Gran Canaria opens a passageway to the past

The Interpretation Centre of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape highlights the values of this World Heritage site.

There was a time when the aborigines of Gran Canaria were able to create a bond between Heaven and Earth. It happened on the island’s highlands. Those people created a unique world with their own hands, involving the starts in the process. The most spectacular example of this dialogue between humans, the Sun and the Moon, happened eight centuries ago, in a cavity located at 1200 m of altitude, excavated in volcanic rock. The sunlight and the silver halo of the full moon magically came through the rectangular skylight designed for the purpose, giving light, in turns, to each one of the figures engraved on the walls of Risco Caído cave number six. But there was nothing magical about it, only observation, technique and belief.

Risco Caído Interpretation Centre, Artenara

In this way, that ancient society could read the weather, forecast the seasons and control the most suitable times for sowing and harvesting their crops. In other words: thanks to the observation of the stars, they managed to survive in beautiful but isolated and difficult surroundings, adapting to the environment in a way that is admired by the world and has granted the inclusion of the island’s highlands and its cultural landscape on Unesco World Heritage List. 

Nowadays, another space symbolically excavated in the mountain, in the Village of Artenara, where the island touches the sky, opens a window for the visitor to look into an amazing past, still alive in a way. The Interpretation Centre of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape shows the landscape, archaeological and cultural values of the site, and presents, through different technological devices, the way of life of the local population through the centuries, their spiritual beliefs and the creation of the Risco Caído enclave and its dual function as temple and calendar.

Mirador de Unamuno

Guided by short films, visitors will relive the times when the first people came to the island and, after spending some time near the shore, decided to go inland and discovered the mighty basin of Tejeda. Different recreations will show the daily life of the indigenous population, and the relevance of their sacred beliefs in surroundings as beautiful as colossal and overwhelming for the human being.

The visitor will see, amongst other scenes, a father teaching his son about the movement of stars, since the legacy of that ancient society relied on that knowledge. The last room is a tribute to the people who have received and maintained the oral tradition directly from the aborigines,  before leading on to the big star of this universe of life and light. The exhibition’s central piece will be a life-size reproduction of the mentioned cave 6 of the archaeological complex, which was used as a calendar.

Risco Caído Interpretation Centre, Artenara

There, the visitor will experience the ray of light coming through an opening above the door at certain times of the year, going over a frieze of inverted triangles engraved on the walls, changing shape and position as the sun travels the sky daily and monthly, marking equinoxes and solstices. This replica is being built by Fastum Arte, one of the world’s best companies in this sector, that has worked in replicas of Egyptian tombs, amongst others world-famous remains.

Risco Caído Interpretation Centre, Artenara

Gran Canaria gives to the world nearly one millennium of lights and mysteries, proving that there are magical passageways between past, present and future.

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 h. to 17:00 h.
Free Entrance
Telephone: (+34) 649 50 77 46
Address: Calle Camino de la Cilla, s/n, Artenara.