The Casa de Guerra Mayor on the outskirts of San Bartolomé is one of the most impressive examples of Canarian architecture on the island. If you want to be inspired by a unique example of the colonial Spanish style, it’s not to be missed.
Don Francisco Tomás Guerra Clavijo, known as the “elder Guerra”, completed the house in 1764, choosing a site on the flank of the Montaña de la Cruz, which offers sweeping views down to the sea, and also permitted precious water to be gathered in various aljibes. Don Francisco later went on to become the military governor of Lanzarote.
The building is a simple, geometric rectangular shape, with whitewashed walls and attractive red-and-black geometric decorations on each corner. At the front of the house is a huge balcony, much larger than those that are normally found on Canarian houses. The balcony is now partially obscured by a flourishing Canarian palm that is flanked by two large euphorbias and a selection of agaves and bougainvilleas.
The museum inside the house is currently closed, but the interior is composed of three bedrooms, a kitchen with a hob and chimney, a study and various other rooms. in the Canarian style, the whole house is arranged around a central courtyard that is open to the sky.
At the right-hand side of house is a double door that serves as an entrance, and above this door you can see the crest of the Perdomo family, sculpted in marble. Don Francisco placed this here to honour his wife, Doña María Andrea Perdomo, and the crest is now also the emblem of San Bartolomé.
The couple had 13 children, 8 of whom survived to adulthood. The house was passed down within the family until the final owner, Martín Guerra, died in 1938, after which the building fell into disuse. In 1986 it was donated to San Bartolomé council, who have done a fine job of restoring it, surrounding it with gardens and a covered barbecue zone. The house is available to hire for family functions on application at the Ayuntamiento.
Don Francisco was the military governor of Lanzarote from 1793 to 1808. On his death, the naming of his son, Lorenzo, as governor caused an uprising known as Lanzarote’s “little war”. 3,000 islanders demonstrated in favour of another governor, and the commander of the port of Arrecife attacked Lorenzo Guerra’s men when they arrived at Arrecife. One person was killed and two wounded.
For regular updates, pictures and videos of Lanzarote be sure to like and follow our Facebook page “Gazette Life Lanzarote”.