As you know, the Orotava Valley has probably one of the most beautiful views that can be found in Tenerife, within which lies the municipality of La Orotava, neighbor to Puerto de la Cruz, just a short drive away.
Strolling through the cobbled and historic streets of Orotava is a treat for the senses and a unique experience that we recommend to live, because you can feel the essence of the people of Northern Tenerife and you can feel transported back in time.
However, there is one point in the municipality of La Orotava that occasionally can go unnoticed if you do not know of its existence. You can also find it unintentionally while walking through the old town. It is certainly a place worth visiting that also keeps a history of religious conflicts between Christianity and Freemasonry. This are the Victoria Gardens La Orotava.
Where are the Victoria Gardens?
The Victoria Gardens are located within the historic center, next to the Plaza of the Constitution and the Liceo Taoro. In its vicinity is also found one of the most famous cafes of La Orotava where you can savor tasty sweets.
When were the Victoria Gardens built and by whom?
The Victoria Gardens were built by an architect of French nationality in the nineteenth century, called Adolph Coquet, by order of the Family De Ponte. In order to build there a mausoleum where the remains of Diego Ponte del Castillo would go. The construction of the mausoleum was completed in 1884.
What can be found in the Victoria Gardens?
The Victoria Gardens are formed by a stepped structure on seven floors, with gardens filled with greenery and where you can also find sources of great beauty. Also in the top of the gardens you can enjoy a beautiful view of the old town of La Orotava, and the highlight of the stepped structure is the mausoleum which was intended to bury Diego Ponte del Castillo.
The Mausoleum that lies at the top is built with white marble and supported by eight Corinthian columns, on whose door you can distinguish the letter omega.
Who was Diego Ponte?
Diego Ponte del Castillo was an avowed Freemason, belonging to the Masonic lodges Teide and Taoro, born in La Orotava on April 15. 1840, VIII Marquis de la Quinta Roja and member of one of the wealthiest families of the island in the nineteenth century.
Because of its membership in Freemasonry, the bishop and the Catholic Church denied him a Christian burial. Given the negative response of the Church, it was the mother herself, Sebastiana Castillo Manrique de Lara, which commissioned the construction of the mausoleum on one of the properties owned by the family. Due to this, they began to build the structure that is found at the top of the Victoria Gardens. After the Revolution of 1868 and the Constitution of 1869, the freedom of public and private cults was proclaimed. And Freemasonry stopped being persecuted. All this led to the effervescence of a lot of lodges in the Canary Islands and Spain, reason why finally the Church approved its Christian burial despite the negatives in previous years, and the mausoleum would be eventually empty inside.
Diego Ponte del Castillo would die in 1880 with 40 years of age.
In the mausoleum appear certain symbols which, in the opinion of most experts, are considered symbolism of Freemasonry. It is known that the architect who built it was also a Freemason, so it is not surprising that occult symbology can be found in the facilities. On the contrary, most experts also agree that the gardens surrounding the structure do not have any signs of Freemasonry.
After the death of the Marquise of Quinta Roja
The Marquesa of Quinta Roja, mother of Diego Ponte del Castillo, would cede the installations of the gardens for various events such as horticultural exhibitions or fairs cattle and later did the same with the grounds of the Quinta de Santa Ursula to build a golf course on it.
But over time have been lost some of the amazing attractions of these facilities: a garden with plants from around the world, some of the historical and religious facilities, and a neo-Gothic house that had been built in the gardens. The mausoleum remains practically intact, and the gardens are still beautiful, though losing the so characteristic personality that it had in the past.
Nevertheless, we recommend a visit to the Victoria Gardens that still retain part of the essence, some hidden mystery, a story that deserves to be known and a panoramic view from the top to enjoy the historic center of La Orotava.