To talk about the history of Lake Martiánez, one must first discuss, without fail, the San Telmo Pool, the starting point of the transformation of Martiánez’s coastline and a vestige of what we now know as the Costa Martiánez complex. This original construction was carried out in 1957 and was promoted by the port builder José Manuel Sotomayor Carmona and the former German RAF pilot Rudolf David Gilbert. In November 1956, Sotomayor Carmona requested a license from the municipality, then headed by Isidoro Luz Carpenter, for an administrative concession to build and operate a natural pool in an area of Martiánez Beach located behind the square and San Telmo hermitage, in the area known as Charco de los Piojos.

In January 1957, the works began under the direction of the surveyor Juan Davó, who was also the creator of the Dinámico Bar in the Plaza del Charco and a trusted man of Sotomayor Carmona. On November 13 of the same year, it was inaugurated with a sumptuous party attended by the province’s dignitaries and countless guests.

In a few years, the Lido San Telmo would become the fashionable spot for the island’s elites, with grand and luxurious parties and formal dances where champagne was abundant. Among its illustrious visitors, we must mention the Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis, the British politician Winston Churchill, or three of the four members, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, of the then little-known group The Beatles.

Vista aérea Costa Martiánez
Aerial view of the Costa de Martiánez, Lido San Telmo. Anonymous author.

The tourist development of the locality entailed the construction of numerous hotels along the coastline stretching from Martiánez Beach to the San Telmo Hermitage. In this way, within a few years, hotels such as Tenerife Playa, Bélgica, Valle Mar, and Las Vegas were built. The owners of these properties advocated for the transformation of the waterfront to make it even more attractive by providing comfortable and accessible bathing areas. Thus, in 1965, consideration began for the tourism modeling and conditioning of this coastal stretch. After a failed project that included a dyke, a beach, and a sports pier, it wasn’t until 1967 that the municipality commissioned the drafting of a new project to engineers Juan Alfredo Amigó and José Luis Olcina, who incorporated the artist César Manrique into the artistic direction. They designed three circular pools, the largest of which had a bar inside the basin with maritime motifs, elevated water access points, and a tall mast of 25 meters height simulating the mooring of the structure. Additionally, changing rooms, offices, kitchens, and the necessary mechanisms for filling the pools with Atlantic water were projected.

On September 23, 1971, this second phase of the Martiánez Pool Complex was inaugurated with the presence of the French artist Josephine Baker and the Minister of Tourism, Sánchez Bella.

Piscina Los Alisios Costa Martiánez
2nd Phase of the Costa Martiánez complex, Los Alisios pools. Photo Leisure Costa Martiánez

After considering the feasibility of an artificial beach, both technically and financially, it was discarded. Instead, the quartet comprised of Manrique, Amigó, Díaz de Losada, and Olcina shaped the idea of expanding the facilities with a large artificial lake featuring several islands, surrounded by spacious sunbathing areas, lush vegetation, and decoration inspired by the landscape and typical Canarian architecture. This was yet another example of the mastery of the Lanzarote artist in integrating nature into his architectural works. Thus, in 1975, the project was awarded once again to Díaz de Losada, and the work began, lasting for two years.

The figures resulting from the development of this part of the complex were colossal: over 30,000 m² reclaimed from the sea, with about 15,000 m² designated as pool area with 5 islands, one of which, the central one, was approximately 2000 m² and would house the legendary Andrómeda Hall. About 5500 m³ of land were excavated, approximately 120,000 m³ were filled, and at least 27,000 m³ of concrete were used. The volume of volcanic rock used exceeded 2000 m³, 2000 m² were landscaped with corresponding irrigation and sewerage networks, and finally, a fabulous lighting system with over 1200 light points was installed.

Thus, on April 30, 1977, this third phase of the complex was inaugurated with an exclusive party for authorities and businessmen, featuring dinner, fireworks, toasts, performances, and dancing. The following day, the facilities would be open to the public for free contemplation.

In 1995, the Costa Martiánez complex was declared a Cultural Heritage Site in the category of Historical Garden.

Over the next two decades, various minor transformations took place. In the first decade of the new century, a more substantial transformation was undertaken, including climate control of one of the basins, adding a jacuzzi, adapting the lighting to comply with the law on the Protection of the Astronomical Quality of the I.A.C. Observatories, and relocating the casino’s game room from the emblematic Hotel Taoro to the Andrómeda Hall in the center of the large artificial lake.

Vista aérea tercera fase del complejo Costa Martiánez
Aerial view of the third phases of the Costa Mártianez complex. Photo: ShutterStock

Galindo Brito, Antonio 30/11/2016. La construcción de la Piscina de San Telmo. https://cronicasportuenses.blogspot.com/2016/11/la-construccion-de-la-piscina-de-san.html

Hernández Pérez, Fátima. EL LIDO DE SAN TELMO, CLAVE PARA LA LLEGADA DE CÉSAR MANRIQUE Y LA CREACIÓN DE COSTA MARTIÁNEZ http://turismoyculturadecanarias.es/lido-san-telmo-clave-la-llegada-cesar-manrique-la-creacion-costa-martianez/

González Lemus, Nicolás.16/11/2017 “Las etapas de la génesis de Costa Martiánez” Conferencia llevada a cabo en la Sala Andrómeda con motivo del 40 Aniversario de Lago Martiánez. Consultado de https://youtu.be/D6EP2nu6y3A y de https://docplayer.es/96497609-Las-etapas-de-la-genesis-de-costa-martianez.html el 24/01/2021


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