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Municipality of Teguise

The municipality of Teguise, one of the seven that currently make up the territory of Lanzarote, enjoys the most tradition and history. The indigenous natives of Lanzarote, called the Majo o Maho, populated Gran Aldea de Acatife because of its central geographic location and high altitude. Later, with the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, this town served as the basis for the construction of a new colonial city. The place received its current name of Teguise in honour of a princess of the same name, daughter of the last Majo king of the island, who married Maciot de Bethencourt, the nephew of the Norman conqueror of Lanzarote Jean de Bethencourt. From that moment Teguise quickly became the capital of Lanzarote, hosting major institutions on the island such as the Island’s Council and the Public Scribe; as well as other important religious centres such as the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe and imposing defensive bastions such as the Castle of Santa Bárbara. In this sense, the city of Teguise was also the victim of numerous pirate attacks; the attack by the Ottoman Corsair Morato Arráez was the deadliest, and its tale is still told around the camp-fire today. In 1852, Teguise transferred its title of capital to the port city of Arrecife, along with the status that accompanies the crown.

However, many believe that this loss is what gives it its current charm. The great economic crisis during those years curbed its urban development, anchoring the architecture of its old town between the 18th and 19th centuries. In this sense, the Plaza de San Miguel, located in the centre of Teguise, is noteworthy as an example of those times, as are the numerous urban manor houses associated with noble families that unfold around it, such as the Spínola Palace—former insular headquarters for the inquisition—Casa Torres, Casa Don Eligio, Casa Perdomo or Casa Herrera y Rojas. And if you want to appreciate Teguise in its entirety, the San Rafael Hermitage, located on the hill with the same name, allows a wonderful and tranquil view of the city.

The municipality of Teguise is much more than its capital. This is demonstrated by areas as diverse as El Jable, with its movable sands of marine origin that run through the centre of the Island, and the Chinijo Archipelago, with its extraordinary and biodiverse fauna and flora. As an aside, this set of islands can be seen from another amazing site in Teguise: Playa del Risco, which stretches for five kilometres, from the beautiful fishing village of La Caleta to the dizzying cliffs of Famara.

From the volcanic crater of Guanapay, where the aforementioned Castle of Santa Bárbara stands, you can see all the other centres that make up the municipality of Teguise. In Tahíche, for example, you can visit the César Manrique Foundation, established in the house which the Canarian artist built, inspired by his ambition to fuse architecture and nature into a single work. You can visit one of his last interventions in Lanzarote, in the nearby town of Guatiza—the Cactus Garden: a selection of 4,500 specimens of 450 different species that come from each of five continents in the world.

And giving a more touristy spin to the visit, the holiday resort of Costa Teguise is worth mentioning, built in the early 70s on the southwest coast of Lanzarote, as is the town of Charco del Palo, known as a nudist colony cohabited by citizens from all over Europe.

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