The wedding, the volcano and the legend of the Devil of Timanfaya
The Gran Canarian palms
Legend has it that the Fire Mountains of Timanfaya, Lanzarote, shook the fateful September 1, 1730, a day that marked the future of the island forever. they rained hundreds of rocks, the island was devastated by rivers of lava and the destruction and the desolation extended six agonizing years.
At the moment in which Guayota woke up, the demon of fire that lives in the Canarian volcanoes, a wedding was taking place in the vicinity of these mountains. A couple made up of the son of one of the wealthiest inhabitants of the island and a young woman whose family was dedicated to growing healing plants declared their love surrounded by relatives, friends and neighbors from all corners of Lanzarote.
The destruction came in the middle of the ceremony, with lava bombs and rocks falling from the sky in a moment that was experienced as the end of the world. The guests ran in terror before the force of the volcano, but in its enormous destruction not everyone was lucky. The misfortune it came to the bride, who was buried by a large rock from the volcano before being able to find a shelter that would save her from Guayota’s wrath.
The groom, seeing what had happened, took a five pointed forge and he tried by all means to free his beloved from the huge stone, trying to save her from her fateful fate. When he finally succeeded, he could only confirm that his fiancée had passed away under the capricious fury of the volcano. Desperate and desolate, without letting go of the forge, the groom raised his beloved and ran across the valley looking for help and shelter.
Those who could see the scene, between the smoke, the ash and the rain of lava bombs that terrified the town, could not help but lament the fate of the couple and empathize with the desolation of the groom. “Poor Devil,” they said.
Now, the memory of the burning land of Lanzarote is symbolized by that figure that carries a forge on high, the Devil of Timanfaya that remembers that day in 1730 that marked a before and after on the island, making it theirs for six years and starring in the longest and most destructive volcanic eruption that the Canary Islands have experienced.
Juan Mendez Quesada He is an amateur photographer and every day he passes through this monument and this national park, constructing in his imagination the photo that would illustrate the legend of his people. After nine months, around 5:45 p.m. and before darkness took over the space, the rabbit photographer found the perfect moment, using a sunset in the background and the interpretation given by his camera and his telephoto lens.
To some 300 meters and letting nature show all its magic, Juan Méndez finally managed to immortalize that image that was a symbol of the volcanic entrails of Lanzarote, with a ray of sun that enters the clouds recalling that firestorm that took over the territory almost 300 years ago.
National Geographic has chosen the photo of Juan Méndez Quesada to tell the story of this unique space, a international recognition which, as Méndez has expressed to ABC, he has received with all satisfaction.
A shot of motivation
Juan Méndez Quesada learned photography as a hobby and every time he puts «more desire and commitment» to this passion. That National Geographic has opted for his photography was “a pleasant surprise” because “it is a difficult photo and when you achieve it and your work is recognized, it is a great satisfaction.”
It is not the first time that National Geographic has chosen Méndez’s creations, it is the fifth photograph that they publish “When a page or magazine recognizes you like this, it motivates me a lot to continue enjoying photography and learning a little more every time.”
land of volcanoes
The Timanfaya National Park is a protected natural space between the municipalities of Yaiza and Tinajo, a space that narrates a volcanic past and that receives each year more than 1.6 million visitors.
Their 51 square kilometers of history built on lava make it the fourth most visited national park in Spain and the second national park in number of visitors in the Canary Islands, only behind Teide National Park in Tenerife.
It was declared a national park on August 9, 1974, and in its volcanic area hosts more than 25 volcanoes, which erupted between 1720 and 1736 and in 1824, the date since which this mountain range has remained dormant. In addition to the Montañas del Fuego, this park has other volcanoes such as Montaña Rajada or Caldera del Corazoncillo.
Today, after several centuries without eruptions, it still has volcanic activity, with hot spots on the surface reaching 100-120 degrees and 600 degrees just 13 meters deep.