Cesar Manrique: Preserving the Authenticity of Lanzarote
Winter holidays in Lanzarote offer visitors the best of a warm climate coupled with a unique cultural experience. Although, traditionally, many people assume the best time to travel on vacation is during the summer, the industry has seen an increasing trend towards travellers selecting winter holidays. In Lanzarote, this time of year is sometimes deemed preferable due to the reduced crowds and the island’s persistent signature warm weather. One of the biggest draws to Lanzarote during the winter months is the opportunity to truly experience the island’s culture which, in part, has been passionately preserved by one of its most famous residents and artists: Cesar Manrique.
One Man Show
Cesar Manrique was truly the visionary that Lanzarote needed back in the 1960s. He made a name for himself as an artist, architect, interior designer and sculptor. As both summer and winter holidays in Lanzarote became more popular with travellers seeking package holidays, so did the desire to build large, high-rise concrete hotels to meet this new growing demand. Manrique suggested another approach for this Canary Island and warned: “I believe that we are witnessing an historical moment where the huge danger to the environment is so evident that we must conceive a new responsibility with respect to the future.”
Thankfully, Manrique was well connected enough to gain the support of key council members on the island. They heeded his warning and, surprisingly, embraced a more ecological approach to developing Lanzarote, even at the risk of sacrificing profits.
Winter holidays in Lanzarote are an excellent time to see and appreciate all that Manrique had envisioned for his beloved island. His ecological efforts and belief that “Lanzarote is like an unframed, unmounted work of art and I hung it and held it up for all to see” finally earned the island a UNESCO biosphere designation in 1993. Although his influence can be seen and felt across the island, there are a few key cultural attractions that he created that are definitely worth a special visit.
Cesar Marique’s own house epitomises the way he embraced Lanzarote’s natural beauty and created it into liveable art. Constructed within five volcanic bubbles in Tahiche Manrique strove to unite nature with art. His design was an amazing feat of architecture within the walls that had once been buried under a sea of lava. The labyrinthine home – and now gallery - leads visitors through Manrique’s organic approach to create a symbiosis between nature, art and man.
The Mirador del Rio is perhaps Manrique’s greatest, and most noted, architectural achievements on the island. Originally, the Mirador (which means ‘lookout’) was used just for that purpose for many years. At 479 meters high, it offers epic panoramic views of the island and the surrounding sea. In 1974, Manrique saw the opportunity to transform the lookout into a peaceful spot and created a unique natural attraction. It also allows visitors to have access to the beach of Playa El Risco and the Salinas salt pans, which date back to Roman times.
The Jameos del Agua is another beautiful example of Manrique’s unique talent for fusing art with nature. This time, the artist designed what became a world famous bar and nightclub forged from the island’s lava tubes and natural caves. Natural lakes and pools are linked by stone stair-cases and dark tunnels that open up into magnificent open-air caves. The effect makes a stunning impression.
Not Your Average Holiday Destination
Winter holidays in Lanzarote can be a world away from your average holiday experience. The balmy weather coupled with the smaller crowds makes the winter the perfect time of year to truly enjoy and appreciate the natural and cultural beauty of Lanzarote. So much of what makes the island unique can be attributed to Cesar Manrique and his vision, which has proven more beneficial, and profitable, for Lanzarote than anyone could have imagined.
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