The Lighthouse of Maspalomas reopens to the public after ten years
The Faro de Maspalomas Lighthouse, possibly the most emblematic building on Gran Canaria, has reopened its doors having been fully renovated a decade after it closed to the public aiming to become the guardian of the Island’s history through the inauguration of an ethnographic centre and a beacon that will guide residents and visitors to learn about the traditions and crafts of this ancient subtropical paradise.
The Cabildo de Gran Canaria have renovated this most distinguished building, donated by the Port Authority, which is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Canary Islands still in operation and declared as a Site of Cultural Interest, after an island investment of €1.4 million, opening its doors to allow visitors to once more tour the rooms designed by an engineer from Telde, Juan León y Castillo, 135 years ago.
This watchtower, 58 meters high, was illuminated for the first time in 1890 to act as a guide for the ships that cross the Atlantic, and its annex building was originally conceived as a shelter for the lighthouse keepers. It has once again been put on display in all its splendour, almost 130 years after it was first inaugurated. The opening ceremony last Thursday February 7th was attended by the president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, the Minister for Crafts, Minerva Alonso, and the president of the Port Authority, Juan José Cardona. Its façade lit up with projections explaining its history in images and visualising its construction process, in an impressive light show that wowed an unsuspecting audience gathered for the event.
The Faro de Maspalomas Lighthouse, possibly the most emblematic building on Gran Canaria, has reopened its doors having been fully renovated a decade after it closed to the public, it aims to become the guardian of this Island’s history through the inauguration of an ethnographic centre which will act as a beacon to guide residents and visitors in learning about the traditions and crafts of this ancient subtropical paradise.
Posted by The Canary News on Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Morales expressed his satisfaction not only for the recovery this historic monument, one of the great symbols of Gran Canaria for the enjoyment of all citizens, but also because its mission will be to offer a tour through five centuries of Gran Canaria history and be a showcase for the island, its culture and its landscapes. The achievement of this goal, he added, has been like a long distance race which has encountered many difficulties.
“We want it to symbolise the union of our rich history and the hopeful future that Gran Canaria as we sail forward together in the preservation of the treasures we enjoy” said the island president expressing great emotion.
From the aborigines to tourism
The building will house a tourismoffice and a craft shop on the ground floor and on the first floor an ethnographic centre that will cover the period from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, from the aboriginal era and the writings of the many travellers who have visited the Canary Islands and described the crafts of the island through to the modern society driven by tourism as backbone of this 21st century economy.
It is this Lighthouse, next to the Dunes and the Pool of Maspalomas, in the tourist epicenter of Gran Canaria, which will complement the offer of sun and beach as a cultural space and allow tourists to discover the traditions of the islanders and their handmade produce, through photographs, audio and videos from the documentary collection of the artisan crafts protected through Fedac.
The facility not only has an elevator to convert it into accessible space, but it has been conceived to accommodate visits by schoolchildren, since it will be one of its important public monuments on the island. In addition, the roof over the interior courtyard has been replaced by a skylight to illuminate the enclosure.
The renovation works suffered many setbacks due to the discovery of termites which forced the initial project to be modified, leading to a complete renovation of the roof, which will be used as a viewpoint to contemplate views of the sea, the palm grove of Maspalomas and the mountains.
Craft exhibitions and a 1930s dollhouse
The Maspalomas Lighthouse can be visited free of charge by citizens from 10:00 to 17:00. Until the museum project is awarded and executed, this historic building will house an exhibition of artisanal crafts exhibiting the rural houses of Gran Canaria as a backdrop to show case different rooms and outbuildings such as the traditional alpendre and oven, as well as objects that were still in daily use until the middle of the 20th century .
Contemporary products from the textile sector will also be exhibited, inspired by traditional craft techniques developed in a Fedac workshop that aims to provide artists with new tools for creation. They are to be joined by an exhibition of a 1930’s dollhouse with 17 rooms.
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