La Orotava is a town and a municipality in the northern part of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands of Spain. The area of the municipality stretches from the north coast to the mountainous interior, and includes the summit of the Teide volcano, Canary Islands' and Spain's highest point at 3,718 m. At 207.31 km2, it is the largest municipality of the island of Tenerife. The population is 41,255 (2013[2]).

La Orotava
La Orotava
La Orotava
Flag of La Orotava
Official seal of La Orotava
Location of La Orotava
La Orotava is located in Tenerife
La Orotava
La Orotava
Coordinates: 28°23′26″N 16°31′29″W / 28.39056°N 16.52472°W / 28.39056; -16.52472
Autonomous communityCanary Islands
ProvinceSanta Cruz de Tenerife
 • MayorFrancisco Linares
 • Total207.31 km2 (80.04 sq mi)
 • Total41,833
 • Density200/km2 (520/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+0 (GMT)
Post Code

The town La Orotava, which is the administrative centre of the municipality and also its largest settlement, is situated near the north coast, at about 400 m elevation in the Orotava Valley. It is 4 km southeast of Puerto de la Cruz and 28 km southwest of the island's capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The TF-5 motorway passes through the north of the municipality.

The coat of arms of La Orotava was adopted by Alfonso XIII in 1906, the dragoons escorting the drago and the tree of golden apples refers to the mythology of the Garden of Hesperides, believed was located in La Orotava. In gastronomy, La Orotava was honored for the Denominación de Origen Valle de La Orotava or the Denomination of the Origin of the Orotava Valley (Valle de La Orotava) in wines.

The historic center of La Orotava was declared Conjunto histórico[3] in 1976 and is included in the Inventory of the European Cultural Heritage Protection and Monumental.[4] Also noteworthy is that much of the Teide National Park (a World Heritage Site in 2007) is located within the municipality. La Orotava is also the highest town of Spain and steepest, the municipality comes from sea level up to 3718 meters the Teide (the highest peak in Spain).

Toponymy edit

It is not known what the origin of the town's name is, but the vast majority of researchers say it probably originated from the language of the Guanches, who called the area Arautaba or Arautápala. Taking linguistics into account, Orotava probably came from a corrupted form of a Guanche word that was then borrowed into the Spanish language.

History edit

The Guanches lived primarily in coastal areas and in the vicinity of the largest canyons and hillsides in the valley. In these places food and means of subsistence were easily found. For the Guanches, the highest peak in Spain (Mount Teide), which is situated in this township, was regarded as a place of worship.

On the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, such as Alonso Fernández de Lugo, the people of Tenerife resisted. Tenerife was the last of the Canary Islands to be conquered, in 1496. The origin of La Orotava goes back to the 1502 when the land and water were portioned out among the men who had taken part in the conquest.[5]

Economy edit

Engraving realized by the French naturalist Sabin Berthelot of the great dragon located in the garden of the House Franchy, in La Orotava. Published in his work "Histoire Naturelle des Iles Canaries" in 1838

The export economy established by the European settlers after the conquest in the 15th century spawned large commercial and passenger movements that were to last for decades. The first foreign visitors quickly felt drawn to the clemency and beneficial qualities of weather conditions found in the Taoro Valley.

La Orotava has a rich land for farming and its economy has been based on agriculture for centuries, with products such as wine, tomatoes, bananas and others that were exported mainly to Europe and the UK.

It was not until beginning of the 19th century that the tourism industry broke through. The natural environment of La Orotava helped attract many researchers and exclusive high-class groups from Europe. At this stage La Orotava was a leading cultural center accommodating many travellers and writers, among others William Wilde and Alexander von Humboldt.

Nowadays, La Orotava is visited by Northern Europeans all year round, specially during the winter months when the climate is quite mild, and over Christmas and New Year.

Subdivisions edit

The Orotava Valley stretches from the sea up to the mountains at 2,000 m which begins near Las Cañadas up to Pico del Teide at 3,718 m is Spain's tallest mountain. The valley includes the municipalities of Los Realejos, Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava, with a combined population of 111,606 as at the start of 2023.[6]

La Orotava is subdivided into various locations such as El Rincón, La Florida, La Perdoma, San Antonio, La Luz or Aguamansa, among others

Panorama of Valle de La Orotava

Historical population edit

Year Population
1991 35,142
1996 35,642
2001 38,670
2002 39,095
2003 39,876
2004 39,909
2011 41,706
2013 41,255

Education edit

The British School of Tenerife has its La Luz Campus in La Orotava.[7]

Sites of interest edit

  • El Ayuntamiento (town hall)
  • Mirador Humboldt, after Alexander von Humboldt, from the greatest panoramic attraction over the valley.
  • Casa Molina
  • Plaza de San Francisco
  • La Casa de los Balcones
  • El Teide, which is Spain's highest mountain
  • Iglesia de La Concepción (church), one of the best examples of Baroque era in the Canary Islands
  • Sociedad Liceo de Taoro

Photos edit

Persons edit

In literature edit

The English author Christopher Isherwood describes completing his novel Mr Norris Changes Trains in La Orotava in the summer of 1934 in chapter 10 of his autobiography Christopher and His Kind.

The English author Radclyffe Hall in chapter 37, section 3, of her novel "The Well of Loneliness" has her character Stephen Gordon state to her love interest Mary Llewellyn,"I'd like to get you right away for a bit, the weather seems pretty awful in Paris. Puddle once told me about Teneriffe, she went there ages ago with a pupil. She stayed at a place called Orotava; it's lovely, I believe – do you think you'd enjoy it?"

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  2. ^ Instituto Canario de Estadística Archived 18 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Histórico de La Orotava[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Histórico de La Orotava[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Historical Background | Villa de la Orotava".
  6. ^ Instituto Nacionbal de Estadistica, Madrid, 2023.
  7. ^ "Find Us Archived 17 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine." British School of Tenerife. Retrieved on 13 February 2016. "La Luz Carretera de La Luz S/N; 38300 La Orotava"