Teror Valleseco and Artenara

Filed under: Guide |

Teror - Gran CanariaA visit to Teror is a must, not only for its exquisite Canarian architecture, but also because of its historic and religious importance. An independent parish since 1514, Teror is one of the oldest urban centres on the island. Its religion connections date back to the time when the Virgin Mary was sighted under a pine tree in a nearby forest. The Madonna of the pine later became the island’s patron saint, and pilgrims travel from near and far to pay homage and bring gifts. The wonderful town centre was declared a heritage sight in 1979.

The district of Teror is found 21 kilometres from the capital, Las Palmas, on the route through the centre of the island. The town itself, dedicated to St. Mary, features a basilica which houses the statue of Nuestra Senora Pino (Our Lady of the Pine), patroness of the Dioceses of the Canary Islands. Its Feast Day is the 8th of September. This historic town is located amidst ample valleys and gently rolling hills at an altitude of 543 metres. On the route climbing towards the heights of Gran Canaria on country-road number C-812 is Valleseco, made up of three luxuriant valleys with native plants only to be founding these latitudes which cover the reddish earth with gold nearly all year. The yellow giralda (C.myconis) contrasts with the blue jopo (O.crenata) while, mid-mountain, the gigantic walnuts vie with the black popular that masters the blue skies of Gran Canaria. The best illustration of the peaceful atmosphere pervading the heights of the island is found at Artenara, a village boasting magnificent landscape and truly ancestral architecture, some of its inhabitants still living in caves, the dwelling-places of their forefathers, the ancient Canary Islanders. From here we are afforded an extraordinary view of Mount Teide, clearly visible in the distance over the sea. The different renovations to which the Basilica of Nuestra Senora del Pino (Our Lady of the Pine) has been subjected throughout four centuries has left it with such different architectural styles as Gothic, Baroque, neoclassical and Mudejar. The 24 metre high tower is clearly influenced by the Portuguese Manualino style.

The epitome of Hand crafted woodwork is found in the typical balconies of the buildings in Teror. The Canarian cabinetmakers and woodturners have left a wide sample of their noble art. The principle street is full of examples of the woodturners trade done in material extracted from the heart of Canarian pines called tea.

The Cistercian Monastery and the residence of the Dominican Nuns with its Neo-Romanesque arcade constructed with the blue Gran Canarain rock and other noble native materials endow this town with prestige and distinction. It is not for nothing that this is the town of the Parton Saint of Gran Canaria.

Evidence of the Prosperous agricultural past is still found in the old farmhouse where a profusion of no longer used utensils and farm equipment rest.

Teror Highlights

1) Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pino
Home to the Madonna of the Pine, this is perhaps the most religiously significant building on the island.

2) Casa de los Patronos de la Virgen
Teror’s only museum offers a glimpse into how the Canarian gentry lived in years gone by. Delightfully furnished rooms and a small chapel encircle the patio, which has an Italian fountain as its centre piece. Authentic, right down to the musty smell that still lingers.

3) Calle Real de la Plaza
Those who appreciate Canarian architecture will love this peaceful street, with its traditional wooden balconies and red-tiled roofs.

4) Fiesta del Pino
On 8th September each year, Teror transforms from a sleepy parish into a hive activity. Pilgrims walk from all over the island to join in festivities in honour of their patron saint.

5) Market
Gran Canaria‘s a curious blend of traditional foodstuffs, bric-a-brac and religious memorabilia. The stallholders set up behind the church on Sundays, bringing a feeling of life to the otherwise eerily quiet town.

6) Cistercian Convent
The nuns at this convent sell home-made cakes. Ring the bell and turntable will route showing what’s on offer. Place you money on the turntable and voice your preference. And unseen nun will pass you cakes and change.

7) Finca de Osorio
Located in the lush Parque Rural de Doramas this farm boasts some unique flora, such as the pretty Canarian bellflower. Other highlights include shrew, owl and fine views from Pico de Osorio

8) Chorizo de Teror
Garlic lovers will adore the local sandwich-filler. This flavour-some spreadable sausage is available at every bar and restaurant, and also at the Sunday market.

9) Casa de la Cultura (Episcopal Palace)
Part of this magnificent building is still home to the bishop, but a large section is used for temporary exhibitions by local artists. This is fitting as it was the townsfolk who presented the house to the Canarian bishops in the 18th century, in gratitude for their support in building the basilica.

10) Plaza Teresa de Bolivar
Built in 1953 as an over-spill for the Fiesta del Pino, this square was dedicated to Teresa de Bolivar, wife of the south American revolutionary Simon Boliver. Her family hailed from Teror, and the family crest adorns the square.

Nearby lie spots such as Barranco de la Virgen, Formerly property of the Patroness, Cortijo de Osorio, San Matias and Balcon de Zamora which offer a splendid panorama of native flora amidst which the typical white house are seen to rise up, Teror’s famous table water, recipient of an award at the Brussels Exposition of 1910 for recognised medicinal qualities, is bottled at the Fuenta Agria.

Forests of Canary pine (pinus Canariensis) lord over the summits of the Gran Canaria Mountains. Thousands of them owe their existence to the great reforestation done during the last thirty years. Comparative studies of fossils from the Himalayas allow botanists to affirm that our pines’ nearest relative was found in that far off land during the Tertiary Age.

The exuberant verdure which proliferates in the countryside belie the name of the town known as Valleseco (Dry Valley). Its green orchids, punctuated with the varied colours of the delicious fruit to be harvested, give it a singular beauty.

Artenara is Gran Canaria‘s highest town and can be called the Island’s balcony. From these heights, the visitor not only contemplates the beautiful nearby views, but beyond the blue horizon that surrounds him, the silhouette of colossal Mount Teide can be seen dominating the seas that form its natural boundary.

From heights of Artenara the play of light on the sea and rocks causes one to pause and meditate on the prodigality of nature on Gran Canaria. From here dreamlike landscapes are offered to the visitor while, way down in the bowels of the Earth, the virgin in her grotto awaits the daily arrival of innumerable visitors.