You might already have heard, perhaps someone might have even told you. We have let the whole world know that Gran Canaria is a great big melting-pot of cultures, with over 117 different ethnic groups that have come here to stay, if only for a while. On an island that for years was considered to be the end of the world, at the other side of the ocean where only the imagination extended further, with a port that now welcomes over 100,000 visitors per year.
This constant criss-crossing of people from all corners of the world has produced a unique culture, a patchwork built up of many pieces from the world over.
Before this patchwork was sewn together in Gran Canaria, there was already a healthy native tradition and culture, passed down to us over the years in the shape of our valuable heritage legacy and our real archaeological treasures, the tangible remains of the first inhabitants of the islands.
Gran Canaria has many interesting and some even spectacular archaeological sites where the heritage of the pre-Hispanic people has been preserved. You are spoilt for choice, but we would recommend the Museo Canario in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and the Museum and Archaeological Site of Cueva Pintada in Gáldar. El Museo de la Cueva Pintada, opened to the general public after twenty years of excavations and special conditioning for visits, affords an overview of how the people of Agáldar lived in the past.
However, the heritage of the island is not limited merely to the pre-Hispanic period. In every small town or village you can find traces of heritage passed from one generation to another on the island, a heritage of the five centuries of European influence, prologued by the visit of Columbus to Gran Canaria and the expansion of the Spanish Empire through to Latin America.
The winding narrow cobbled streets of Vegueta built around the majestic stone Cathedral take us back in time to the 15th century, as do the small shrines dotted around the villages on the higher reaches of the island, and the stone churches in the towns around the island chart in their architectural styles the whole history of architecture in Europe, with strange combinations made in the Canary Islands.
The old city centres, the architecture, churches and monuments stand as witnesses of time gone by in a place adrift in time and space. This is something to remember and be remembered and you simply shouldn’t miss it.