Before anyone gets excited and pictures themselves decked out like Lawrence of Arabia on a grumpy camel at the foot of some Giza like golden pointy structures, Tenerife’s pyramids aren’t quite like their Egyptian cousins.
In looks terms, the Egyptian pyramids are George Clooney, whereas GÃ¼Ãmar’s are Woody Allen ““ not particularly stunning to look at but fascinating nonetheless.
GÃ¼Ãmar’s are step pyramids, similar to those in Peru and Mexico, a fact that Norwegian adventurer, Thor Heyerdahl used to support his theories relating to the migration patterns of ancient civilisations.
Heyerdahl attracted controversy throughout his life, often because he wasn’t part of the established scientific community ““ something in his favour. It’s the people who challenge the established order who change the world, not those who kowtow to it.
His claims that GÃ¼Ãmar’s pyramids were built by the Guanche have ignited heated debate on Tenerife for decades and have been treated with as much scepticism as his assertions that an ancient race could travel across the Atlantic on a reed boat. Wait a moment; wasn’t he right about that?
So why the fuss, are the pyramids real or are they an elaborate hoax?
The Pyramids are the Real Deal – Thor Heyerdahl and Supporters
- GÃ¼Ãmar was a Guanche stronghold (this is recorded in Victorian explorer’s diaries). Even by the early 19th century, if outsiders visited a sacred Guanche site without permission the chances are they’d end up in a stew pot. If there were going to be pyramids on Tenerife they’d be somewhere like GÃ¼Ãmar.
- There’s undisputed evidence of a Guanche settlement on the actual site.
- The Guanche were sun worshippers and the pyramids are laid out so that they are perfectly aligned with the summer solstice sunset.
- The rocks used for the pyramids have been carefully laid with a flat side facing out and have been trimmed so they fit together perfectly.
- Step pyramids are hardly unusual in ancient civilisations.
They’re a Work of Fiction ““ The Sceptics and the Farmers
- They’re a hoax constructed to fool tourists and part them from their holiday spends. Hands up how many people have actually been to GÃ¼Ãmar? If that was the reason, it’s not been very successful.
- The stones used only date from the 19th century. This one comes from a couple of Canarian astrophysicists who also suggested that they were built by Freemasons. Historians are still laughing at that one. Maybe it was a mistranslation and they actually meant stonemasons.
- They are nothing more than discarded farmer’s rubble. This is my favourite of all.
Have you seen discarded farmer’s rubble on Tenerife like the piles of agricultural stones in GÃ¼Ãmar’s MalpaÃs, or on Montaña Guaza? It would take an incredible feat of organisation and planning by local farmers to lay their rubble in such a way that it could be mistaken for step pyramids. And there lies one of the strongest arguments of all.
Co-ordinated organisation and planning ““ how likely is that?
It’s obvious where my vote goes. I like a bit of magic in the world. The question that bugs me is this.
On an island which is so proud of its Guanche heritage why are there so many people who feel so strongly about the subject that they cast doubt over their most sacred Guanche legacy?
Local farmers I can understand. When Thor Heyerdahl first championed the GÃ¼Ãmar pyramids the area was about to be developed for housing. It must be a right bugger if you own land primed for property development which then turns out to have archaeological importance.
The Pirámides de GÅ±Ãmar are open every day from 9.30am-6pm; entrance is €10.40 for adults, €5.20 for children.