If you visit the town of Teguise for your holiday in the island, we recommend you to go to the Guanapay Castle, the oldest one of the Canary Islands. Situated on the volcano with the same name, it was built around a old fortified tower from the beginning of the XIV century by Lancelotto Malocello. In 1571 was added two towers to complete the base of this fortress, changing from a rectangular into a rhomboidal floor. But some years later it was sacked by the pirates, which lead to a reconstruction of the building. In 1913 it was transferred to the council of Teguise.
A building with a long history:
This castle has had different stages. At first it was built to protect from the old pirates attacks, as from there people guarded the coast from both sides of the island. And the thing is, the Canary Islands was a strategic place in the American ambushes and a key scene in the international piracy, so this fortress was very useful as refuge and resistance point because of the arrival of corsairs. But since the XIX century, with the end of these incursions, the building was practically abandoned, and its use was just as a military pigeon loft until 1899, and even as a temporary dungeon for prisioners.
It was not until 1960 when the castle had a new refurbishment, this time made by the association Amigos de los Castillos (The Castle’s friends). From 1991 until 2011 it turned into an ethnographic museum about the emigrants from the Canary Islands, with letters, maps and souvenirs of so many islanders, which found themselves forced to leave the islands looking for a better future.
The museum of piracy:
In 2011 the castle begins a new era, focusing on the origin of its existence, as it was opened as an attractive museum about the history of piracy in the Canaries.
The museum deals with two historical perspectives: on one hand, the study of piracy in Teguise, and on the other, the international piracy in the Canary Islands.
In the first room, with the help of a mockup, the visitor makes a route through the history of the former capital of the island, and its political, religious and military power. In the second room, are shown the most important sackings which took place in the island by the pirates from Berber. One of the most remarkable spots of the museum is the known “Trades in Teguise hall”, in which is exhibited a in depth study about the population of that period through sculptures, comics and caricatures. The narrow corridors of the fortress lead to the named “weapons room”, with copies of guns, sabres and cannons of the pirates.
The Guanapay Castle has been declared a historical and artistic heritage and from 1985 is considered a site of cultural interest. Nowadays, it is still one of the most important historical monuments of the town of Teguise. Without a doubt, going into this building is to make it in the history of the island and its former capital as well.