The town of La Oliva in Fuerteventura
|General presentation||Etymology and toponymy|
|La Oliva is a traditionally agricultural town in the north of the island of Fuerteventura. Between the beginning of the eighteenth century and the mid-nineteenth century, the city played an important administrative role in the plant at La Oliva of the Military Governor of the island, El Coronel. La Oliva formally became the capital of the island in 1836, but lost that status in 1860 for the benefit of Puerto de Cabras, the current Puerto del Rosario.|
Today agriculture and breeding of goats lost their importance to the development of tourism, and La Oliva is no longer the capital of a municipality.
The town of La Oliva has the largest resort on the island, Corralejo; other attempts to tourism development, such that El Cotillo or Parque Holandès, experienced less success. The coast of La Oliva have characteristics that allow the practice of sports such as surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, scuba diving, and so on.
The city of La Oliva has only about 1,300 inhabitants while Corralejo has 15,000. With approximately 25,000 inhabitants, the town of La Oliva is the second most populated municipality of Fuerteventura, after the municipality of Puerto del Rosario.
|The place name of La Oliva is probably due to the presence of a large number of wild olive trees and wild olives (Olea europaea ssp sylvestris) in this area at the time of the founding of the village.|
An olive tree is present on the shield of the city and a goat - a reference to the importance of raising goats. At the bottom of the shield we see a representation of the Casa de los Coroneles.
|The city of La Oliva is located inland, far from the coast of the island, the resort of Corralejo is 16 km to the northeast; that of El Cotillo 15 km northwest. The capital of the island, Puerto del Rosario, is 22 km southeast from the FV-10 road. The former capital of the island, Betancuria, is 32 km to the south by the FV-10 road and the FV-207 road.|
La Oliva is located in a small valley surrounded by spectacular volcanoes: the Montaña de la Arena to the north, the Montaña de Escanfraga northeast, the Montaña del Frontón east, the Morro de los Rincones south, the Montaña de Tindaya southwest.
The town of La Oliva occupies the north of the island of Fuerteventura; with an area of 356 km², is the second largest town in Fuerteventura after that of Pájara which includes almost island of Jandía. The territory of the municipality of La Oliva includes the island of Lobos and its Natural Park and the Dunes Natural Park of Corralejo.
The town of La Oliva is bordered to the south with the municipality of Puerto del Rosario; border traces an almost horizontal line from the Playa de la Mujer (Women’s Beach) on the west coast, to the Caleta del Buen Pobre (Poor Good Creek) on the east coast, passing by Pico de la Muda (689 meters) in the Protected Landscape Vallebrón.
| The village of La Oliva|
|After the conquest of the island of Fuerteventura, the Norman Jean de Béthencourt founded his capital at Betancuria; in the decades that followed other colonies were founded: to 1500, two brothers living Betancuria, the brothers Hernández, built two houses in the fertile north of the island to develop the cultivation of cereals; They also dug a pond to irrigate fields. These constructions marked the foundation of the village of La Oliva. The brothers Hernández were soon imitated by others who embarked on cereal crops and built farms scattered in the vast plain of La Oliva: they will give birth to the localities of El Tostón (El Cotillo) Vallebrón, La Caldereta, Los Lajares, Villaverde, Tindaya, Mascona, Peñaerguida. Fuerteventura became the granary of the Canary Islands (wheat, barley and rye); it may seem surprising today when the semi-desert character of the region is observed: the mismanagement of land, once fertile, and overgrazing by goats that have caused this transformation of the landscape. This past grain crop is reminded by the Grain Museum La Cilla of La Oliva.|
The increasing number of inhabitants, far from the capital Betancuria, necessitated the construction of a chapel dedicated to the Virgen del Rosario, and the assistance of a chaplain, a brother of the Franciscan Monastery in Betancuria, in which they built a small house, the Casa del Capellán. The House of the Chaplain is always visible on La Oliva.
La Oliva experienced an important development in the early eighteenth century with the installation of a regiment in 1708 and, in 1711, the creation of an independent parish of the parish of Betancuria. It was after that date that was built the parish church of Our Lady of Candlemas.
In the early eighteenth century, the feudal power of the noble families Betancuria is declining, partly because the family Arias de Saavedra, who from generation to generation inherits the lordship of Fuerteventura, lies not in the island because it is established in Tenerife since the seventeenth century. Military power - which is formally in the hands of the Lord of Fuerteventura - is increasingly provided by the Capitán General, under the direct orders of the Spanish Crown. The 1742 years saw the transfer of the Military Governor (Gobernador de las Armas) Island Betancuria in La Oliva; 1750 Governor built a large mansion that became the seat of the governors, the Casa de los Coroneles (House Colonels). The political, economic and social powers of Coronel was as La Oliva became - in practice - the capital of Fuerteventura, although the Cabildo Insular (Insular Chapter) of the island remained to Betancuria - who was formally the political capital of the ’island. Because of this status of economic capital, the population of the town increases; it is the most populous city of the island. The population is also increasing in the eighteenth century volcanic eruptions that occur on the island of Lanzarote : whole families migrate in northern Fuerteventura.
In 1812 the Assembly of Cadiz (Cortes de Cádiz) decided that every parish of more than a thousand inhabitants could become an independent municipality; but it was only between 1833 and 1835 La Oliva ascended to the status of town. The following year, in 1836, La Oliva formally became the capital of the island, but for a short time. Indeed, in 1859, the regiment stationed in La Oliva was dissolved (the last colonel died in 1870); the following year, in 1860, the capital was moved to Puerto de Cabras (Puerto del Rosario). From this date began the economic and political decline of La Oliva; merchants, administrators and central government representatives went to settle in Puerto de Cabras. During the first half of the twentieth century, the city lost a part of its population due to the decline in agricultural production, and this led to the emigration of its inhabitants: some headed to Puerto de Cabras, of others emigrated to Gran Canaria or Tenerife, but most of Venezuela and Cuba.
La Oliva not found prosperity with the tourism boom in the 1970s, the population of the municipality passed of 2,900 inhabitants in 1975 to nearly 25,000 today. The city benefits from the taxes generated by the resort of Corralejo and the municipality was able to build a new hotel oversized city, sports facilities and spacious avenues lined with palm trees and acacias. However La Oliva remains a quiet town and almost dozing, with little shops and restaurants.
|Church of Our Lady of Candlemas (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria)|
|The parish church is in the center of the village, on the vast Plaza de la Candelaria on which opens the FV-10 road from Puerto del Rosario. The Church of Our Lady of Candlemas has taken the place of the original chapel, which was dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary (Virgen del Rosario). Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria was built around 1711 after La Oliva became an independent parish in 1708. At the time, political and military power was moving from Betancuria to La Oliva.|
The Notre Dame is a building with three naves, one of only two churches with three naves of Fuerteventura with the church Santa Maria de Betancuria. This is one of the largest churches on the island, demonstrating the importance of the city of La Oliva in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The main portal is in the middle of the front of the nave; is made of volcanic stone of dark gray color and is covered with a semicircular arch supported on square pilasters. This portal, Renaissance, is topped by a triangular pediment open at the top to receive a stone cross. The door is made of elegantly carved wood. The gears of the aisles are opened by an oculus illuminating the aisles of the nave.
The side walls are supported by strong buttresses. In the Epistle to the wall, one on the right opens a second door, also covered by a semicircular arc. At the end of the Epistle wall adjoins a small sacristy covered with a hipped roof. All the walls are whitewashed on the outside, with the exception of angles made of stone. Each nave is covered by a gable roof.
|The white walls contrast dramatically with the dark stone of the bell tower that stands to the right of the nave of the Epistle; the campanile of the stone is a basalt volcanic rock, known locally as “piedra molinera” (millstone). This is a powerful campanile tower with a square base and four levels of a defensive aspect to the middle of the eighteenth century bell tower served as a watchtower; allow the bells to warn the population in case of risk of attack by pirates or privateers. The population could take refuge in the bell tower; lethal at the base of the tower allowed to defend the campanile. This bell is visible for kilometers around from the plain of La Oliva.|
|Inside, the cover frame is reinforced by four tie rods. The floor is paved with volcanic stone slabs.|
|The interior houses an interesting collection of paintings: the altarpiece polyptych of the altar of the Virgen de la Candelaria, painted by the best baroque painter of the Canary Islands in the eighteenth century, Juan de Miranda Sejas (1723-1805), painter who worked especially in Gran Canaria; paint the altarpiece representing St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph with the Child Jesus, Calvary, St. John the Evangelist and Our Lady of Sorrows.|
Another work that catches the eye is a large painting of the "Last Judgment" (3 meters by 4), offered in 1732 by the Military Governor of the Island resident to La Oliva, son of the founder of the Casa de los Coroneles, don Melchor de Cabrera, and his wife doña Ana de Cabrera Bethencourt. In this painting the Archangel Michael is the central character; to the left are the Virgin, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Baptist, and to his right, St. Peter, St. Anne, St. Augustine and King Balthazar. Among the characters in Purgatory are distinguished priests, bishops and kings. Top of the table is represented the Holy Trinity, accompanied by musicians angels groups.
The pulpit presents the portraits of the four evangelists.
The church Nuestra Señora de Candelaria was chosen by Coroneles of the island, the line of Cabrera, for their wedding ceremonies: the last colonel of Fuerteventura, don Cristóbal Manrique de Lara y Cabrera, aged thirty-two, married her here niece, sixteen years old, Doña María de las Nieves de Castillo Manrique de Lara, having requested an exemption for marriage. The union took place March 30, 1834.
The Church of Our Lady of Candlemas was declared of Cultural Interest (BIC) in 1993.
Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria on February 2nd.
|The house of Chaplain (Casa del Capellán)|
|According to local tradition, the House of Chaplain was inhabited, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by the priests serving the small chapel dedicated to the Virgen del Rosario. This chapel was replaced in the eighteenth century the church Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. However there is no evidence that this house has really been a rectory.|
La Casa del Capellán is located 400 m south of the Church of Our Lady at the end of the small street Calle Juan Cabrera Méndez parallel to the Calle de los Coroneles leading to the House of the Colonels. The House of the Chaplain’s pretty hard to find, hidden behind a newer building (at No. 4 Street); it is surrounded by an enclosure of dry stones on the edge of a prickly pear field. This is the area of Puerto Escondido, where the brothers Hernández founded the village of La Oliva; House Chaplain is sometimes called Ermita de Puerto Escondido, Ermita de Puerto Rico or Ermita de la Capellanía.
La Casa del Capellán remained abandoned for a long time, almost to the state of ruin, but it was restored in 1996. The roof tiles were manufactured by the last tejalero (tiler) in the region.
It is a small house attached to a barn; the two buildings are covered by two roofs of round tiles, hipped; the door of the dwelling, on the south side and the window side, have their stone doorway carved with plant motifs. This decoration - Aztec style - reminiscent of the facade of the Church of Our Lady of Regla in Pájara, which is dated 1687. These are the only two buildings in Fuerteventura, that exhibit this decorating style.
Inside the House of Chaplain did not visit.
|The Grain Museum “The Silo” (Museo del Grano «La Cilla»)|
|The Grain Museum “La Cilla” is housed in a former silo where were stored the harvested grains as taxes in kind, on harvesting of free peasants. This tithe was charged in favor of the Church, nobles and other beneficiaries; tithing (that is to say, the tenth) nominally represented 10% of the crop, but could in fact reach more than 20%. On the island of Fuerteventura, the Casas de la Cilla were built in Betancuria, Tindaya, Tetir, Tiscamanita and La Oliva. The cillero was responsible for receiving and storage of grains and distribution of taxes; he could also hold chores when needed.|
La Casa de la Cilla (Silo House or House of the Tithe) of La Oliva date of 1819; the Cilla (from the Latin cella, pantry) is a building with stone walls and a gable roof; to maintain freshness the building only had small openings at the top of the walls, protected from the sun by the roof awnings, and that provided ventilation.
In 1836, the Cilla was seized by the state following the confiscation of Church property program by the Freemason Mendizabal; it was auctioned to private individuals who also used it as a warehouse for grain. Then he remained abandoned until the Cabildo de Fuerteventura restores to make the Grain Museum “La Cilla”.
The museum traces the history of grain growing grain to Fuerteventura by exposure to agricultural implements and historical documents. The museum shows how farmers were deploying ingenuity to exploit arid and private land with water; how, with the help of camels, they were plowing the fields or how they beat the grain on the threshing floors.
Visit the Museo del Grano «La Cilla»
Address: Calle La Orilla s/n (on the side opposite the church on the FV-10 road in the direction of El Cotillo) Grain Museum is not easy to find because there is no direction sign on the main road.
limited hours: Tuesday from 10 am to 15 pm and from 16 am to 18 pm; Friday from 10 am to 15 pm; Saturday from 10 am to 14 pm; closed on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Admission fee: € 1.5
Phone: 00 34 928 868 729
Site on the Web: www.artesaniaymuseosdefuerteventura.org
|The Colonels House (Casa de los Coroneles)|
|The city of La Oliva became the de facto capital of the island of Fuerteventura by the facility in the locality Regiment of Militia and his colonel, El Coronel, military governor of the island. The Coroneles had built a mansion that became the nerve center of Fuerteventura, the Casa de los Coroneles.|
Go to Casa de los Coroneles.
|Art Center Canary (Centro de Arte Canario)|
|The Canarian Art Center presents contemporary Canarian art collections; This private museum was established in 1991 by the philanthropist Manuel Delgado Camino, nicknamed Mané; so the museum is also named “Casa Mané." The museum is housed in a mansion restored nineteenth century. After a long period of closure the museum was reopened in 2010.|
In the cacti and palm gardens are scattered numerous outdoor sculptures, including works by Alberto Agulló (born in 1931 in Elche in Mexico and member of the artist group Grup d’Elx), who lived 28 years in Canary Islands ; the most spectacular metal sculpture, located in the rear of the garden is the “Majohoré” after a legendary giant goat breeder, in the middle of an iron herd of goats grazing ground of volcanic gravel: in his arms the giant keeps moving that turn in the wind. Another of his sculptures, smaller is the “Fertilizador de la Tierra” (The fertilizing of the Earth).
On the ground floor of the building are the temporary exhibition rooms, while the basement - lit by slits in the ceiling - has a permanent exhibition gallery of contemporary art. Among the works on permanent display are the works of Alberto Manrique (Alberto Ignacio Manrique de Lara Díaz), a surrealist artist born in 1926 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, many of which are variations on the theme of mourning and remembrance in moribund and abandoned houses. There are also works of César Manrique Cabrera (Arrecife, 1919 - Teguise, 1992), originally from Lanzarote; the two artists have no relationship.
In the shop you can buy expensive original works, art books or simple reproductions of postcards.
Visit the Casa Mané :
Address: Calle Salvador Manrique de Lara s/n (next to the Church of Our Lady of Candlemas, 300 m north of the Casa de los Coroneles).
Phone: 00 34 928 868 233
Site on the Web: www.centrodeartecanario.com
Hours: Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 17 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 14 pm; closed Sundays and holidays.
Entry fee: € 4.
If contemporary art gives you thirst, the Canary Art Centre has a cafeteria.
| The Natural Landscape Vallebrón|
|The Natural Landscape Vallebrón is characterized by “U” shaped valleys.|
| Natural Monument of Montaña de Tindaya|
|The mountain Tindaya seems to have been a sacred mountain for the pre-Hispanic natives.|