Historic old towns – Aquiculture – Archaeology

Besides the natural monuments, the conservation of the man-made heritage are getting serious support from the local government. The colonial old towns of Arucas, Gáldar, Guía, Telde, Agüimes, Agaete, Moya, Teror, Firgas, and Santa Brígida are attentively restored. They are charming examples of the unique insular architecture influenced by the southern Spanish gothic, the Spanish renaissance, baroque and classicism, the Flemish / Dutch and British civil architecture. Main characteristics are the contrasting local ‘blue stone’ carvings of doors and windows with the white walls, and also the elaborately carved wooden balconies and window blinds. Art nouveau has splendid examples in the quarters of Vegueta and Triana in Las Palmas.

Firgas old town

Cathedral de Santa Ana, Las Palmas

Telde old town

Agüimes old town

The aboriginal land use consisted of creating terraces for crops, but also lodging or storing crops in the natural caves, then carving artificial ones, and also erecting villages and towns without using mortar. For their dead they used the caves or built up huge necropolises on useless lava stone landslides. Many of such places are settled since, thus vanished as examples of aboriginal land use, but a few remained intact and many were restored and made open to the public with additional interpretation elements. The most spectacular ones are in a stunning natural context (Fortaleza de Ansite, Necrópolis de Maipés and Arteara, Cuatro Puertas) or near easily accessible coves on the shore (LLanillo, Tufia). Some of the caves are decorated with abstract paintings (Cueava Pintada de Gáldar, Acusa Verde), some rocks have figural paintings (Morro del Cuervo), or carvings and installations (blood / milk / oil channels) for sacrifice (Cuatro Puertas, Bentayga). There is evidence of astronomical awareness in the aboriginal culture, there are man-made “observatories” to trace the yearly path of the Sun (Risco Caído, Fortaleza de Ansite?). In this year, 2019, the entire cultural landscape of the hilltops (Cumbres) was declared UNESCO heritage (with centres in Artenara and Tejeda).

As being an island with warm / mild temperatures all year round, but rainfall is unevenly distributed, only in the mountains and the northern slopes, mostly in winter, the capturing and channelling of rain water has a very strong tradition. Actually the “water councils” constitute a serious base of how society was organised up until now. Thus, the landscape is intertwined with the intricate system of channels, water reservoirs (there are at least 8 words for its specific types in local language) and water mills, which made the rivers disappear from their beds, as it is the case with our street. The monumental installations can be seen everywhere, most spectacularly in San Mateo, Firgas, Santa Brígida and Telde.