The municipality of Tegueste is located to the north-east of Tenerife. Housed in a wide basin, it is completely enclosed by San Cristóbal de La Laguna, being the only town in the Canary Islands that shows this feature. It is also one of the three municipalities that are not comprised by a coastline, along with El Tanque and Vilaflor de Chasna. Prior to the conquest of the Islands, the Menceyato of Tegueste -name used to refer to native guanche kingdoms- was of one of the nine the island of Tenerife was divided into. The archaeological remains found in the area -a necropolis, dwelling caves and utensils- attest to its past importance. Currently, and due to its close location to the metropolitan area, the benign climate and its magnificent setting among other factors it has become a highly sought after residential area.
The Villa of Tegueste stands out for its marked rural character. Agriculture, favoured by the trade winds, and cattle breeding have historically been the village’s main economic livelihood. Wine is probably the most valued produce of those found in Tegueste, and it is included in the Tacoronte-Acentejo Designation of Origin. In the last few decades the tertiary sector has become increasingly important, as has been the case in many other municipalities in the archipelago.
What to see
Tegueste’s old town, which comprises the area surrounding San Marcos church and was declared a Cultural Interest Site within the Historical category in 1986. Most of the town’s attractions are concentrated in a relatively small space, so it is possible to visit them all on the same day.
Camino de Los Laureles road
This can be a good starting point for a stroll around the town. Known in the 19th century as “Don Marcos Alley”, it is one of the environmental symbols of Tegueste, boasting a tree-lined track where ancient plant species found in the green forest have been preserved -laurel trees, Visnea mocanera, canary laurel, etc.-. It was part of the ancient royal way, which was the main route connecting with La Laguna. While short, this walk is not without charm. The perfect place for a nice walk and to enjoy the silence and peace reigning in the area.
Zamorano Family House
This villa boasts 6 hectares of surface and is devoted to the cultivation of vineyards, fruit trees and ecological orchards. It is also home to a winepress, a plot, an area for livestock trailing and an approved circuit for cross country running competitions. The Zamorano House currently houses an interpretation centre where the Villa’s rich heritage is displayed, showcasing the landscape, cultural, ethnographic and oenological resources of Tegueste.
San Marcos Evangelista Church
Its construction was not completed for many years during which the building works and expansions were constant. The inside is home to the image of Saint Mark the Evangelist, in whose honour a procession is held every year in April. It is one of the town’s nerve points.
Agua de Dios ravine
Declared a Cultural Interest Site in 2006 in the Archaeological Zone category, this space tells the story of the region’s aboriginal past. The archaeological findings made in the ravine have been key to understanding the past of Tegueste.
Tegueste Farmer’s Market
Open every Saturday and Sunday, the Farmer’s and Antiques Market of the Villa of Tegueste is comprised of 34 stalls exhibiting and origin selling local produce. It is located very close to the main road and boasts plenty of parking spaces. An excellent offer with food safety guarantees which highlights the variety and quality of local products.
Tegueste stands out due to being one of the municipalities that has most contributed to the revival and dissemination of Canarian traditions, among other things. The San Marcos Evangelista pilgrimage, the historic importance of Canarian wrestling in the municipality, the preservation of traditions such as the Dance of the Flowers, and the performance of the Livery are perhaps the best examples of this.
The Tegueste pilgrimage honouring St Mark the Evangelist is an exaltation of the island’s folklore and tradition and the most popular of the many pilgrimages held in Tenerife. Carts adorned with farm produce, folk groups coming from every island, cattle herds, yokes, traditional dances, and typical foods and beverages are the main ingredients to this celebration bringing together tens of thousands of people every year.
Tegueste is one of the municipalities where Canarian wrestling has traditionally been more firmly established. The Terreno Insular de Lucha Mencey Tegueste wrestling field and the Mercatenerife Tegueste Fight Club are located within the municipality. The tribute sculpture to the most popular Canarian sport that can be seen at the main entrance to the town’s city centre underlines the importance of Canarian wrestling in Tegueste’s culture and society.
The Dance of the Flowers has its origin in the 16th century. This unique tradition has its participants performing the “tajaraste” dance to the drum beat and the sound of castanets around a central pole, to which dancers are tied to with chains made of flowers and bows -in other places this is done with ribbons-.
The Livery of Tegueste was declared of Cultural Interest within the Local Scope category in 2007. It consists of a theatre performance in which a militia commanded by a captain parade in the procession of the Virgen de los Remedios virgin, accompanied by the Dance of the Flowers and by three boats carried on oxen-drawn carts representing the major neighbourhoods in the municipality and the struggle to defend their land against frequent seaborne assaults to the island. The show culminates with the battle between the boats and the castle, the latter wins the fight thanks to the intercession of the Virgin, after what the boats are forced to retreat, bringing joy to the audience.