Ecomuseo La Alcogida

Having photographed a ruined, traditionally built Fuerteventuran village at La Florida, I was delighted to find the Ecomuseo La Alcogida.  We’d passed through this place many times not realising just how extensive this museum was.  A whole village, just like La Florida had been, renovated using the traditional building materials available to the builders just as the village of La Florida would have been constructed.  We had traversed the island many times and passed through this museum on numerous occasions.  I’m so glad we decided to stop.

Limestone is plentiful on the island of Fuerteventura and was used to build the houses.  A lime and sand mortar was used to build and fill the gaps while lime plaster lined the walls inside the homes.  Bamboo laid across beams and the covered in mud and straw provided a nearly waterproof roof.  Most houses had an oven, built in the same way, attached to the house for baking bread.  These ovens and this method of making the daily bread as well perhaps, as making casseroles, still exist, attached to many properties and are still used to this day.

These are simple dwellings with dirt floors but with no need for heating given a very temperate climate all year round, I found the idea of moving into one of these simple houses very attractive.  However, I didn’t come across any bathrooms.  Certainly no showers in the older properties.  I wonder how they managed these particular needs.  A dip in the ocean perhaps..?  I’m sure I could manage without electricity, not sure I could manage without a toilet and a shower.

Anyway, here are some photographs of what La Florida would once have looked like.

I Was interested to see the same stains down the walls in the refurbished homes as I’d seen in the ruins of La Florida.  Clearly on the rare occasions when it rains, the rain finds a way in where the mud roofs meet the walls.

35 responses

  1. What a fantastic and interesting post of thaeway the bild houses and the way how it looks.A lot of this makes me so curiosy over where they have to find water and vegetables and other things need to life their life.Magnificent photos and informations

    November 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    • Thank you Lou. There’s a lot to understand that I wasn’t able to find the answers to on my last visit. Next time hopefully I will find out more. :-)

      November 3, 2017 at 4:12 pm

  2. Nil

    Great photos of a lovely house… I just love the kitchen/dining room! You could always rig a camper’s shower with a bamboo screen around it in that climate. But the problem might be finding enough water for it, maybe?

    November 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm

  3. Great shots Adrian, I love these style of social history museums

    November 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    • Thank you Mark. It was unfortunate that there wasn’t a wheelchair available so I couldn’t get around the whole village. These places are interesting and very well done..

      November 4, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      • That’s not good….take care

        November 4, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      • Thank you Mark, I will

        November 6, 2017 at 9:11 am

  4. How attractive those buildings look, if perhaps a little worrying about what happens when it rains!

    November 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    • They hadn’t worked out the need for the roof to extend beyond the walls so the water could flow into a gutter. That said, the rain is rare. Thank you Paula!

      November 4, 2017 at 4:07 pm

  5. There’s a tree outside looking awfully green given the dry surroundings . . . hint: you might have found the bathroom.

    November 4, 2017 at 2:40 am

    • I think you may have put your finger on it Emilio! :-)

      November 4, 2017 at 4:05 pm

  6. Thanks for sharing!

    November 4, 2017 at 10:15 am

    • You’re welcome. Thank you Isabel! :-)

      November 4, 2017 at 3:43 pm

  7. A fascinating location. I wonder if there would have been a separate communal bathroom. I can’t imagine why, but just thinking out loud.

    November 5, 2017 at 4:28 am

    • Thank you Mr Dragon. I wonder if that is probably what they had. For washing, all these villages, even today, rely on wells for water so I guess there’d be washing facilities located close to the village well.

      November 6, 2017 at 9:13 am

  8. Nice pictures, Adrian! :) I especially love the one with lights and shadows and a blue circle.. As for your question, maybe digging a hole in the ground..? ;)

    November 5, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    • Thank you Camilla. I think that is perhaps the only solution.. :-)

      November 6, 2017 at 9:10 am

  9. I too love such museums, though the ones I’m familiar with are generally from 19th Century America. These photos are fascinating. I love that bedroom – spare but somehow elegant – and the wonderful walls of contrasting colored stones. Beautiful workmanship!

    November 5, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    • Thank you very much Lee. I felt exactly the same about the bedroom, very elegant. :-)

      November 6, 2017 at 9:14 am

  10. You certainly make this sort of stark dwelling rather appealing. Any idea what the mound shaped structure with the small hole is in the first shot? Or did I miss an explanation?

    November 6, 2017 at 3:32 am

    • Hello Gunta, thank you. The structure you’re asking about is a bread oven. It would also probably have been used to slow cook casseroles etc. :-)

      November 6, 2017 at 9:15 am

      • It was easy enough to recognize the structure in the 5th photo as an oven of some sort, given the chimney. But looking at the first shot, I don’t see the chimney so it was a bit confusing. Are there two distinct ovens?

        November 8, 2017 at 3:36 am

      • These were too distinct ovens and I think in the first shot, the vent was just out of sight. :-)

        November 8, 2017 at 11:33 am

  11. Classic and nice textures :)

    November 7, 2017 at 6:27 am

  12. Very interesting! The construction – the way the rocks are set – is beautiful, especially when contrasting colors and sizes were used – they brought their house-building to an art. You showed that to beautiful effect in the first two photos – especially the second, I love that. I bet that bread is excellent, assuming someone is still making it that way, somewhere on the island. The bedroom has a very nostalgic air. The homes look dark, but I know it’s incredibly bright outdoors so I suppose that was a respite. I’m with you on the electricity & toilet/shower!

    November 7, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    • Thank you Lynn. I knew from the ruins of La Florida that these were beautifully constructed buildings. It was so interesting to see these renovated versions and just how beautiful they are and how lovely the village of La Florida must once have been. I think the dark cool interiors would indeed provide a respite to the heat. In summer it can get up to 40°C plus, that’s 104f so very hot. A dark cool interior would be exactly what you’d want. I’ve noticed these same qualities in more modern homes that I’ve stayed in. I’ve seen the bread ovens all over the island and believe they are still used today. What better way to get fresh bread in the morning and a nice slow cooked casserole that’s been in the oven all day. :-)

      November 8, 2017 at 11:30 am

  13. Fascinating shapes and textures – your images really tell the story of this place, Adrian. I really like the image with the blue dot with the shape of the light and the colors.

    November 7, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    • Thank you Jane. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to visit the whole village as I didn’t have a wheelchair and the village was quite spread out. Far too hot to struggle round on my crutches but the buildings I was able to photograph I’m glad told the story for you. I just loved those mud and straw roofs. So neat, even though not entirely waterproof given there are no eaves. :-)

      November 8, 2017 at 11:32 am

  14. They are wonderfully atmospheric, aren’t they, and I love the domed bread oven! :) :)

    November 8, 2017 at 7:39 am

    • Thank you Jo. It’s nice to know there are still people using these ovens in the traditional way. :-)

      November 8, 2017 at 11:34 am

  15. Lovely shots of Freilichtmuseum La Alcogida and an interesting tale, Adrian. I especially like the one with the blue circle, blown up it looks absolutely amazing, but all the photos are really nice and would easily make a great brochure.
    Sending you both warm greetings from Cley! :-) Hugs. x

    November 11, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    • Thank you very much Hanne. It was a lovely place to visit. The blue circle photograph still has me mystified. I hope you have a great week. Very warm greeting to you and Klausbernd from Malvern. Finally we’re seeing some sunshine after a very grey start to the day. :-) x

      November 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

  16. That is quite a place. I am not sure I would have had the patience for such a place. Just making dinner would take hours without electricity. And no shower? Fun for a couple of days, but that’s it… Captivating images, Adrian. Are these dwellings still in use?

    November 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    • Hello Otto,
      Thank you. Yes I think life would have been very hard in these dwellings. This is purely a museum and these dwellings are not in use. There are though houses like this all over the island of Fuerteventura though they all have electricity now. Those ovens are still in use though at a lot of homes in the small villages.

      November 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm

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