Castillo de San José Museum of Modern ArtDecember 26, 2016
The 18th Century Castillo de San José helped the island to build its way out of a dark period in its history. Ravaged by drought, volcano eruptions and social decline, the islanders worked hard to build a fortress to protect the island from pirates. Today it’s home to a restaurant and internationally acclaimed Museum of Modern Art.
The Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo MIAC (International Museum of Modern Art) is situated in the old military fortress of the Castillo de San José. The museum was founded in 1975 to promote, bring together and exhibit the most important works of modern artistic creation.
The museum was the initiative of renowned local artist César Manrique, who personally oversaw the restoration and renovation of the Castillo de San José, which was in ruins at the time.
The fortress was built in the 18th Century, under the reign of Carlos III. Three castles were
already on the island to help to protect the growth in the population and industry.
“Homo claos” by Juan Antonio Giraldo – photo: Frank Vincentz
In the same century, Lanzarote was ravaged by continued periods of drought which devastated the economy, the eruptions of Timanfaya (1730-1736) covered most fertile areas in lava and slag, and the islands social and politicla structure was dominated by the seigniorial system. There was a clear need for more defence from pirates and invasion.
The castle was built next to Puerto de Naos, one of the most important areas of the Canaries for repairing ships. Most of the local population took part in constructing it, the work helped to ease the conditions the Lanzaroteños had endured that century.