22-05-2017 Lanzarote Highlights
THE BIRTH OF AN IDEA
Los "Jameos del Agua" is the first Center of Art, Culture and Tourism created by César Manrique and is the reflection of one of its creative pillars : the harmony between nature and artistic creation. In the early sixties of the twentieth century, and due to the abandonment of the environment, it is necessary to undertake cleaning and conditioning work. Although the works were delayed in time, we can point out the year 1966 as the date of the opening of the first phases to the public.
The special shape of the volcanic pipe caused numerous changes to the initial project, exploring new creative alternatives and ensuring that the solutions adopted were the most appropriate. The Jameos del Agua as a complete work is attributable to César Manrique. However, the complexity of the project and the repeated stays in New York during the first years of creation of the Center make it, especially in the first phases of adaptation of the volcanic pipe, delegate part of the work to one of its most direct coworkers: Artist Jesús Soto, who had been the architect of the spectacular lighting and adaptation of the Cave of the Greens.
Inside the enclosure we discover a natural lagoon with unusually clear and transparent waters. This space, hardly intervened, retains the structure with the shape of a canyon vault of the volcanic tunnel. Its cathedral character is reinforced by the presence of a hollow in the upper part of the vault from where, on bright days, a zenith beam is projected that sinks into the depth of the water.
The "Jameo Chico" is part of the first phase of the conditioning of the Jameos del Agua, which, since 1966, was undertaken by the Cabildo of Lanzarote, and whose main goal was to intervene, revalue and use emblematic spaces of the insular geography. Originally, Los Jameos del Agua were conceived as a showroom: from this time, we can highlight the bar, the accesses and the marble dance floor.
This underground aquatic habitat, rich in wildlife, houses more than a dozen endemic species of great scientific interest, including the famous blind crabs (Munidopsis polymorpha) that dot the rocky bottom of the lagoon. The darkness of the grotto causes the lack of pigmentation. This rare specimen, unique in the world, of whitish color and only one centimeter in length, serves as a symbol of the Jameos del Agua.
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