The César Manrique Foundation is located in the centre of Lanzarote, in the house known as Taro de Tahiche. A painter, architect and sculptor, it was Manrique’s brainchild to make this island the most beautiful of all. This building, constructed on five volcanic bubbles converted into rooms, is an example of the artist’s own style of architecture. Here is where the visitor can best understand how Lanzarote was transformed, mixing art with nature while at the same time respecting the landscape and the traditions of the island.
Taro de Tahiche
Oliver, our guide for the Lanzarote Uncovered tour, explained that when César Manrique proposed his plans to the people of Lanzarote, to build his house out of the volcanic bubbles in the lava, they thought he was completely raving bonkers. I mean, who in their right mind would do such a preposterous thing?
César Manrique had a vision and he wasn’t afraid of people thinking he was mad. He pushed their thoughts and opinions to one side and started his project.
It was in 1966 after he had returned from America that whilst driving past Tahiche he noticed the top of a fig tree emerging from the enormous expanse of petrified lava. On investigating closer he discovered that the fig tree had taken route in a jameo
A jameo is a volcanic cave that’s open to the sky, created when the roof of a lava tube collapses and lets daylight in. The raw materials for volcanic tubes are the rivers of lava which run downhill from an erupting volcano. A tube forms when the outer layer of the lava flow cools and solidifies but the lava beneath the surface remains hot and continues to flow. — Lanzarote Guide by Marco Polo
On asking the landowner if he could buy some of the land, the landowner told him it was worthless and to take as much as he wanted.
Taro de Tahiche is built around 5 jameos with picture windows gazing out over the volcanic expanse surrounding the home.
Entrance is through a door and along a passage that allows you to look down onto the swimming pool area which, against the black of the rock is breath taking. You walk though the wide open plan rooms where works of César’s work is laid out alongside gifts from Miro and Picasso and the route leads you downstairs to the first of the jameos.
Each jameo has had the floor whitewashed and part of the wall leaving the upper part exposed volcanic rock, the furnishings are very 1960’s chic, minimalist and boldly coloured. You walk through tunnels connecting one jameo to the next and finally up a staircase leading to the museum and a video of César Manrique’s life and art.
As you leave the home you walk through a garden with a marvellous wall mural at the back and a smaller copy of it can be bought on ceramic tiles from from the shop at the exit.
I would recommend a visit to Taro de Tahiche as it is a work of art and a building of genius, the coming together of vision and creativity. Needless to say, even if all the islanders thought he was mad, César Manrique’s home is one of the most popular attractions on the island.
I believe that we are witnessing an historical moment where the huge danger to the environment is so evident that we must conceive a new responsibility with respect to the future. — César Manrique
I found out about Taro de Tahiche from my guide book, Lanzarote by Marco Polo when I was researching the island before our trip. The guide book is full of fascinating information and things to do in Lanzarote. It’s one of the new spiral guide books and includes a great map plus 10 reasons to come back again. Marco Polo kindly sent me the guide book so I could make the most of our recent trip.
Other posts include – Timanfaya National Park