The City Hall of Candelariathrough the Department of Canarian Identity and Historical Heritage, has begun the development of a project to restore the sculptural ensemble of the Menceyes Guanches, located on the Los Menceyes boulevard, to which it gives its name, since the year 2000. Currently , the tastings and sampling of the mortar have already been carried out, as well as photographs of all the sculptures in order to carry out a detailed examination of the intervention that must be carried out, given the evident deterioration that some sculptures made on stone.
The mayor of Candelaria, Mari Brito, and the councilor for Canarian Identity and Historical Heritage, Manuel González, highlight the importance of this project that aims to restore and preserve these sculptures that date from 1959 and that were originally located in the Plaza de la Patrona of the Canary Islands, when they were placed there just the year that the current Basilica was inaugurated. The objective of the City Council with this intervention is to value this important cultural heritage of the municipality, which, due to the material with which it is made, the passage of time and marine and wind erosion, has been deteriorated.
In addition to the restoration, it is intended to incorporate interpretive signage so that locals and visitors can learn about the history of the complex and what Guanche mencey each of them is.
From Kings to Abbot
The sculptures date from 1959 and were created by Alfredo Reyes Darias, on the occasion of the construction of the first square and the inauguration of the basilica, which took place that year. They were located in the Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias until 1993, when they were replaced by the current set of sculptures, with bronze menceyes by the sculptor José Abad.
The brutalism and ingenuity of these sculptures contrast with the heroic vision of the menceys who replaced them. Both sets are a reflection of the changes in mentalities in Canarian society regarding the construction of the imagined Guanche.
They represent the nine menceyes who ruled Tenerife at the time of the Castilian conquest in 1496. The island was divided into nine menceyatos or territories: Abona, Adeje, Anaga, Daute, Güímar, Icod, Tacoronte, Taoro and Tegueste, whose inhabitants were known as Guanches.