Lanzarote curiosities and popular traditions

Volcanic eruptions

The september 1, 1730 beginning on Lanzarote one of volcanic eruptions more violent that human history memories. The phenomenon lasted 2056 days and ended the April 16, 1736. The volume of lava is estimated at 3-5 km cubes, so as to cover cover a total area of 200 sq. km equivalent to one-third of island as a whole. During eruption more than 30 volcanic cones were formed in at least 5 phases eruptive, aligned along a fracture volcano-tectonic along more than 14 km. Eruption destroyed much fertile land and well 26 villages were razed to the ground causing a great famine that forced the majority of the population to leave island.



Lanzarote name

Lanzarote owes its name to Lanzerotto Malocello, the genoese navigator, originating in Varazze (SV), which is the first to the discover in 1312 and that the he occupied for some time.


The wine

The huge eruptions in 1730, covering a third of island with thick layers of gravel black fine locally called picón, were at first seen as an absolute disaster for island, very fertile land was buried and many islanders suffered hunger, while many others left island. 
However, it was soon discovered that the picón absorbs the condensate and the rain like a sponge, releasing moisture slowly and helping to keep fresh the roots of plants. Immediately they found a quality of vine able to thrive in these conditions/climate.
With more than 2,500 hours of strong sunlight year, and a soil rich in minerals accumulated on layers of soil below the picón, impart the grapes produced a excellent quality and taste. This ability to transform a potential natural disaster in a triumph is typical of the determination of the islanders of Lanzarote and today, the Malvasia wines produced here that regularly win international awards, are among the best in the world.  The wines have a distinctive taste slightly fruity, very crunchy and dry on the tongue and are a perfect complement to the many fish dishes of the traditional cuisine of Lanzarote.. 
The production of wine maggiore is located at the Geria above Puerto del Carmen in the municipalities of Tias and San Bartolome. Here whole panorama of more than 3,000 hectares is covered with vineyards, with each screw protected against the strong trade winds by walls of half-moon shape composed of stones of volcanic rock.

The feast of Our Lady of the Volcanoes

Every 15 september to Tinayo is celebrated the feast in honor of the Virgen de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) or of the Virgen de los Volcanes (Our Lady of the Volcanos), who is the patroness of Lanzarote. The popular tradition thus recalls the tremendous volcanic eruption in 1730 that lasted 6 years. The citizens of Tinajo sought protection in the Virgin against the threat of lava that flowed near to their homes.  For the feast, people dress up with typical dress and arrive from all island to take part in the procession. In these days Tinajo is transformed into a center of traditional culture of all the Canary Islands in the face of many pilgrims from other islands of archipelago. In the early hours of the first Saturday after 15 September, they begin the processions that depart from all the city of Lanzarote. No matter how far away they are from Tinayo, who has promised to honor the Our Lady religiously keep the word date. To liven up the journey, the pilgrims bring with their typical dishes, stringed instruments spaniards called timples and guitars playing while walking toward the Our Lady of the Volcanoes.

The Calima

The Calima is an atmospheric phenomenon of Canary islands that involves in particular Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. It is a sirocco wind coming from the nearby Sahara caused by the formation of high pressure area in North Africa.
This wind brings with it hot air african, dust and sand, which produces a constant mist and the sudden increase in temperatures that reach 40°C. The yellowish powder, very fine and even manages to pass through windows and doors closed, while, on the outside, the visibility is reduced almost to zero and the air is heavy making atmosphere quite uninhabitable. Fortunately, the phenomenon is not common and generally limited to the winter months. The effects of the Calima normally stops in the heart of Atlantic Ocean even if on some occasions, when the phenomenon is remarkably intense, are unable to arrive in the Caribbean.