A trip to La Orotava is always a pleasure and quite often a surprise. No matter how many times I go, there’s always something else to see and depending on the season, it could be something really special, like the flower carpets for Corpus Christie or the belènes trail for Christmas. A few months ago Jack and I visited the Iberoamerican Museum for the first time since its refurbishment and we spent a happy hour amidst some fascinating exhibits.
The relationship between Tenerife and the Canary Islands and the Americas has been an unbreakable one ever since Columbus set sail from La Gomera in 1492. Artisans left the Canary Islands to help build the Spanish colonies; silver and gold from the new colonies passed through these islands en route to Europe making fortunes for merchants along the way, and when crops failed and poverty followed, it was to Latin America that Canarios sailed looking for work.
In a bid to capture and preserve the special relationship between Latin America and the Canaries through the rich artisan heritage of both, the museum has pulled together a comprehensive collection of works including folk art, folk pottery and musical instruments. Far from being stuffy or boring, the displays are bright, colourful and fascinating, and the building itself is one of La Orotava’s finest.
Housed in a 17th century former Dominican Convent which is set around a leafy courtyard garden, the museum is divided into five rooms and the exhibits are labelled in Spanish, English, French and German. You can also hire an audio guide in English for €5.
One room is dedicated to musical instruments and includes some very odd exhibits like cymbals set into in the jaw bone of an animal and a guitar made from an armadillo. The ceramics room has some beautiful pieces that I could see fitting nicely into my home. One room housed a collection of new genres of handicrafts and another housed one of fabrics. My favourite room was the folk art which had lots of strange and wonderful exhibits including Los Muertos, images of the dead from Mexico.
As well as the museum there’s a gift shop which has cards, trinkets, some collection pieces and lots of different and quirky gift ideas. There’s also quite a lot of religious iconography in there which is quite interesting in itself. When you fancy taking the weight off your feet, there are benches set around both levels of the courtyard where you can sit undisturbed for as long as you like.
Iberoamerican Museum of Art, Convento de Santo Domingo, Calle Thomas Zerolo 34; tel (0034) 922 32 17 46; open Mon-Fri 10am to 3pm, Saturdays 10am to 2pm; entrance €2, free to Tenerife residents
Category : days out
Subscribe : RSS 2.0