Menceys and Tenerife!

Ok I will once again deviate a bit from my usual posts to tell you about a personal place of mine. I grew up with the traditions and came to live in Spain, and visited Tenerife as an adolescent only to think for it always. As they tell me, the DNA is strong or blood is thicker than water! La sangre es màs espesa que el agua!

I like to tell you a bit about seldom heard history or misplace in the travels of many. This is my rendition of a special place for all of us Islenhos or islanders of Tenerife from whatever we are now! I will tell you about the square, the basilica, and the statues read on….

The Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias is a large square located in the main center of the Marianne Villa of Candelaria  on the island of Tenerife. It is located next to the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria (Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria or Notre Dame) ,the patron Saint of the Canary Islands, and is the meeting place for pilgrims and celebrations of the most important festivities of the municipality.

In the place where the square is located, once was the Playa de la Arena beach, the place where the Convent and the old Church of the Virgen de Candelaria were situated. In the center of the beach was the castle of San Pedro, which was built in 1697. This bastion was designed to defend the Church and the Convent of the Virgin of pirate attacks and lootings, the castle was practically destroyed in the storm of November 1826, the same in which the original image of the Virgin of Candelaria was lost. After the start of the construction of the Basilica of Candelaria in 1949 was thought the need to create a wide square that framed the basilica taking advantage of the great natural esplanade of the beach. The foundation works of the square began at the end of 1950. Finally, the Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias is inaugurated on January 31, 1959.

The Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias has two main entrances, the Calle Obispo Pérez Cáceres, which is the pedestrian and commercial street of the town, and the Calle de los Principes which is the vehicular entrance street. One of the attractions of this last street, are a series of mosaics made in volcanic stones, located in a small tunnel  and where the seven Canary Islands are represented next to each other, except Tenerife which is in front of the other islands on the front wall.

The Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria ,and the Royal Convent  are located on the south side of the square, on the east side by the sea, is the sculptural ensemble of the Menceyes of Tenerife, meanwhile in the north wing is the Calle Obispo Perez Cáceres and on the west side is the main artery exit of the square .

On one side of this square are the statues of the nine Menceyes that ruled the nine Menceyatos (pre-Spain kingdoms) of Tenerife. Nowadays they are bronze statues, which replaced other volcanic stone sculptures that were moved to another avenue in the 20C. Specifically, it was August 13 ,1993 when the new figures of the Menceyes were inaugurated, the work of the sculptor José Abad. These statues are very appreciated by all the Canaries, because they represent a very essential part of our culture.

These bronze statues represent the nine Guanches kings (Menceyes in Guanche languages or Spanish Castilian -Reyes), and were the descendants of the Mencey Tinerfe the Great, son of Mencey Sunta, who had his court in the Menceyato of Adeje (one hundred years before the conquest by Spain) and ruled the entire island. Hence the name Tenerife or Tinerfe Anichet the land of Tenerife. These were divided into 9 menceyes or kingdoms as Acaimo: Mencey of Tacoma; Anjona: Mencey de Abona.; Añaterve: Mencey de Güímar (the one of my grandparents, that today is the territory of the modern towns of El Rosario, Candelaria (paternal grandparents were born here), Arafo, Güímar (my maternal grandparensts comes from a village south of here call Pajara),and parts of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de La Laguna). Bencomo: Mencey of Taoro.(last King 1496)  Beneharo: Mencey of Anaga. Pelinor: Mencey de Adeje. Pelicar: Mencey de Icode. Romen: Mencey of Daute. Tegueste: Mencey of Tegueste.

Candelaria

Candelaria

One of the statues held in his hand the “ Zanata stone “, in particular the Mencey Romén held it. It is a small rock of elongated form with inscriptions supposedly of Guanche origin ,the original  people of the Canary Islands. Currently, the Zanata stone is held at the  Archaeological Museum of Tenerife, city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Some webpages on the above to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Tenerife on the Plaza in English

Tourist office of Tenerife on the Menceyes -kings

A bit more on our Basilica of Our Lady Virgin of Candelaria . Even thus pictures are not allowed in for good reason.

The Basilica is consecrated to Our Lady  Virgen de la Candelaria (patron Saint of the Canary Islands) whose original image was found in 1390 by two Guanches shepherds. The Basilica of Candelaria was built in the place where the Guanches venerated the Virgin after the conquest; the Cave of Achbinico is situated behind the sanctuary. Today, the Basilica is one of the main Marian shrines and pilgrimages of Spain. Every February 2 (Day of the Virgin of Candelaria) and August 15 (Popular Day of the Virgin of Candelaria chosen by the Bishop) This Basilica welcomes the thousands of pilgrims who arrive at the Villa Mariana, to venerate the Virgin of Candelaria the days of her major feasts.

Candelaria

Basilica Ntra Sra de la Virgen de Candelaria, credit WebTenerife.com

The height that gives it its bell tower of 45 meters makes it a dominant feature on the horizon of the Villa Mariana of Candelaria and its surroundings. The Basilica of the Virgin of Candelaria is one of the greatest examples of neoclassical architecture in Spain. Next to the basilica and attached to it is the Royal Convent of Our Lady of Candelaria, run by the order of the Dominicans, religious order in charge of the sanctuary, in it is the Museum of Sacred Art.

In 1596, King Felipe III declared protector and patron of the Virgin of Candelaria, a position that his successors maintained. The monarch, after ascending to the throne, declared himself patron of the Royal Convent of Our Lady of Candelaria, hence the rank that the sanctuary has since. It is therefore the first Marian shrine in the Canary Islands to receive royalty title from the Spanish monarchy. On January 24, 2011, the temple was elevated to the dignity of Basilica minor  of very good degree by Pope Benedict XVI.

Tourist office of Tenerife on the Basilica

So therefore, go there for more than the beaches, and our mojo, there is more to Tenerife with its history of old and new and its wonderful monuments. Hope you enjoy the post as much as me writing it did. Candelaria, Pajara, Tenerife are with me is in my blood.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

4 Comments to “Menceys and Tenerife!”

  1. It is a long time since I went to Tenerife (1989) but I would like to return one day, thank you for reminding me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a popular tourist destination, but I’ve never been to the Canary Islands. I am glad you have such fond memories of it: it looks like a lovely place to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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