SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, 26 May. (EUROPE PRESS) –
The Governing Council has declared the ‘Cultural Landscape of the Virgen de los Reyes, Hermitage of the Virgen de los Reyes, Cuevas del Caracol and Camino de la Virgen’ to be of Cultural Interest, with the category of Cultural Landscape. This is the first BIC declaration in this category since the approval of the 2019 Canary Islands Cultural Heritage Law.
The declaration as a Cultural Landscape defines the place where tangible and intangible heritage assets converge, representative of historical-cultural evolution, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and human factors and, where appropriate, with landscape values and environmental, to become support of the identity of a community.
The Cultural Landscape of the Virgen de Los Reyes more than meets these characteristics as it is made up of real estate linked to each other for different reasons, as well as a rich intangible heritage in the collective ideology of El Hierro through the festivities around the cult to the Virgin of the Kings, Patron Saint of the Island.
It is not only a natural landscape that unfolds along the spine that runs through the Island from west to east, varying depending on the greater or lesser human footprint embodied in the environment; Above all, it is a cultural landscape, where traditions permeate every corner of the geography it encompasses, which could even extend to the entire island.
It is made up of a complex made up of immovable elements such as the Sanctuary of the Virgen de Los Reyes, the Montaña y Alar del Caracol and Montaña de la Virgen, and the Camino de la Virgen, interrelated with each other by a whole series of socioeconomic aspects.
But, in addition, there is the confluence of these material heritage assets with others of an immaterial nature, which turn out to be representative of the historical-cultural evolution of the whole it encompasses, as a result of the action and interaction of natural and human factors, with landscape values. and environmental, and with the display of rites and customs around it that end up configuring one of the supports of El Hierro’s identity.
The Cultural Landscape of the Virgen de Los Reyes is born in La Dehesa communal, to the west of the island of El Hierro. It is in this territorial context where many of the real estate that make it up are found and where a rich cultural tradition unfolds around the protagonist that gives this Asset of Cultural Interest its name.
Under the generic name of ‘La Dehesa’, a large area located to the west of the island is known that historically and traditionally has functioned as a community pasture, for the preferential rearing of sheep, a use that probably dates back to the stage of the first settlement island human.
From the archaeological point of view, the territory of La Dehesa presents great potential, the result of the antiquity of human presence in the place in the first colonization carried out on the Island by the Bimbape or Bimbache community, on dates close to the change of era
The territory is framed in a wide area that occupies various altitude levels from the shore to 1,260 meters above sea level in the Binto Fountain, with an area estimated in the 1950s of the 20th century at about 5,000 hectares.
Currently there are 47 caves in the area of Montaña Las Cuevas, Montaña El Caracol and Montaña de la Virgen alone, which would reach a total of 66 if we add the 6 in Lomo Bermejo and 13 with a scattered location.
La Dehesa, today, continues to exercise its pastoral role, enhanced by the event that places in this place the origin of the legend about the acquisition by the shepherds, in 1546, of a Marian image that will end up becoming the Patron of the Island, as well as a symbol of peace and social cohesion. It is precisely in the history of this image of the Virgen de los Reyes that the physical and immaterial elements that give rise to the Cultural Landscape of the Virgen de Los Reyes converge.