Did you know that the first inhabitants of Gran Canaria knew the banks, spent their holidays in Maspalomas, and even went to the cinema? It is no accident that Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gran Canaria has a wide and surprising archaeological heritage, we will show you some of the archaeological sites that you should not miss.
Near tourist areas
If you do not want to move from the beach, in the south of Gran Canaria you can find some archaeological sites in unexpected areas.
Punta Mujeres Site: on the Meloneras promenade, about 500 meters west of the Maspalomas Lighthouse and just off the coast, there are remains of a pre-Hispanic house dated about 1,000 years ago. It is a housing structure consisting of a house, and what was probably a corral for cattle. The visit is free and you will find many informative posters about the way of life of the first inhabitants of the island.
Cañada de los Gatos: the ravine of Mogán and the current Puerto de Mogán constituted an excellent enclave to live due to the abundance of water, the fertility of the land and the fishing resources of the area. It is for this reason that there was a population centre dating from about 1,300 years old. At present, there are preserved remains of houses and burial mounds that can be visited. You can find more information here.
Cenobio de Valerón
It is located in the municipality of Guía. Although it was originally believed that it was a temple in which prenuptial rites were performed, it was later discovered that it is a barn in which seeds were guarded for later use in times of hunger or need. Although from the current point of view this may be banal, the fact is that for the Canarian primitives it was essential to preserve and conserve food, and this warehouse had security measures very similar to those of a current bank, such as safe deposit boxes or guardians
This archaeological site belongs to the “network of archaeological spaces of Gran Canaria” and it is possible to visit it. You can find more information, schedules and prices in this link.
Within the municipality of Gáldar, very close to the historic centre, it is possible to visit one of the largest and best-preserved pre-Hispanic villages on the island. It was discovered at the end of the 19th century. Its first opening to the public is done at the end of the 20th century, but due to the poor state of conservation, it remained closed until 2016 in which the archaeological museum was inaugurated.
During the visit, you will not only discover the real remains of this town and the impressive painted wall, but you can also learn more about the way of life and customs of the inhabitants of this town, about the history of the Kingdom of Agáldar and the Spanish conquest of the island. An essential visit in Gran Canaria.
More information: http://www.cuevapintada.com/en
Bentayga mountain range
In the heart of the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria, we find this rarity that not only stands out for the majestic figure of Roque Bentayga, but also because it gives access to an “almogarén”, to funeral caves and for residential use.
You have options to visit:
- If you do not want to walk much, you can enter the visitor centre where you will discover more information about the Sacred Mountains, the rituals that were performed at the top of the Roque and other curiosities and oddities.
- You can also go hiking to the top of the Roque to discover in situ the almogarén and the remains of defensive walls along the way. The difficulty of this road is medium, and the distance is about three kilometres.
- If you have good physical preparation and are not afraid of heights, you can visit part of the Cuevas del Rey to see remains of the cave houses that the first settlers of Gran Canaria built with stone peaks. It is a difficult route and it will require you to go well prepared, with appropriate footwear and clothes, water and other equipment.
Ansite – The fortress
On April 29, 1483, there was the last battle between the Spanish conquerors and the ancient Canaries. Legend has it that this is where Bentejuí preferred to end his life before surrendering and jumped from the top of this hill. Myth or legend, the truth is that the vision of this spectacular enclave, with caves, houses, engraving stations and many more surprises, offers us a very good image of how the “Canarii” knew how to adapt perfectly to the territory and develop an amazing society.
There is a visitor centre where you can see remains of materials found in the area, reproductions of houses and tombs and much more information.
Without a doubt, the most surprising discovery of the last decades in Canarian archaeology; which has made us radically change the point of view and begin to understand the very high level of knowledge of the Canarian aborigines. It is a 6-meter high cave with a hemispherical dome carved with stone axes in the rock, and in which there is an incredible light effect that is not the result of an accident.
To perfectly preserve this archaeological site of Gran Canaria, and to study it in-depth, it is not open to the public; although it is planned in 2020 the opening in Artenara of a visitor centre where you can see a reproduction of this cave.
Other archaeological sites in Gran Canaria
There are many other places with remains of the aborigines of Gran Canaria; some of them are inaccessible or closed to the public. If you want more information you can visit the web of archaeological spaces of Gran Canaria
Did you like this article? Would you like to discover some of these sites with us on your next visit to Gran Canaria? You can view more information here.