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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Theatre, Music and Fire to Commemorate the 1706 Volcanic Eruption in Garachico, Tenerife

Garachico's Puerta de la Tierra (literally, Door to the Land). This stone structure was designed to control passengers and goods that came in and out of the port. It dates back to the very origins of the Port of Garachico itself." [Ref] It now stands in the Puerta de Tierra park that is behind the Plaza de Juan Gonzalez de la Torre, and a very good distance more, back from the water's edge.

This year of 2006 is certainly a year of commemorations in Garachico. The town is just closing the program of acts which have celebrated the 400th Anniversary of worship of San Roque. "Worship of this saint is related to the general jubilation of the local population at recovering from an outbreak of bubonic plague, in 1606, that had ravaged the town of Garachico for five years."

Now, is the turn of the third centenary of the volcanic eruption, which on May 5th, 1706, amongst other things, put an end to the commercial growth of the ancient port.

At 18:00 on Friday, an obelisk is to be inaugurated in the Puerta de la Tierra park to commemorate the eruption of the Trevejo volcano 300 hundred years ago and which will be the beginning of a program that will move on to the square, Glorieta de San Francisco (between the Hotel La Quinta Roja and the Town Hall) at 18:45 for the presentation of a sand carpet made by alfombristas from La Orotava.

Afterwards, at 19:15, in the Mencey Romén hall of the former Convent of San Fransisco, an exhibition, 'Volcanes en el Oceáno' (Volcanoes in the Ocean), under the auspices of Juan Carlos Carracedo, Scientist in charge of the Volcanological Station of the Canary Islands, in La Laguna, Tenerife, with aid from the La Caixa foundation.

The main dish of the celebrations is 'Palabras de Fuego y Agua' (Words of Fire and Water), a show of theatre, fireworks and music, directed by Ernesto Rodríguez Abad, with collaboration from the school of music and folklore groups from the area.

The show, with a cast and crew of 80 people, starts at 22:00 and aims to recreate the volcanic eruption from elements that are between legend and reality, offering a passage back to Garachico of another era, away from the tragedy that it is going to survive.

Various parts of the town have been decorated as a prelude and other events will occur at six points, culminating in the port and esplanade with Entre el Fuego y el Mar (Between the Fire and the Sea). Without giving us more details, they say that during the night, the slopes above the town will "once again burn", just as they had done in 1706.

However, the program of acts for the two centenaries go much further than Friday's events. Amongst others, there will be the congress on volcanology, "Garavolcán 2006", between May 22 - 26; the transfer of the image of San Roque, on August 27, from the Church of Santa Ana, back to its hermitage where a monolith is to be inaugurated to commemorate the fourth centenary of its worship and a congress on "Natural Catastrophes and Society" from the 16th to 19th October. Between the 4th and the 8th of December, the town and port will be the seat of a congress, ’¿Qué es la alegría?’ (What is Joy?)

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