Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why Orotava, Tenerife Caught My Attention. Volcanic Sand-art!

When I was in Tenerife back in January, there was no plan to stop in Orotava. But in the rental car, there was this CD with tourist information about Tenerife (as I talked about in the post about Fuerteventura, the rental cars from Cicar) and after having listened to the track about this little town we thought it might be worth a visit. On our way back from the National Park of the highest peak of Spain, the volcano El Teide, we stopped in La Orotava. We didn't have too much time since we had the fabulous Cirque du Soleil-show that same night, but we had a quick walk around, and had a look to the Casa de los balcones, which is probably what you should see if you would only see one thing there. 

So, this "house of the balconies" (...) was built in 1632 and has this name due to the beautiful wooden, carved balconies on the facade and also the interior patio. It now works as a sort of museum and handicraft-shop. Entrance to the interior patio is free, where you can sample and buy wine produced on the island, and buy other souvenirs from Tenerife, edible and not.

In the interior patio:

But although this is beautiful and worth seeing, what really caught my attention was what I found just across the street for this balcony-house. El museo de las Alfombras. Las alfombras here refer to 'the carpets', the flower carpets.

Back in June last year, in beautiful Sitges outside Barcelona, I was so lucky to bump into the most wonderful thing, something I had never even heard of- Flower Carpets! They had filled the streets with big "flower-carpets", "carpets" made out of flower petals, grass and seeds. It was such a lovely surprise and so beautiful! All this was to celebrate Corpus Cristi, a catholic tradition dating back to the 1200'scelebrated in many cities in Spain 60 days after Easter.

But back to Orotava in Tenerife. The celebration of Corpus Cristi in Orotava started to become famous from the middle of the 19th century, and in this museum you can see all the details related to the elaboration and history of these floral carpets. The lay them out in the street with fresh flowers and volcanic sand from El Teide, and one large piece on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento made with only volcanic sand from 'las cañadas del Teide'. (the glens of the mountain/volcano El Teide) This event attracts thousands of visitors every year in June.

The art work with sand is so impressive! You can see lots of pictures of former events in this museum, as well as this display: 

This image is made entirely from volcanic sand in its natural colours!

So every year (since 1912) 60 days after Easter, a big 900 square meter big picture 
of sand opens on the Town hall square in Orotava after having been worked on 
for one month. For this they use about 2000 kg sand. 
I would love to see this! 


  1. Hola! I love the sand art picture. It is amazing!

    Thank you as usual for sharing these lovely pics.

    Keep enjoying life!

  2. Those sand images are amazing! I've never seen anything quite like that. And these Canary islands keep surprising me, as I've probably said before, I thought they were all "just tourist" traps but you've shown that there is so much more there too! :)

    1. I love that you say that! I also thought the Canary Islands were all about 'sun and parties' and they have taught me differently!

  3. what an amazing art! I love my country Spain.

    Escort Marbella

  4. My village needs flower carpets :)

  5. I've always dreamed of an interior patio like that.

    And the sand art is very cool.