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Lanzarote, a Spanish island, is the easternmost of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean ca. 125 km off the coast of Africa as well as 1,000 km from the Iberian Peninsula. It is situated at 29°00' north, 13°40' west. It is located 11 km NE of Fuerteventura and only 1 km from Graciosa. The first recorded name for the island, given by Angelino Dulcert, was Insula de Lanzarotus Marocelus, after the Genoese navigator Lancelotto Malocello, from which the modern name is derived. The island's Guanche name was Tite-Roy-Gatra, which may mean "the red mountains."
The elongated island has an area of 845,9 km², and a population of around 125,000. The dimensions of the island are 60 km from north to south and 25 km from west to east. Lanzarote has 213 km of coastline, of which 10 km are sand, 16.5 km are beach, and the remainder are rocky. Its dramatic landscape includes the mountain ranges of Famara (671 m) in the north and Ajaches (608 m) to the south. South of the Famara massif is the El Jable desert which separates Famara and Montañas del Fuego. Tourism has been the mainstay of the island's economy for the past 50 years. Other industries include agriculture.
The island has its own international airport, Arrecife Airport, which receives around 5.5 million passengers per year.
Its mountains include Montañas del Fuego located in the Timanfaya National Park. The tallest mountain is Peñas del Chache elevating 670 m above sea level. The island is under protection as a Biospherical Reserve by UNESCO. It has the largest submerged volcanic tunnel in the world and is called the "Tunnel of Atlantis".
Not all that much is known about the Island's early history, because most archaeological evidence has either been buried under lava or carried off by raiders. The Phoenecians were there, followed by the Romans. The Arabs then settled the island, the French explored it, and the Spanish conquered it.
The island thrived for a while by producing cochineal, an expensive, crimson dye taken from the carapace of a scale insect that lives on cactus. Cochineal is used for dying fabric, decorating china, in cosmetics, and as a food colouring.
The eruptions in 1730-1736 covered a quarter of the island's surface, destroying its most fertile farmland and eleven villages.
The coherence and beauty of the island's cultural and tourist centres is largely the legacy of the local artist César Manrique (1919-1992). He also played a key role in having the island declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993.
The island's only airport is just to the west of Arrecife, with the airport designator code ACE. In addition to the charter flights that serve Lanzarote from Northern Europe, there are scheduled flights operated to some of the other Canary Islands, to the Spanish mainland and to a few international locations, most notably London (Gatwick). Some of the airlines serving Lanzarote (ACE) include: Iberia, Spanair, AirEuropa, British Airways, Binter, Thomsonfly, Thomas Cook, Hapag Lloid, Air Berlin, Jetair, Lauda Air, Aer Lingus, ...
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