Lanzarote and the other Canary Islands are close to major shipping routes between Europe, Africa and America. It is situated at a distance of some 621,37 miles from the Iberian Peninsula and 62,14 miles from the coast of Africa. The six small islands commonly know as the Chinijo Archipelago
lie at the northern tip of Lanzarote.
Lanzarote is the most north – eastern of the Canary Islands with a surface are of approximately 800 Km2. It is volcanic, fairly low-level island with a maximum altitude of just under 2.296,59 feet above the sea level.
Dating back some 19 million years, Lanzarote is a volcanic island and one of the world’s most exceptional centres for volcanic studies. The volcanic characteristics can be studied in two places on the island; the Visitor’s Museum in Timanfaya National Park, Mancha Blanca and the Volcano House located in “Jameos del Agua”.
The two last volcanic eruptions took place over a period of six years between 1730 and 1736 and again in 1824. The volcanoes lie dormant today and the likelihood of further volcanic eruptions does not pose any threat nowadays. There are more than 300 craters on the island and approximately one hundred of which are classified as relatively modern since they take back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The volcanoes devastated the face of the island wiping villages and the majority of the fertile farming lands by burying them in a sea of lava. These eruptions form the malpaís or “badlands” –vast areas of petrified lava. The Fire Mountains region alone covers a surface area of approx. 200 km2 –roughly a quarter of the island.
When attempting to explain the origins of the Canary Islands, many resorts to the myth that they are the remains of the vast underwater continent of Atlantis. Although this theory does not carry much credence today it does serve to prove that Ancient Greeks were aware of the existence of the Islands which ware known to them as Hesperides. This is confirmed in the writers of Plato, Homer and Hesiod. Furthermore recent archaeological discoveries made underwater also provide evidence that Rome had been present in the Canarian Archipelago long before the islands were conquered.