Arrecife has two castles on the waterfront, Castillo San José is situated overlooking Puerto Naos.
This castle was built between 1776 and 1779 as ordered by King Don Carlos III. It was positioned at the port to look out for pirates and known locally as the ‘Fortress of Hunger’, because the construction helped to provide employment and alleviate hunger for the Conejeros, who were struggling against thirst, hunger and disease following the six years of volcanic eruptions.
The castle was restored in the 1970’s, there are two main galleries and some smaller rooms that house sculptures. Castillo San José is home to the International Museum of Contemporary Art (MIAC) since 1974 and includes modern artwork from leading Canarian artists such as Millares, Lasso and of course César Manrique.
Baltasar Lobo – Grand nu Allangé – 1959
Juan Antonio Giraldo – Homodaos – 1974
Amador A Rodríguez – Doble Cubo Apaisado – 1978
If you walk around the castle, you can find “La Marea Creciente” (The Rising Tide) sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor. Visibility of the four men mounted on horses, is dependent upon the tide. The horses heads resemble oil extraction machines and are situated in tidal water as a representation that humans are weak compared to nature’s strength, as we can’t control the waves that submerge them.
Musuem Visiting Hours & Fee
You can visit this art museum and coffee shop daily from 10:00 to 20:00, the entry fee is €4 for adults and €2 for children aged 7-12 years old. Canarian and Lanzarote resident discounts available.
There is a fabulous restaurant in the Castillo San José called Qué-Muac. Access is via the footpath on the left hand side of the castle, and free entry. The restaurant is open for lunch 12:00 – 16:00 Tuesday to Saturday, and evening dining 19:00 – 23:00 drinks 21:30 – 01:00 on Friday & Saturday nights.
You can prebook your dinner reservation, and find the menu here: Castle Dinner
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