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    Stuart Messham
    Blog, Airlines and routes,

    Cesar Manrique was a painter, sculptor, architect, designer, nature activist and all-round visionary. He spent the 1960s in New York with Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol et al before returning to his homeland of Lanzarote to create his own, perhaps even more important, artistic legacy.

    Manrique wanted to highlight the exceptional natural beauty of his homeland without flogging it: to preserve paradise for the future rather than over-extend it for a few pennies.

    His attitude to mass tourism was half a century ahead of its time: he educated locals about the island’s traditional artistic and architectural style, created breath-taking attractions that brought the island’s rugged landscape to life and campaigned against more hi-rise accommodations.

    From elaborate underwater sculptures to auditoriums and restaurants, Manrique’s legacy in Lanzarote is as important as Gaudi’s in Barcelona and can be felt all across the island.
     

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    Jameos Del Agua: part Bond villain lair, part ecological showpiece

    1 Jameos del Agua (pictured left)
    Probably the most characteristic of Manrique’s works, Jameos del Agua is Manrique’s subterranean masterpiece: a cavernous lava sinkhole transformed into a magnificent top-end eaterie, upscale party venue, salt lake, gardens, emerald-green pool, museum and auditorium.

    It’s a mind-blowing modification that’s part Bond villain lair part ecological showpiece and well worth a visit.

    2 Taro de Tahíche (Cesar Manrique Foundation)
    The house that Cesar built (for Cesar to live in) is now the location for the foundation that carries his name.

    He stumbled across the wonderful, cavernous location during one of his many explorations across the island and was immediately engulfed by its elaborate rock formations and sheer geographical wonderment.

    The finished Volcan House in Tahiche is both a testament to the elegance of Manrique’s work, from the way it sits seamlessly within its environs and the subtle ways in which it traditionally elevates it.

    3 Mirador del Río
    There’s picture-perfect panoramics – and then there’s the Mirador del Rio (see main pic).

    During military service, Manrique was posted to a small gun battery on this steep clifftop in northern Lanzarote. It overlooks the wonderfully barren island of La Graciosa – and the narrow straits between the two islands, nicknamed El Río – and Manrique couldn’t get the location out of his head.

    So, he went back in 1971 with fellow architects Jesús Soto and Eduardo Cáceres and built a mind-blowing scenic overlook – which now houses a bar and café – that’s not only integrated seamlessly into the rock and exceptionally engineered, but epitomises his legacy: another unforgettably cool venue that will stay with you forever.

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    Want to see Manrique's incredible works up close? Or just lollop on one of Lanzarote's amazing beaches? British Airways operates a number of short-haul routes to Lanzarote and there are some really enticing deals to be had.