Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains, World Heritage

With the recent UNESCO declaration of these prehistoric sites in Gran Canaria, Spain has reached a total of 48 World Heritage sites, surpassed only by China and Italy.
07/11/2019

As of this Sunday, Spain has another UNESCO World Heritage Site: the cultural landscape of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains in Gran Canaria. A pre-Hispanic archaeological site of troglodytic settlements with temples and markers with astronomical connotations. The new declaration recognizes the Canarian people and their culture at the highest international level and pays tribute to the evolution of the ancient Canarian populations: the Amazigh peoples of North Africa, who managed to live in isolation for 1,500 years.

The cultural landscape of Risco Caído and the sacred mountains of Gran Canaria covers an area of about 18,000 hectares, slightly more than 11% of the entire surface of the island. Risco Caído is located in one of the best conserved areas of the island, where a small cave has been excavated with a “skylight” in its vault which allows, during the summer and winter solstices, sun and moon beams to be projected on its walls, illuminating a series of cave paintings with pubic triangle ideograms that archaeologists associate with symbols of fertility. Archaeologists believe that Caído Risco served as a prehistoric astronomical marker to control calendars and propitious times for crops and religious rites.

The sacred mountains include a set of archaeological sites in the municipalities of Artenara, Tejeda, Agaete and Gáldar.
With this declaration, Spain consolidates its position as the third country in the world with the most UNESCO World Heritage sites. With a total of 48, it is only surpassed by China and Italy. Spain stands out for its diversity of heritage. Specifically, Spain has 42 cultural, 4 natural and 2 mixed sites.

Upcoming nominations include the Paseo del Prado and the Retiro (which will be presented to the UNESCO Committee in 2020) and the cultural landscape of the Ribeira Sacra de Ourense and Lugo (which is likely to be presented in 2021).