Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Adeje Council begins the expropriation of the Casa Fuerte for its rescue from ruin

Casa Fuerte in Adeje

The plenary session of the Adeje Council has approved on, Friday, May 27, the start of the expropriation for the Casa Fuerte for its rescue due to its evident state of ruin.

This property was declared a Site of Cultural Interest (BIC) in the Monument category in 1986 and is located in the historic centre of Adeje, opposite the Church of Santa Úrsula.

“It is a historic moment, we owed it to the people of Adeje. The Casa Fuerte has a very powerful symbolic role and we must rescue it to preserve it and for the enjoyment of the people”, stressed the mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga.

This initiative is undertaken by the local administration in the face of the evident deterioration and state of ruin of this historic property, both due to the passage of time and due to the current conscious abandonment by the owners, to which must be added the actions of plunder and systematic destruction that includes the collapse of walls and graffiti.

The technical report warns of the need for urgent action before "the damage is irreversible" and details innumerable flaws and damage to the Casa Fuerte, including, in addition to those mentioned, falling roofs, deterioration of construction stones or the disappearance of sgraffito and idols of great historical-artistic value. In addition, recent interventions must be added with inadequate procedures and materials that patch up, distort and decontextualize the value of the monument, the document details.

The recovery of the Casa Fuerte for the town of Adeje will be a milestone, when it is achieved, very important for the municipality. Not only because of the historical significance that this place has, because of what it meant for the development and the local society in the good and the bad, but also because the city council considers that a part of the future of the historical centre of the municipality and the surroundings, made up by the Plaza de España, Calle Grande, the new Theatre of the Cultural Center, the Barranco del Infierno, etc.

The City Council has planned a semi-pedestrianization of Calle Grande. In short, it is about promoting the permeabilization of the entire environment to ensure that local citizens and visitors can move between the tourist area and the historic area with ease. This communication between the tourist and historical parts will make it possible to publicize and value history and culture as well as diversify the economy and generate opportunities and wealth under equal conditions for all the town's cores.

The idea is to respect the original construction of the Casa Fuerte as much as possible, as established by international regulations for the preservation and restoration of heritage. In addition, the council considers that a point of tourist interest will be generated.

The city council resorts to the forced expropriation contained in the Law of December 16, 1954, after having carried out numerous efforts over the last decades to reach an amicable agreement with the different ownership parties that have inherited the Casa Fuerte. However, all efforts have been unsuccessful as they have not reached a unanimous agreement.

History of the Casa Fuerte

In the year 1553, Pedro de Ponte asked to build a fortification to defend the area from the continuous pirate incursions that devastated the coast of Adeje. In 1555, it was authorized and in 1556 a Casa Fuerte (strong house) was built that became the political, economic and social centre of the jurisdiction of Adeje for three centuries, under the stately regime of the Ponte family.

A fortified residence, a mixture of a country house and a fortress, with an almost square floor plan, it occupied an area of ​​9,024 Castilian varas (7,200 square meters). It consisted of a castle and a keep, warehouses, barns, a stable, a blacksmith shop, a bakery, ovens, housing for servants and administrators, an oratory and a main palace. According to the French naturalist Berthelot "the most important room is the Archives Room", which had four large cabinets full of documents, defined by the historian Viera y Clavijo as "the Treasure of the Canary Islands".

The 466-year-old Casa Fuerte marks the history of the colonization of the southwest of Tenerife. Hacienda, protected by a castle with a defensive function against the threat of pirates. This property was the economic centre of the area in which economic activities of a diverse nature were carried out, from agriculture to livestock, through others of an extractive and transforming nature. Thus, together with forestry exploitation to obtain firewood, the cultivation of cereals, cane fields and horticultural products, goat, bovine, mule and camel herds was developed.