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The Paradise on Earth

The Canary Islands are one of the favorite destinies for tourists that think about spending their holidays in a peaceful and nice environment. Their climate and kind people make of these islands a delight that have to be visited at least once. Everybody will be agree with its natural attractive, since their daydream beaches or its warm climate during all the year, but the truth is that its charm lies in their geographic position, in the Atlantic Ocean.

We have been conscience of their existence since far-off times. Some Greco-Latin classic texts had been already written about them. From the beginning, the Greek man thought that Occident was formed by Italy, then by Iberian Peninsula, and the rest was situated beyond The Pillars of Hercules, what we know as Strait of Gibraltar. After discovering new boundaries, Canary Islands would be found. It was thought that all those things situated at the ends of the earth were wonderful, shady and sinister, and Occident was considered the resting place of The Sun King. Because of this, it was believed that there were heavenly places, and also that souls of just people went there to stay in.

For this reason there are some myths related with Canary Islands. Some of them are the next ones:

  • Elysian Fields: the name Elysium refers to an abode beyond death where the souls of fair people live in. It is a place where life is comfortable, the climate is nice, with fertile land, etc. Acording to Publius Ovidius Naso, the roman poet, there is a holm oak forest in that place, and wet land always stays green. It was said that this place was the home of Pious Birds, where Sinister Birds were not allow to enter in. The famous bird Phoenix also lived there. Publius Vergilius Maro, author of Aeneid, wrote similar things in his famous work, and it is said that that place alludes to the Canary Islands.

  • Islands of the Blessed: this name corresponds to the Greek translation μακαρων νησοι, that we can understand it like ‘Islands of Gods’, because the word ‘makaroi - the happy ones’ means ‘Gods’. These islands are described in the Ages Myth, where it is explained how lineages of heroes and demigods will reside, after dead, in some fertile and rich islands, where they will live a new Golden Age. Fair souls also came there to rest, so it is something usual to confuse the Islands of the Blessed with Elysian Fields, and for this reason, many classical Greek authors write about both places to refers the same place. 
  • Fortunate Islands (Fortunatae Insulae): this name, which we, Canary people, know our islands for, is the Latin equivalence of ‘makaron nesoi’. When it is pretended to explain why these islands are fortunate, it is turned to elements of the Golden Age myth, this is, long time ago, where human lived without working, because Nature produced everything and war was no known. Nevertheless, some Latin authors only speak about the geographic position od the Fortunate Islands, example of that it was Pliny the Elder in his work ‘Natural History’. Roman sites have been found in the island of Lanzarote. Some of these perfect descriptions about the islands were a kind of guide to Roman people who came here to explore the Canary Islands. 

  •  Hesperia’ Garden: Aegle, Arethusa and Erytheia were the daughters of Atlas, and together, the women were called Hesperia. They lived in the most occidental place in the world, in some marvelous islands situated in The Atlantic Ocean. The place had a good climate and trees produced golden apples. The Goddess Gaia made these apples as a present to Zeus and Hera. Hesperia cultivated the garden, that it was also guarded by a hundred-heads brave dragon. The magic apples where an immortality and youth symbol. In one of his twelfth works, Hercules had to steel them.
  •  Atlantis: According to Plato, Atlantis was a big island situated at the other side of The Pillars of Hercules, in the Atlantic Ocean, also related with The Canary Islands.

So, if you are planning to travel somewhere, visiting these incredible islands –all of them are different from each other, would be a good choice because it would allow you to discover by yourself if there is something true about these myths.

Filed under travel Canary Islands Canary myths The Atlantic Ocean islands nature Hercules Zeus Hesperia Arethusa Aegle Erytheia Pliny the Elder Roman Plato weather mermaid Gran Canaria Tenerife Spain