrique.

The island of Lanzarote has several artists dedicated to different fields of art but all of their art has one thing in commun : They reflect the admiration and love they feel for this island of volcanoes, each one expressing it in their own way. In painting, some renowned artists are Santiago Alemán, Ildefonso Aguilar, Tayot, Rufina Santana or Juan Gopar, amongst others. In sculpture, some renowned artists are Paco Curbelo,Eduardo Manrique, Luis Ismael Pérez or Andrés Allí. Music has always played an important role in Lanzarote with famous musicians such as Toñin Corujo, Belén Elvira, Dulce, Rosana and traditional groups such as the Parranda Marinera Los Buches, Los Campesinos, Amigos de Portonao, Acatife and Coros y Danza San Gines. As for writers, Lanzarote has some of the most famous such as José Saramago,the Nobel Prizewinner and the renowned Alberto Váquez Figueroa. In the world of dramatic art, Lanzarote has professional actors and actresses such as the famous actress, Goya Toledo. The island has a theatre school in Arrecife (TEA) which gives many the opportunity to start in the world of theatre. Throughout the year, there are several plays around the island. There are two main theatres in Lanzarote, San Bartolomé theatre and Tías theatre. There is also a music school in the capital where you can learn to play different musical instruments.

The Cultural Centre of the Island, El Almacen, can be found in Arrecife and regularly organises different cultural events such as expositions, non-commercial cinema, debates and talks directed at a wide sector of the public.

En Lanzarote, los Centros Socioculturales con los que cuentan numerosas localidades de la isla son frecuentados por los vecinos como un punto de reunión, para practicar deportes autóctonos o incluso para tomar tapas y platos tradicionales canarios.

La isla de los volcanes es escenario anualmente de importantes eventos musicales. Destacamos el Festival Canto del Jable, celebrado en la explanada de Guacimeta, en Playa Honda; el Playa Honda Festival, también en la explanada de Guacimeta; y el Festival Costa de Músicas de Costa Teguise, cuyo escenario es el paseo de Playa Bastián.

La Isla de Lanzarote es considerada un plató de cine natural en su conjunto, aquí se han rodado numerosas películas, una de las últimas ha sido, “Los abrazos rotos” del director de cine español Pedro Almodóvar.

Handicraft in Lanzarote:

Lanzarote is acclaimed for its traditional handicrafts. Vegetable fibres are used in the art of basket making, especially leaves from palm trees. Nowadays, the profession of basket making is based in the north of the island because this is where most palm trees can be found. Another handicraft is the making of objects for daily use from palm leaf as the locals had to take advantage of the natural resources around them.

Pottery work is also very popular in Lanzarote where they make dishes, lamps and stew pots from clay. An example of traditional handicraft is the Novios del Mojón, two very sexual figures, which were given as presents to eachother by the engaged couple in the past.

In the field of textiles, several techniques are used such as weaving, openwork, embroidery, crochet and knitting.

Another traditional handicraft is known as empleita or weaving with palm leaf, making crafts such as mats and bags. It was also used to shape cheese.

NOTE : Our taxi service is available for transfers from the airport, port or a hotel ( one way or return ) or for any route in Lanzarote. A taxi can be pre-booked on our web page as long as a minimum of 24 hours notice is given.

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Cabildo de Lanzarote

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