First settled by Phoenicians around 1100 BC, the Canary Islands were noted by Pliny the Elder (circa 50 AD) as the “Purple Islands,” home of the rare Murex Snail from which purple dye was extracted for royal clothing. Lanzarote, the easternmost of the Canaries, was a temperate garden of earthly delights up until 1730 but then all hell broke loose. Over the following six years more than 100 volcanoes, known as the Montañas del Fuego, or Mountains of Fire, erupted. Even today temperatures 50 feet underground can reach 1,000 degrees. One volcano, Timanfaya, is still considered active.
Located 150 miles of the southwestern coast of Morocco, and the easternmost of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote is also home to 140,000 people who are predominately employed by the year-round tourism industry.
Photograph of Timanfaya National Park by Victoria Rivas.