El Jardin de cactus

jardin del cactus lanzarote

Jardin de cactus is the last centre of art, culture and tourism of the cabildo of lanzarote designed by cesar manrique, although he was preparing this proyect since the 70’s it is placed in guatiza, Teguise, an area where the cochineal is harvested a peculiar paracitic beetle that lives on the stems of the cacti and produces a red dye used for cosmetics and food processing.

The garden was built on an old rofero the hollow that results from the digging of farmers to extract and carry the rofe or lapili (volcanic ashes) to their harvesting fields to cover lands which are devoid of rains and so take advantage of the dews.

An eight meter high sculpture simulating a cactus designed by Cesar Manrique, dominates the landscape. The access entry is made of hand carved basalt a deep rooted craft tradition on the island, which like in Mirador del Rio, hides the entire inner sights. This sights is impressive. A huge amphitheatre of volcanic stone built according to the island’s tradition, with terraces showimg 1.420 cacti of different species with whimsical shapes brought from America, Africa and the Canary islands and a total number of 9.700 plants. The first collection was selected by Estanislao Gonzalez Ferrer, and what is specially attractive is the nocturnal flowering which takes place in the majority of these plants. All the ambit is sprinkled with strange monoliths of very compact volcanic astray and of a considerable height, as natural sculptures, which are still preserved intact. In the geographical center of the Cactus Garden there is an artificial lake of fresh water which gives us a pleasant sensation of contrast and freshness.

In the Cactus Garden the singular domeshaped shop design and the bar with a mural by manrique above the bar’s counter also stand out, apart from other designs which reveal the personal style of the artist. From its interior it is possible to ascend by a spiral staircase, to the highest part of the cactus garden. This is where the guatiza windmill rises a typical characteristic of Lanzarote in which we can appreciate the gofio production process, a traditional and very nourishing Canarian food made from maize and other cereals roasted and ground to flour.

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