Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Güímar Pyramid: Canary Island Pyramids, but did the Guanches build them?

Güímar Pyramid
Canary Island Pyramids 
but did the Guanches build them?

Mysterious pyramids in Tenerife and La Palma in the Canary Islands have been the subject of heated debate. Are they piles of stones or were they made by the Guanches?

In Tenerife and in La Palma in the Canary Islands there are pyramid-like constructions that are a mystery. No one has proved satisfactorily when they were built or who by. An ongoing debate has been going on for many years with several theories put forward.

Most academics have favoured the idea that the pyramids are actually what remains of agricultural terracing or are merely piles of stones that farmers were clearing from their land, other people have suggested that the constructions were made by the Guanches who were the original islanders who were conquered by the Spanish, and a third idea is that Freemasons constructed the monuments. It has even been claimed that one complex of pyramids in Güímar, which are the most well known of all, were made in fairly recent times so that money could be made from charging tourists to see them.

Güímar pyramid
A Tenerife stepped pyramid
The Guanches
Los Guanches - a book by Domingo Lima Dominguez

However, a book entitled Los Guanches by Spanish author Domingo Lima Dominguez and published in 1985, clearly states that the Guanches in La Palma made pyramids. The question that springs to mind is if they could do this there, then why not in Tenerife too?  

Los Guanches was published by Centro de Cultura Popular Canaria, a very respectable publisher so it seems strange that the author’s words have been seemingly ignored and are not quoted elsewhere. There is no mention of the pyramids in most other books published on Tenerife that deal with the subject of the Guanches, and yet Dominguez was born on the island in 1942 in the town of La Orotava.

On page 44 of his book, the author wrote: “Los palmeros adoraban a Abora, en cuyo honor se erigia una pirámide pétrea en cada uno de los doce reinos en que estaba  dividia esta isla.” Translated this means: The Palmeros (La Palma Guanches) worshipped Abora, and in his honour they erected a pyramid of stone in each of the 12 kingdoms that were divisions of this island.
Books about Tenerife and pyramids
Find out more about the island of Tenerife and its pyramids
Voyages of the Pyramid Builders: The True Origins of the Pyramids from Lost Egypt to Ancient America
Is it a mere coincidence that pyramids are found across our globe? Did cultures ranging across vast spaces in geography and time, such as the ancient Egyptians; early Buddhists;...
Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penquin
$24.95  $7.66
Lonely Planet Canary Islands (Regional Travel Guide)
Discover the Canary IslandsGo barefoot on the vast dunes of Gran Canaria's MaspalomasHike amid the waterfalls and lush laurels of Los Tiles bioreserve on La PalmaEavesdrop on Go...
Lonely Planet
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Hummadruz and a Life of High Strangeness
Steve Andrews aka the Bard of Ely's autobiography focusing on his paranormal and spiritual experiences including UFO sightings, alien beings, hummadruz, ghosts and haunted house...
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Thor Heyerdahl
A world famous explorer
Thor Heyerdahl
Thor Heyerdahl  
The Kon-Tiki

The story goes that world-famous explorer and adventurer the late Thor Heyerdahl first heard about the Güímar pyramids in 1990 when he read about them in an article by Francisco Padrón in the Diario de Avisos Tenerife newspaper. At that time they were on neglected land that was probably going to be scheduled for development.

Heyerdahl had come to the world’s attention when in 1947 he successfully sailed his raft the Kon-Tiki across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Tuamotu Islands. He believed that ancient people were crossing the world’s oceans long before Columbus, and with his voyage he proved this was possible.

He came to Tenerife to investigate the pyramids for himself and in 1991 declared that they were authentic stepped pyramids like those he had seen elsewhere on his world travels.  He befriended shipping magnate Fred Olsen who bought the land on which the constructions were situated and the two men set about building what is now known as the Ethnographic Park. Heyerdahl was so impressed with the pyramids and the island that he decided to settle in Güímar, and in subsequent years he claimed to have discovered astronomical orientation for the pyramids, and suggested that the ancient people who built them were most probably sun-worshipers due to the alignment of the constructions.

There are those who say the pyramids were built as a modern money-making venture which Heyerdahl and Olsen got together on and that there were no pyramids before the explorer got involved. Proof has been found that shows that this is not the case because a photo of Andrew Baillon was taken standing on top of one of what were to become known as the Pyramids of Güímar before Heyerdahl was on the island. The photo was supplied by American author Gordon Kennedy who has spent many years researching the Guanches and 
is the author of The White Indians of Nivaria.
Andrew Baillon on top of one of the Pyramids of Güímar
Before Thor Heyerdahl's involvement
One of the pyramid construc...
One of the pyramid constructions
White Indians of Nivaria
Book by Gordon Kennedy about the Guanches
The White Indians of Nivaria; The Untold Story of the Last Stone-Age Indo-European Tribes
They were virtuous, honest and brave, and the finest qualities of humanity were found united in them; to wit, magnanimity, skill, courage, athletic powers, strength of soul and ...
Nivaria Press
Only $15.00
Santa Bárbara and Icod pyramids
Other Tenerife pyramids

Now even if it was true that the Güímar ones had been built to be part of a modern theme park, or that they were just “piles of stones” left there by farmers before Heyerdahl’s involvement,  there are other equally impressive looking pyramids on the other side of Tenerife that have been very conveniently ignored. The question needs to be asked: who built them and when and why? Was it the Guanches?

In the village of Santa Bárbara just outside Icod de los Vinos, which had been a Guanche stronghold, there is a large five-sided stepped pyramid surrounded by farmland, as well as some others in very poor state of repair.  One of these constructions is right by a house but has lots of its stonework fallen away. The local cake-shop on the road through Santa Bárbara is called the Pasteleria la Pirámide.

On a road known as the Camino de la Suerte, which is again just outside Icod and near to the village of San Marcos but going to El Guincho, there are two more pyramids and one of these is very large and imposing and stands in a banana plantation.
Santa Bárbara main pyramid
Another of the Tenerife pyramids
In the village of Santa Bár...
In the village of Santa Bárbara
Pyramid in Camino la Suerte
One of the pyramids of Icod
San Marcos pyramid
San Marcos pyramid
La Palma pyramids
Other constructions in the island of La Palma
If the Palmero Guanches did indeed build 12 pyramids of stone on La Palma it seems likely that most have been demolished just like this has happened on Tenerife, where if the same system had been used there would have been pyramids built in each of the nine kingdoms there.  However, there is a pyramid located above Cancajos near the capital of Santa Cruz that still stands today. It is in the Aridane valley and known as the El Paso Pyramid. Although it is a relatively small construction it appears to be a stepped pyramid like those in Tenerife.

The pyramids on both islands are not recognised as historical monuments and so are not protected by law. Only the ones in Güímar are safe because they are on the land that Olsen bought and which now forms the Ethnographic Park.

It seems evident that what is really needed is a properly funded investigation into these pyramids by a non-biased team of archaeologists.  Those in Tenerife have already decided the constructions are just heaps of rocks so they are not interested, and yet the majority of people who view these pyramids think they are a lot more than what the academics say.

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.
La Palma in the Canary Islands
Find out more about La Palma
Walking on La Palma: The world's steepest island (A Cicerone Guide)
La Palma in the Canary Islands is reputed to be one of the steepest islands in the world, with rugged ancient mule tracks and pilgrim trails to follow. 45 day walks are describe...
Cicerone Press Limited  / $21.95  $13.12

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