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Call it whatever you want, the Monumento al Campesino is a landmark, museum and restaurant rolled into one. Located in the exact centre of the island the site is a celebration of Lanzarote’s rustic past. The museum provides tourists with a vision of the islands traditional arts and crafts, while the restaurant allows them to chow down on some Canary Island favourite meals.
Designed in 1968 by César Manrique's and built by local artist Jésus Soto, the 15-metre high construction sits on top of a rocky outcrop that was left untouched by the volcanic activity that occurred between 1730 and 1736.
Designed to represent a farmer sitting astride his beast of burden in recognition of the hardships farmers faced while trying to grow crops in volcanic ash, the white painted structure was symbolically built using discarded water tanks set atop a resilient base that could sustain the constant strong winds present at its unprotected location.
Not just one thing
The foot of the structure resembles a Japanese garden with furrows in the black volcanic Picon manicured as if ready for planting the Malvasia grapes of La Geria. Following the eruptions at Timanfaya in the 1730’s much of the islands best agricultural land was lost, yet at the same time it may also have been Lanzarote’s saviour as the chipped volcanic rock (Picon) that now covers much of the island acts as a natural mulch sucking humidity from the air allowing plants to grow in an area that has very little rainfall.
The museum at Monumento al Campesino is a typical Lanzarote farmhouse depicting how people would have lived in the past.
Constructed around a courtyard that provided a wind free workplace, there are several pieces of machinery that were used to help process the crops, along with a two-sided chair that would be used to ride on the back of a camel.
Fancy a bite to eat
On the ground floor of the building, you will find a tapas bar offering a selection of tapas for 4€ a plate, while underground you enter the restaurant adorned with old-fashioned oil lamps and typical Canarian furnishings amongst ferns and the remnants of the agricultural past hung on the walls.
The restaurant’s menu features what could best be described a peasant’s food, with goat and rabbit prominently in many dishes native to Lanzarote. Don’t worry though, as many items we are more familiar with, such as chicken, beef and fish are also available.
Further down you enter a volcanic tunnel that leads to the Centro de Artesania where you can see local ceramics, before descending upon a sunken well complete with lush vegetation and a spiral staircase that will take you back up to the surface.
Above ground, you are now in the shop area where you can purchase locally made products, souvenirs and Canarian wine from just up the road in La Geria.
Monumento al Campesino is one of seven official visitor centres on Lanzarote and as such is free to enter.
Monumento al Campesino is in the centre of the island where the main LZ-20 and LZ-30 roads from Arrecife and Teguise meet.
The visitor centre is open every day from 10am until 5:45pm, with the restaurant open from 12pm until 4:30pm.