Valsequillo, The Jewel of Gran Canaria
Vega de San Mateo and Santa Brígida to the north, and bordering Valsequillo to the south are the municipalities of Telde, Agüimes and Ingenio. Nestled in the northern part of the Gran Canaria, Valsequillo enjoys, cooler mean temperatures of under 20 degrees centigrade, compared with the much hotter, arid southern tip of Gran Canaria, making Valsquillo an area of great importance for Flora and Fauna. The Flora that can be found in Valsequillo includes a great representation of the flora endemic to the island of Gran Canaria. This along with what may be the only natural water course on the eastern side of Gran Canaria, allows Valsquillo to be the home of a diverse range of fauna as well. For example the bird life that can be found here, includes, long eared owls, European robins, wagtails, turtle doves, canaries, grassland, yellow tailed finches and linnets. All are well represted in the Los Marteles Crater area of Valsequillo.
History of Valsquillo
Due to the altitude that Valsequillo occupies, it was an area of great relgious importance for the ancient guanche people of Gran Canaria. Proof of this can be found in the Almogarén ceremonial site located at the summit of the sacred mountain in El Helechal. Also waiting to be discovered are the caves that the guanche used to live in, located on the slopes of the San Miguel ravine. These are specifically at Tecén and Los Llanetes. We have discovered evidence that the Castilians penetrated this area through the Tecén ravine, during which a bloody and ferocious battle ensued, after the conquerors reached the San Miguel ravine. Since this time the area has become known as the Lugar de la Sepultura and Sepultura de El Colmenar, where a cross of Christ has been erected in El Helechal. In 1530, Cuartel de El Colmenar cavalry barracks, were constructed close to the San Miguel ravine.
A chapel was built in the year 1670 and subsequently instituted into the Saint Michael Archangel parish in 1800 by Bishop Verdugo. Two years later by Royal decree Valsequillo was to get it´s own town hall and consequently, autonomy and separation from the municipality of Telde. The year 1802 saw the election of the first mayor that was completely independent from Telde and thus the year that the municipality of Valsequillo was constituted.
Economy and Population of Valsequillo
Valsequillo has seen a decline and rise in the numbers of it´s permanent residents over the years. The population of Valsequillo grew from 3210 in 1860 to 6261 by the year 1950 when a gradual decline by 1981 to 5733 produced by people leaving Valsequillo and relocating to eastern areas to work in the farming and production of sugar cane, and southern areas to work in the labour and tourism market which at it´s height produced a great deal of construction work. There has been an increase over recent years and in 2007 the population of Valsequillo stood at 9407. Houses are dispersed throughout Valsequillo and it not uncommon to see a small group of homes clustered together by the roadside. This can be clearly seen in Tenteniguada, Las Vegas, Casco de Valsequillo and La Barrera. The economy of Valsequillo is driven by the dedication of it´s residents to different service industries and farming. Many families living in Valsequillo complement their own personal economy by self consumption farming with the predominating crops coming from potato, vegetables, beans and cereals. Other really important crops coming out of Valsequillo are strawberries and of course almonds. Valsequillo is currently in the process of modernizing the farming methods in the area and is battling the eternal problem of water and irrigation. To counter this, Valsequillo has drawn up a council body to deal with this issue. The council, called the consortium of irrigation organizations of Valsequillo is represented by the five communities that exist within Valsequillo. The municipality of Valsequillo also has relevance to the farming of sheep and goats, possibly due to the quality of the grazing that Valsequillo offers. The secondary products arising from this is the production of cheese, many of which are still hand made in the traditional way and also other dairy products. As with Teror Valsequillo is also home to water bottling. The brand of water that comes out of Valsequillo is Fuente Niguada. The water that is bottled is from a natural spring source. AGUACANA S.A. is the company bottling this top quality water. Valsequillo also has a market every sunday, which is also open to the general public. Through this market the local people of Valsequillo sell local produce and handicrafts thus increasing local production and a valuable boost to the local economy.
Products of Valsequillo
With the dedication to quality not just of the products coming out of Valsequillo but also of the care and time put into stockbreeding it is little wonder that any information about Valsequillo should include more detailed information about the goods that Valsequillo produces.
Quesos (Cheeses) from Valsequillo
These products include Cheese, made in the style of cottage industry cheese production, yet without sacrificing health and hygiene. Valsequillo cheeses have obtained great prestige, and also won many awards through national and regional cheese tasting contests.
Below is a list of the names of the Cottage dairies of Valsequillo - the cheeses usually take their names from that of the dairy.
- Quesos Los LLanetes - Hoya León.
- Quesos Angelita.
- Quesos Roque Grande.
- Quesos Pitango.
- Quesos La Vega Vieja.
- Quesos Zacarias.
- Quesos Caprican.
- Quesos Empleita.
- Las Cuevas.
- Quesos Lalo.
- Quesos Antonio Toscano.
- Quesos Los Risquetes.
- Quesos Los Medianías de Valsequillo
- Quesos El Rincón de Tenteniguada.
Honey from Valsequillo
Honey from Valsequillo is rich and varied due to the different pollens that the surrounding environment has available. The rich and diverse flowering plant life that is available produces honey with a diverse range of colours and flavours. More than this, the Bee is also used to produce Propoleo, Pollen, and even honey Wine.
Wine and home made Jam from Valsequillo
The wines, like the cheeses that are produced in Valsequillo have won many awards in national and regional contests, giving us an idea of just how high the standard of Valsequillo wine is. The wine produced is of Red, White and sweet varieties. There are a number of different wineries that are under operation in the municipality of Valsequillo. The municipality of Valsequillo has also gained popularity for it´s home made jams and marmalades. Valsabor is just one of the companies producing the jams, which include varieties such as, banana, mango, of course strawberry, and even slightly more unusual varieties like, tomato and salad red pepper.
Villages in Valsequillo
You will already know from above the names of some of villages in Valsequillo. Now we will go into a little more detail about each one, starting with
La Barrera is on the boundary of the municipality of Valsequillo 3 kilometers from the urban centre of Casco de Valsequillo and is currently one of the most inmportant neighbourhoods of Valsequillo. La Barrera is the doorway to la Bega de Valsequillo and extends along an area that has undergone important urban development. Surrounding La Barrera there is a dominance of greenhouses where many flowers and vegetables are grown. It is important to mention here the strawberry crop which has achieved a high level acceptance onto the marketplace. During the month of August there are many festivities that take place around the flower growing market, turning La Barrera into a sea of colour. A building of note in La Barrera is the Casa del Conde which dates back to the last century. At the extreme eastern point of La Barrera is a new park named ofter the greatest rancher of the rancho de Ánimas de Valsequillo, Miguelito Calderín.
Casco de Valsequillo
Casco de Valsequillo is located at the centre of the municipality, which historically was at the centre of all the farming activity in the area. Casco de Valsequillo is where you will find the centre for most of the public services for the municipality, including, The town hall, the local police, post office, health centre, Market terroro de lucha (a peat soil wrestling ring for la lucha canaria) and many educational and sports centres. El Casco de Valsequillo is also home to some buildings of great historical and cultural interest. For example the Cuartel de El Colmenar (El Colmenar barracks which date back to 1530) and the San Miguel Arcángel church which also contains come important relics. El Casco de Valsequillo is also the point at which many trails or paths meet connecting all the surrounding neighbourhoods with centre of the municipality.
Tenteniguada and El Rincón.
Tenteniguada is located at the uppermost western point of the municipality of Valsequillo approcimately 5 kilometers from Casco de Valsequillo. Tenteniguada is the home of a church that was built in the early 1900´s un honour of Saint John the Baptist. Tenteniguada is also home to an important water bottling industry, as well as a large number of artisans. El Rincón de Tenteniguada is about 7 kilometers away drom El Casco de Valsequillo at the foot of the Tenteniguada crater. El Rincón stands out because of the natural beauty of it´s surroundings. The abundance of Morello cherry trees that grow here has given rise to a yearly festival that takes place in the month of July. Agriculture and livestock are also of huge importance to El Rincón de Tenteniguada.
The main economy for this area comes from the service industries although it is understood that strawberry crops are the prime source of income for some of the farmers. Having said that Livestock rearing is on the increase in the area, especially goat herds. Las Vegas also has some excellent examples of traditional Canarian architecture, with La Hacienda de los Mocanes and La Hacienda del Buen Suceso, both dating from the 17th century are perhaps the highlights.
Valle de San Roque
Valle de San Roque is to be found in the northeast of the municipality of Valsequillo and about 5 kilometers away from Casco de Valsequillo. Valle de San Roque has a wealth of medicinal mineral water which is found in it´s subsoil. The historical traditions of Valle de San Roque are interlinked and based upon the patron saint of San Roque. San Roque is so close the the border between Valsequillo amd Telde that it is said that the priest used to get dressed in Telde and hold mass in Valsequillo. One of the greatest attractions in Valle de San Roque is the palm grove of Phoenix Canariensis that carpets the Valley.
Era de Mota
Era de Mota is around 3 kilometers away from Casco de Valsequillo and perched atop a hillock. Era de Mota rises in stature above others for it´s agriculture and livestock rearing and is perhaps is the reason that the harvest festival in July takes place here. A gorgeous and lush landscape unfolds before you with the surrounding hills laden with almond trees.
Los LLanetes can be found on the road that leads from Valsequillo to Telde on the right hand edges of the San Miguel Ravine. This would explain the antiquity of the settlement. Los LLanetes means flatlands, or land that has at the most, a gentle slope. When considering the surrounding the area it is easy to see that this is where the name of the village has come from. It is to be mentioned that one of the oldest traditions of the area takes place here every year on the Día del Pino (Day of the pines). The traditional celebration is in the form of cow fighting.
Lomitos de Correa, Juagarzos and La Palma
These three areas blend into one and are perched on top of a hillock like Era de Mota. Lomitos de Correa, Juagarzos and La Palma are approcimately 2 kilometers from Casco de Valsequillo. The origin of the name Lomitos de Correa is unclear although it is believed it could be in honour of Don Luis de Correa, who was a distinguished man from Tenteniguada who chose to settle here. In ancient times, the people lived in caves and the economy was based upon farming. This area has continued to maintain a strong goat breeding tradition.
This is a village in the municipality of Valsequillo that still to this day has a prehispanic name. Tecén is located on the edge of the San Miguel Ravine bank. Homes in prehispanic times were caves, which were usually located in the sunnier parts of the area. The caves were also used as silos and burial places. Tecén with close proximity to Telde shares services provided by the municipality of Telde and that of Valsequillo. It was not until after the conquest but before the 17th centruy that Tecén was consolidated as a community, albeit small. Today the population has risen to a staggering 250. This is due to an improvement in communications and because the area has gained popularity for weekend residences.
As you have read, most of the neighbourhoods in the municipality of Valsequillo have grown up around agriculture and farming, however La Cantera is different. La Cantera is a short distance of 2 kilometers away from Casco de Valsequillo and it´s origin comes from quarry stone. Some of this stone was actually used in the construction of one of the alcoves in San Juan de Telde church.
Luis Verde and Las Casas
The name of Luis Verde Coronado first appears in 1554 in the Gran Canaria repartimientos. With the commercial boom that Gran Canaria enjoyed with exports of wine to Europe, there is no doubt that this area of Valsequillo profited greatly from viniculture and wine production. Other crops that have been significant to the area have included subsistence farming and fruit orchard crops. Beginning in 1975 this area has seen an increase in the size of it´s population and the gradual emergence of residential housing. The Guerra de Aguilar estate was of intrinsic importance to the area because amongst it´s buildings it had a wine cellar and wine press. In the courtyard of this estate you can find a thousand year old Dragon tree.