La Casa de la Cilla is a building located in the village of La Oliva. «Cillas» were old barns that stored the grain belonging to the Church, coming from the collection of tithes from the believers, paid compulsorily. This tax, which was imposed in 1215, remained until 1837 in Spain.
By Ibalia Pérez
During this period, each farmer family had to pay every year the tenth part of their harvests and income, and they had to hand it out to «el señor tazmiero», who was in charge of keeping the accounts of each payment and lived next to the warehouse, nowadays a private dwelling. Even the colonel had to pay this tax, in fact, he was the main contributor, as he was the owner of most of the farms at those times.
La Casa de la Cilla was built around 1819, according to records. Stones, lime, wood and mud were used as the main materials. Mud was of great relevance, as the interior plastering is all made of «torta» (mud mixed with straw).
Because of this, its function as a warehouse was short, and the building was sold as a private asset, from owner to owner over time.
In the 90’s, Fuerteventura Island council starts the acquisition of this building, due to the importance of its rescue and its advanced state of decay. A project is elaborated to hold in its interior an exhibition to show the resident and the visitor the culture of grain in the island. To implement this idea they have the help of the cultural association «Raíz del Pueblo», which works as a mediator between the Island Council and the neighbours.
It will be the neighbours themselves who will commit to the donation of farm equipment, pictures or they will just sit and talk about the dwellings and the life in the country to collect all the farming tradition of the village and the island. Thus, la cilla is born: The Grain Museum, which immediately joins the Net of The Island Museums.
This museum will be a centre dedicated to the care and teaching of all that which surrounded the farming of the land in the island, as it was the main source of income and subsistence until the sixties.
All throughout its eight panels, it brings the visitor closer to the idiosyncrasy of the place, the use of water in the island, the ditches and crops covered with sand and the heat of a village joined by work and, very often, necessity.
A trip to the past, the memory of our grand-parents and great-grand-parents starts and the effort dedicated to the land is valued.
In 2013, it will be the Cultural Association Raíz del Pueblo itself that will manage this centre and a project is started that, apart from showing, tries to liven up to the place, linking the past and the present. This is why La Cilla becomes the place of gathering for all the culture related to this period and the country: lectures about grains, concerts of «timple», meetings for the rescue of typical recipes with legumes, (for example).
It’s all about not just not forgetting, but about rescuing and experiencing again the good traditions we have inherited, taking them to the future, looking for cooperation and unity for the development of projects and initiatives that turn this centre into a benchmark in this village.
The centre opens from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 to 17:30, and there are two options to visit it. On the one hand, you can visit it on your own at any time; on the other hand, there is «La Ruta de los Coroneles». The latter option offers the possibility of acquiring a voucher and visit five of the most representative buildings in the old quarter of La Oliva: «La Casa de los Coroneles», the Art Centre «Casa Mané», the church of «Ntra Señora de la Candelaria», the house of the Colonel, which at present holds a traditional market, and «La Casa de la Cilla». This voucher allows the access these buildings every Tuesday and Friday from 10:00 to 14:00, with the option of a guided and performed tour on Fridays.
Don’t hesitate to visit it and soak up the tradition and culture which is awaiting you.