Villa de Moya: a rural shiny diamond

It sounds pompous, I know… but I’m trying to express the reality of an island here, with this blog, so these words are appropriate. Let’s check why! 😉

The history of Moya starts as a religious and agricultural settlement all along the side of the Doramas Mountain (600 mts). The name comes from a species of flower, that is very smelly and it’s plenty of them in the area… so is the evolution of the word (a)Măyo, in the language guanche! For a long period, 1480 to 1850, there was a high level of mortality, that ended only in the 19th century with the introduction of the rotation system for the crops. The growing of the agriculture promoted also the new urbanizations, so it became a very important centre for the commerce. As it sounds clear, a full stomach makes good humor and this helped a lot to increase the families, and the population passed from the thousand of people of the early 18th century to the 3701 in 1848. And there were a lot of smiling people in Moya! 🙂

Thanks to this growth, Moya became a modern centre, where the figures of the priest and the major were considered in a high social position. The first church was built at the end of the 15th century for the Virgen of Candelaria, and it was very tiny and poor… built using materials as rocks and mud, so it was replaced in 1673 by a new one, that stayed on its place until the middle of 20th century, when it was changed (finally!) into the actual building.

But it was in 1515 that the bishop Vázquez de Arce declared it opened as a parish and then primary school, allowing the kids to enter until the public school was opened three hundred years later, in 1806. The major of Moya “appears” historically at the end of 1500, but it was only in 1766 that its position was enlarged with a team of elected citizens. This particular system didn’t allowed to Moya to take the grade of “ayuntamiento” (= centre with a town hall) until 1835-36, when its political and administrative faculties were officially decided, such as the new politics for the economy.

As it was tradition, Moya’s people have a lot of relation with the fields and the agriculture life: all the economy of the town was based on this and it increased during the centuries for the kinds of crops (sugar, grapes, cereals, mais) and their amount. Probably it also depends by the particular conformation of the soil, but this also allowed the farming of goats and sheep, that provides even today the traditional local foods.

From the Doramas Mountain it comes also a large production of wood and at the end of 18th century activities like pottery, basketry, textile manufacture and woodworking were the more common.

Today Moya still conserve its characters of a rural town, but shifted into the future: as you can see from the website the city is very involved into the actuality: it organizes forums to talk about the women equality in the rural realities, marathons of local foods and walks in the nature, more than 150 students scholarships and it helps the energetic efficiency with a strong politic of low consumption.
They have one of the more modern websites to explore the city, and contact the offices, but my suggestion is to go first on the Touristic Section, where I took this image.

moyaview1

After watching the Portal del Turista you realize by yourself that this place is a botanical paradise, an ideal area for camping (or something smarter, as the tents are not allowed in all the fields! 😉 ) and a ideal route for all the travelers who like the explorations, having the company of birds instead of cars… a touch of ancient magic that still survives and melts perfectly with the contemporary life. Lots of words? Well…

You can go and take a look to the coast of San Lorenzo!

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The natural swimming pools of San Lorenzo have a wonderful transparent water, it’s a natural beauty on the ocean… and it’s very easy to arrive with the bus or car, for example from Las Palmas! –> See the route! There you can expect to find a quiet family ambient, a clean beach with showers and all the services around. There are both sand and rock beaches, ideal for kids and parents.
Instead, if you’re a wild traveler you can go surfing in the beach of La Caleta, that is available all the year for the exceptional conditions of the weather. Here every November takes place the International Festival of Longboard! If you’re in this wave you know what I’m talking about! 😉

But it isn’t the only place: El Bunker, El Picacho, Pico del Paso, Boquines… all good names for excellent beaches! Remember that is not allowed to camp in most of the places here, to preserve the nature and the cleanliness of the area. That’s why I work with… motor homes! During the summer is a very common destination, but if you travel with a motor home or a camper is easy to get there!

Let’s go on, as I wrote the traditional kitchen of Moya is very rich… some of the most typical recipes are for the biscuits! The city has a long tradition of bakery that comes from the same families who live that places. Originally it was just a way to gain some extra money, but the success of their biscuits ended with the construction of two farms in the districts of Lance and in Frontón and other two in Carretería. And speaking about food, another important place in Moya is the traditional Mill for Gofio, a special flour that is characteristic of the Canary Islands. It’s a fundamental alimentation here, you can find it in the supermarkets as (more tasty!) in this Mill, where the family that inherited it still lives and work there. –> Link to map! So after this, you can’t miss the Mercadillo, the central market right up on the bus station, that is open every Sunday from 8am to 2pm. You will find only biological products like fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese etc. 😉

 

A little bit of culture now, because Moya was the birth place of the poet Tomas Morales, the most representative figure of Spanish modernism at the turn of 19th and 20th Century… and, of course, his house now is a museum! It’s organized directly by the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, that bought it from the heirs in 1966 and inaugurated 10 years later as a museum. It’s recognized as a fundamental historical heritage for the whole island. You can visit the museum every day of the week except Monday, 10am to 6pm.

It’s the moment for some paths, because if you’re here and still reading it means that you love the nature, so you deserve to know at least this place: Cuevas de la Montañeta!
It’s a complex of caves where in ancient times the aborigines were living, working and having the social life that now has been restored and studied as archaeological site: the caves can be divided in five groups, as well explained by the research of D. Sebastián Jiménez Sánchez started in the 1940s (I won’t try!). The point is that in the pre-hispanic epoca, Moya was a huge free space where the aborigines were just a few because of the frequent rains and the low temperatures, so the towns were concentrated on the coasts, as said in the caves. So how to get there? Easy! –> Take a look!

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Other paths close to there bring you to the Azuaje Valley, an impressive place that is a protected reserve full of flowers and plants (Rejalgadera, Cresta de gallo de Moya), and to the Tilos de Moya, a huge forest that is so important to have her own website dedicated! It’s clear the relevance that these parks have for the entire ambient of Canary Islands, as a part of a natural chain that survives only here in this small continent made of seven islands.
If you’re not satisfied with those… why don’t move a little bit more on the road and take a look also to the crater of the volcano!? The Caldera de los Pinos is silently waiting there! 🙂

The goal of this blog is to share good informations and tips, so here’s a gift! An amazing link that you can use in your trips! It’s a very useful route map for the zone of Moya, especially if you decided to spend a whole week or more there, enjoying the nature: with this map you can touch all the points described here in the article, and some more…

Holiday Route for Moya Area

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So, in the order you can see:
1. Swimming Pools of San Lorenzo
2. Caves of La Montañeta
–> (possible deviation to Azuaje Valley)
3. The town of Moya (Mill for Gofio, Church Candelaria, House Museum Tomas Morales, Central Market etc.)
4. Carretería (Bakery Shops!)
–> (possible deviation to Doramas Rural Park)
5. Los Tilos de Moya
6. Ermita del Barranco del Laurel
7. Fontanales
8. Crater de los Pinos

I know, it’s a lot of places… 🙂 That’s why Moya will be a place that stay in you memories for long time, surely! Remember to take you time, you’re on holiday so you have all the time before and during the trip to plan and change the plans… because the best friend of a traveler is the creativity of the moment!

Stay tuned!

LA

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