Tinajo

The municipality of Tinajo may not boast the big tourist centres of other districts. But it still offers plenty of picturesque villages, stunning scenery, a colourful history, the island's biggest annual fiesta and plenty of other off the beaten track attractions – making it well worth adding to any itinerary.

 


General Information

View of TinajoThe municipality of Tinajo (and the town of the same name) is set right in the heart of Lanzarote and occupies around 136 square kilometres of the island. With half of it buried beneath the lava spewed out by the volcanic eruptions of 1730-1736 (the world's longest ever continuous eruption) and the later eruptions of the now extinct volcano Tinguaton. Which covered the area around the village of Mancha Blanca with lava in both the 18th and 19th Centuries.

History

Tinajo was one of the last areas of the island to be subdued by the invading Spanish conquistadors in the 1490´s and even by the beginning of the 17th century the town was still very sparsely populated. Numbering only a few hundred inhabitants. Possibly partly as a result of the fact that the area was ruled and administered by a rather unsavoury character called Ana the Vicious, who was the wife of the then Island Governor Don Juan de Leon Moquia.

The municipality's fortunes started to change for the better though during the 19th century. As the area became one of the most important zones of agricultural production on the island, thanks to the introduction of sandier jable soil from around San Bartolomé. Much of it carried by donkey and camel. So creating a hitherto before unknown level of affluence that is still reflected today in some of the grander houses dotted around in picturesque local villages such as La Vegueta.

The main town of Tinajo also boasts some impressive examples of Canarian architecture and is arranged around a very pretty and colourfully planted main square. Which is home to the parish church of San Roque – where visitors can view some impressive religious icons, amongst them a famous figure of Christ created by Lujan Perez. The church has several other interesting features too, including its interior ceiling and, on the roof, a sundial.

Tinajo Market

In a further echo of the town's pastoral past Tinajo also plays host to a weekly agricultural market every Sunday, from 09.00 to 14.00. And whilst this is a pretty small-scale affair in comparison to the mega market in Teguise, also held every Sunday, it still offers a good selection of stalls selling local produce and handicraft. Making for an atmospheric alternative.


The Farm Museum

Patio Agricola in TinajoBut the biggest attraction in Tinajo is the excellent Museo Agricola El Patio – located in the village of Tiagua. Where visitors can find out much more about both the district and the island's agricultural heritage.

Here traditional rural life continues seemingly unchanged. As the museum's owners continue to operate a working farm – covering some 5,000 square metres – that has been functioning on this same site since 1845 (and which used to be the biggest and best run estate on the island). As well as curating a house museum, dating back over two hundred years, that houses all sorts of everyday treasures from the past, such as farming implements and historical photos.

Visitors can also explore an old flour mill, one of the few remaining windmills on the island and one of three on this site. As well as meeting a camel and other farmyard animals up close and personal. With the tour concluding in the farm's bodega where everyone is offered the chance to sample the estate's very own wine.

The Museo Agricola El Patio is open from 10.00 to 17.30 on Monday to Friday and from 10.00 to 14.00 on Saturdays. Admission is just €5 per adult.

 

Festival of Our Lady of Los Dolores

Church at Mancha BlancaHeading away from the town of Tinajo on the LZ67 towards the volcano park lies the village of Mancha Blanca. A conurbation that enjoys almost legendary status on the island, as it is here that the lava flow from the volcanic eruptions finally halted. Thanks to the intervention of Dolores, who is now the patron saint of the island.

Every September this miracle is commemorated and celebrated in Mancha Blanca at the Festival of our Lady of Los Dolores. Which culminates with her icon being paraded through the streets of the town (and a rather large all night party as well).

So integral is Dolores to island culture, that Conejeros from all points of Lanzarote converge on Mancha Blanca for the fiesta, having walked from wherever their homes may be, pushing shopping trollies full of things to eat and drink, and wearing their traditional costumes.

As many as 50,000 locals have been known to attend this important date in the calendar. In homage to Dolores, Mancha Blanca is also home to a very large church (La Ermita de Los Dolores) – given the small size of the village – which also contains is a statue to the black Madonna – a popular religious icon in parts of the Caribbean and Latin America.

 

Natural Wonders

The municipality extends right up to the edges of Timanfaya and contains within its borders the Natural Volcano Park, which is distinct from Timanfaya. This park stretches from the edge of Timanfaya right down to La Geria and is home to some fascinating scenery. On the road from Masdache to Tinguaton, for example, there is even a walk which takes you right into the heart of an extinct volcano, without any hill climbing or strenuous effort.

If you drive towards Tinguaton, the pathway is a couple of kilometres down the road on the left hand side, leading towards a large craggy volcano.

And right in the middle of the Natural Volcano Park sits one of Lanzarote´s least known natural wonders. The large volcanic crater of the Caldera Blanca, which can be reached by a relatively easy 150 metre climb.