Many photos taken in Timanfaya could pass for landscapes of the planet Mars, if it were not for the blue of the sky and the sea. The volcanoes and virgin lava fields of this national park located along the west coast of the island of Lanzarote are one of the most picturesque visual spectacles of the Canary archipelago. A magical place that has given space to a multitude of stories and legends among them: The Devil of Timanfaya.
The environmental quality of Timanfaya is such that in order to preserve it better it is only possible to access certain areas, some of them after paying an entrance fee. However, the range of activities available is fascinating. Children will enjoy feeling the heat emanating from the rocks of the dormant volcano. The most intrepid will climb on the back of a dromedary and visit multicolored volcanic landscapes. And science lovers can quench their thirst for knowledge in the wonderful interpretation center of Mancha Blanca.
A 5,000 hectare national park
Unaltered by human hand, neither vegetation nor climate, the Timanfaya National Park has had time to modify the pure beauty of its red and jet earth Unesco Biosphere Reserve.
Timanfaya National Park is a Spanish protected natural area located in the municipalities of Yaiza and Tinajo, on the island of Lanzarote. In 2020 it received 1 655 772 visitors being the second most visited national park in the Canary Islands, after the Teide national park on the island of Tenerife.
It was declared a national park on August 9, 1974. It is the third natural protected area in the Canary Islands to hold this designation, as well as the first and only one in the province of Las Palmas.
The legend of the devil of Timanfaya
An old Canarian legend tells that on September 1, 1730, a wedding was being celebrated in Timanfaya. The lucky ones on that occasion were a couple formed by the son of one of the wealthiest inhabitants of the island and a beautiful young woman whose family was dedicated to the cultivation of healing plants.
It is said that, in the middle of the ceremony, a great explosion shook the earth. Hundreds of rocks and pieces of lava began to rain from the sky, destroying everything in their path. As could not be otherwise, all the wedding guests and the inhabitants of the village fled in panic in search of shelter. Many would be saved, however, on this occasion fate would have it that misfortune would befall the young couple.
A large rock from the volcano crushed the bride, leaving her buried. The groom, upon seeing the scene, took a five-pronged forge to try to move the huge rock and save her. But when he finally managed to move the big rock, to the misfortune of both of them, he sadly realized that his beloved had died.
Between his despair and the feeling of desolation, without letting go of the forge, he took the body of his wife. He began to run through the valley looking for shelter, but no place in the world could offer it.
Despite the smoke and ashes, some villagers could see the young man on a hill illuminated by the moonlight. He lifted the 5-pointed forge with his two arms and, before disappearing into the burning ground of Lanzarote, the witnesses present there sighed in pure sadness: "poor devil".
If you are interested in the festivities, culture and traditions of the Canary Islands, here is a link to our section on Culture and Traditions at Marca Canaria.
Photos: holaislascanarias.com, nationalgeographic.es