The Cactus Garden in Lanzarote, part of a unique system of cultivated quarries and craters, reflects the presence of nature and culture on the island. Part of the Canary archipelago, 130 km off the coast of Africa, the first island to be occupied by Europeans, Lanzarote is amazingly a quarter of the land area covered by volcanoes, The total is only 846 square kilometers (the longest point on the island is only 58 kilometers). Recent new volcanic activity, lava flows, covered more ground, left a lifeless world, and produced twenty-five new volcanoes.
In the 20th century, a Lanzarote-born artist, César Manrique (1919-1992), discovered the value of these places, introducing tools and programmes to develop social and political awareness to change the former poverty and lack of attraction place of power. The scrappy artist steadfastly resisted the devastation of the island by developing tourism, proposing an alternative model in the 1960s to deal with a series of unresolved questions about the relationship between landscape conservation and transformation. Take a different approach and appreciate its beauty by building a place like the Manrique Cactus Garden.
The Cactus Garden, located in the Guatemalan village near the northeast corner of the island, opened on March 17, 1990. The garden is surrounded by a cactus (Ficus ficus) plantation and is located in an abandoned quarry that used to provide local farmers with volcanic ash for their crops and was later abandoned. A concentric terrace of fields with abundant succulents is the island’s point of contact with other geographic and cultural environments, especially the American continent. Taking unexpected forms, using age-old techniques, reworked the folds and depressions of the island’s surface: raised terraces, sprinkled volcanic ash on the soil, planted windbreaks.
Here, in teamwork, Manrique’s aesthetic vision first emerges, the collective dissemination of knowledge, and the promotion of manual skills and methods not influenced by ideology or nostalgic desire, but more of a desire to leave the mark of time, including : A love of fun and an interesting perspective on the world. The Cactus Garden concentrates on all its spatial and historical features (Lanzarote’s landscape culture), adding to its appeal for the expansion of new key aspects and features.