La Villa de Teguise was the capital of Lanzarote from the C15 until 1852, when Arrecife becomes the capital due the economic activity generated by its port. It possesses one of the most important architectures in the Canary Islands.
A little history
It was founded in the C15 and is one of the oldest settlements in the Canary Islands - hence, its importance both architecturally and historically. It suffered frequent pirate attacks, because of which, Sancho de Herrera ordered the construction of a watchtower near Guanapay, from where one could control practically the whole island. This defensive point, which was little more than a turret, became, in the C16, El Castle of Santa Barbara. However, the castle was not enough to withstand the pirate attacks. The name of the street, El Callejón de La Sangre, alludes to the massacre that took place in 1586, when the pirate captain, Amurat, killed almost all population.
In 1596, Teguise was a small village with a church and very few houses, but, during the course of the C17 and C18, it became a thriving church and convent town, until later the status of capital was finally transferred to Arrecife.
The most important festivals celebrated in the town are: La Virgen del Carmen (16th July) and La Virgin de Las Nieves (5th August).
Today, Teguise is the largest municipality on the island, covering most of the land from East coast to West, and holds one of the main tourist areas in the Canary Islands, Costa Teguise, which is characterised by harmonious architecture and high quality of service.
What to see
The parish church of Guadalupe is the oldest on the island. It was built by Maciot de Bethencourt, but was constantly renovated by additions like those that were added by families that paid to be buried in them. The renovations ended in 1884, but in 1909, it suffered from a fire and was rebuilt by the church faithful, maintaining and respecting the original structure of the building. El Convento de San Francisco is a construction from the C16, built by Argote de Molina. It belongs to the Franciscan Order and in it lie the bodies of the most important people of Lanzarote. In 1984, it was reformed and turned into the town art gallery displaying exhibitions of contemporary art. Opening times: Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 3pm.
El Palacio de Spinola, which construction finished in 1780, is situated in the main square, known popularly as La Plaza de Los Leones; nowadays it is a museum with an exhibition gallery. Opening hours: every day except Wednesday, 9.30am to 2.30pm.