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    Sayılar    Sayı 6    ENGLISH    Canary Islands
Canary Islands Murat Selam

When we descend to land I saw the Canary Islands behind the clouds. I was really suprized the height of the islands especially the Tenerife island with its famous snow-capped volcano Teide.

After landing I can observe the volcanic nature of the island as well as the Teide volcano which I will see from every part of the island. Some historians suppose that the legendary continent Atlantis was located here. It was believed that the islands were the uppermost peaks of the lost continent of Atlantis.

In 1496 the islands became part of the Spanish kingdom. Canary Islands are situated in the Atlantic Ocean 110 km from the African coasts with 7 islands, which is divided into two provinces. At the east, the first one called Las Palmas with 3 islands: Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote; At the west, Tenerife, la Palma, Gomera and Hierro are part of the second province named Santa Cruz de Tenerife. With a population of 1.5 billion the main Resources and income are bananas and tourism.

The high season is December (which I visited at that time); January and February with an average temperature of 19-22° C. It was near Christmas time and most of the buildings were ornamented.
The Canary Islands has a warm, sunny climate with an average temperature of 18-30° throughout the year that allows any kind of vegetation. The varied altitude and rich volcanic soils have combined to create several biological treasures in the Canaries. About half of the islands' 2000 plant species are endemic, including the variety of orchids the Canary Island palm, the Canary pine and the famous dragon tree, an ancient survivor that thrived before the last ice age.

Each of the Canary Island has its own characteristic such as volcanic deserts, Craters, Forests, Canyons, high size rocks , high hills and mountains. Because of the volcanic natures most of the seashores has black sand beaches.

Since there is no river in any island, water is obtained from water treatment stations.

The Canary Island palm and the well designed gardens adds beauty to the islands. Besides the plant species there are several animal species only belong to these islands.

Especially among the 200 bird species the parrot and the canaries are widespread.

Because of the last volcanic eruptions in 1824, Lanzarote has a rocky landscape, which is spiked with nearly 300 volcanic cones, which resembles with the moon surface. Fuerteventura Island is so African with its sand dunes and shores. La Palma has a climate that allows all kinds of vegetation. That's why it's the greenest one.

Hierro is the smallest. Because of its high size, Gomera looks like a real fortress.

The largest island of the archipelago, Tenerife is interesting for the wide range of landscapes it offers especially with the 3718mt volcano.

Unfortunately with their concreted shorelines, the Canary Islands are one of the most extensively protected territories in Europe, with 42% of the landmass falling under some category of parkland.

One of the interesting places to visit is the Loro Park in Tenerife island, which has many gardens, pools aquariums and more than 200 bird species.

with the largest parrot collection. You can see the parrots everywhere while walking in the streets.

The Teide National Park is the most interesting and most visited park among others because of the Teide Volcano. It is not only the islands highest as well as Spain's highest summit.

Teide Mountain has one of the world's biggest craters with a radius of 19km. There are still some volcanic activities. The most recent eruption was in 1909. It lasted only ten days, producing lava flows that caused some damage. Teide is the third largest volcano on Earth. Like Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea (the first and second largest volcanoes), Pico de Teide is a shield volcano. In 1496 the islands became part of the Spanish kingdom, a short period of time later the ships of Christopher Columbus stopped here on their travel to discover the New World. Columbus observed the volcanic eruption of the Teide that form the Tenerife island's today's shape. Because of the lava flows the island has many slopes and looks like a cone.

There are many routes for daily trekking and hiking in Teide National Park. During my trekking in this area I took a picture of a volcanic rock form which I realized later was a logo of an island's famous banana liqueur brand.

Wine and Liqueur production is another income of the island.

Milli park sınırları içerisinde yer alan İzana dağı bölgesinde Avrupa Uzay Ajansının da kullandığı çok büyük bir astronomi gözlemevi yer almakta.

In the territory of this national park one of the largest observatories is located in the izana mountain region. Since my brother is an Astronomer I got the chance to visit the observatory which looks like a base in the moons surface. Another observatory is located in the Gran Canaria Island.

The Capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife has many buildings from 17th Century.

There are many places for entertainment including a symphony orchestra founded in 1930. One of the interesting events is a festival that you can observe the carpets made by earth.

With its natural beauties, parks, museums, shores, entertainment places the Canary Islands is one of the interesting places on Earth.

Murat Selam
December 2000

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