The Canary Islands are among the most popular holiday destinations for Brits seeking sun and sand, but they have a lot more to offer than just that. Take the pyramids of Guimar, for instance â€“ an astounding archaeological site shrouded in mystery. Read on for a little-known reason to visit Tenerife, transfer yourself into a world of possibilities and explore these fascinating monuments.
Located in a valley in eastern Tenerife, the village of Guimar is a small settlement deep in a volcanic landscape. Centuries of geological turmoil have produced unique and interesting rock formations throughout the region, with the MalpaÃs de Guimar nature reserve home to some of the most striking.
Much of this wonderful landscape can be explored in the Ethnographic Park PirÃ¡mides de GÃ¼imar. Home to a recently opened sustainable garden that reproduces 1km2 of typical Canarian wildlife and greenery, this park was made an official botanical garden and is a major tourist attraction.
Several routes are on offer around the area, with each organised around a different theme and leading you through different areas. The Canarian Botanical Route focuses on the plants indigenous to the region, including its iconic palm trees. The Exportation Products Route takes guests through sugar cane, wine, bananas and more, while the new Volcanic Route showcases the areaâ€™s unique geology and the effects of historic volcanic activity on its climate. The Cultural Route focuses on the agriculture, crafts, myths and more that have shaped the history of Tenerife. Transfer and change are key themes in this story of the Canariesâ€™ growth and development.
Perhaps most interesting, though, is the Poison Garden. Home to 70 species of toxic plants, some of them deadly, the garden promises to â€˜immerseâ€™ visitors in â€˜the world of poison and poisonersâ€™.
All this is well worth a visit, but itâ€™s not the main attraction. As you might have guessed from the name of the park and the title of this article, Guimarâ€™s main selling point is its pyramids. Built with volcanic rocks and without mortar, these rectangular terraced structures have spurred much interest from historians.
The pyramids resemble Central American constructions, with similar geometric features designed to align with the position of the sun. The park celebrates this with an annual summer solstice event, where visitors can see how the passage of the sun lines up with the surface of the structures.
Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl made a name for himself sailing a papyrus boat from Morocco to Barbados. This 1970 voyage, he said, proved that indigenous peoples could have crossed the Atlantic well before Columbus. This fascination led Heyerdahl, in 1990, to Tenerife. Transfers of people and ideas have long been his research focus, and upon hearing about the Guimar Pyramidsâ€™ remarkable similarity to those found in Central America he travelled to the island to investigate.
Heyerdahl speculates a pre-Hispanic origin of the structures, arguing that they were built by indigenous Guanche people who then took their ideas to the new world.
More recent archaeological evidence has contested this, however, as aboriginal remains and a cave found under the pyramids suggest they were erected within the past few hundred years. Moreover, they are not mentioned in archival materials until 1881.
For many, all of this simply adds to the mystery. Why build such structures on this small island in the nineteenth century? And if the construction was this recent, why is there no record of it? These questions and more are explored in the museum, which focuses on Heyerdahlâ€™s research and the speculations of others. One of the more colourful recent theories suggests the involvement of the Freemasons.
How to Get There
If youâ€™d like to explore Guimar for yourself, youâ€™ll be happy to learn that flights from the UK take only around four hours to get to Tenerife. Transfers are also available from both the islandâ€™s airports (in the north and south) to most everywhere you could want to visit.
Intrigued? Visit Tenerife and see these magnificent structures for yourself. Who knows, maybe youâ€™ll be the one to finally solve the mystery of the Guimar Pyramids.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for affordable Tenerife transfers Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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