The history of Moya begins only a few years after the island was conquered when a small chapel is said to have already been in existance in 1495, although it was not founded under the present name in honour of ‘Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria’ until 1515. It is a picturesque town off the north of Gran Canaria, situated between Firgas and Santa María de Guía, known as ‘La villa verde’ by the locals, which translates as the green town. Moya, was said to be so green that the sunlight never actually reached the earth there. In fact, in prehispanic times the indigenous inhabitants did not populate it very much due to its low average temperature and higher amounts of rain, which meant they lived in caves closer to the coast where it is warmer.
The municipality of Moya is a thin strip that goes from the north coast all the way to the very centre of the island. As a result, it became the area most transitted by livestock of all the northwest of Gran Canaria in their search for seasonal grazing. Among the areas well worth visiting is Los Tilos, one of the greatest Laurisilva forests in the island, kept as a natural reserve thanks to the trade winds and a refreshing humidity that keeps this area cool even in the middle of the summer months, so if you wish to go hiking anywhere in the island visiting it is a must. It is located in between two ravines called Azuaje and ‘Barranco Oscuro’, which means “dark ravine”,and contains different kinds of flora and fauna, especially birds of many types and an almost undescribable, breath-taking beauty.
The small chapel after being founded in 1515, was attributed by many to the Trujillo family, who became very influential in the area owning land in the Montaña de Doramas. One of the areas in the municipality of Moya is also called by this name, and one of its family members was a mayor of the town in 1697.
Like most Canarian towns it grew thanks to its agriculture through the produce of raw cane sugar at first, although because of its decline, farmers decided to start growing potatoes and corn due to its low cost. The most notable historical facts are the battles between the neighbours of Teror, Arucas and Firgas against the inhabitants of Moya and Galdar between 1814 and 1823 over the ‘Montaña de Doramas’ which at the time was an economic pillar because of its wealth of resources and its fertile land. It was resolved by the military, who were sent from the capital to act against those who wanted Moya destroyed and burnt and save the town. Also in this same century, the poet Tomás Morales was born in Moya, who has contributed greatly to Canarian and indeed Spanish literature, so much that even the city of Las Palmas has honoured him by naming a street after him.
It may be of importance to take note that the festival of Moya takes place on Saturday 8thof June this year and will be a perfect opportunity for you to visit it and to try its tasty ‘suspiros’ and ‘bizcochos’ from Moya’s confectionery, popular among the locals. The literal translation of Suspiros means sighs but they are infact meringues. Bizcochos are delicious rusk cakes shaped in bars, flavoured with lemon and topped with icing sugar. They were invented in Moya in the 1930s, by a villager called Mrs Cha Manuela and are usually dipped in hot chocolate or warm milk and eaten.
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