Tindaya, the sacred mountain of Fuerteventura 🗻

Tindaya, Fuerteventura
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Mount Tindaya in Fuerteventura is an imposing natural and cultural monument on one of the most charming islands in the Canary archipelago. It is a place that not only stands out for its geological beauty, but also for its deep historical and spiritual significance, as it was considered sacred by the ancient aborigines of the Canary Islands. Throughout this article we will explore why Tindaya is a magical destination that we recommend to those who visit Fuerteventura and are interested in the rich cultural and natural heritage of this island.

📍 Where is the mountain of Tindaya?

So, where is the mountain of Tindaya? Mount Tindaya is located in the northwest of the Canary Island of Fuerteventura, in the eastern islands of the Canary archipelago, within the territory of the municipality of La Oliva. At its foot is the village of Tindaya, which is only 7 km from La Oliva, the capital of the north of Fuerteventura. In fact, the mountain is visible from several points of the island, dominating the landscape with its characteristic silhouette.

🌄 What makes Mount Tindaya so special?

At 400 metres high, this solitary mountain, shaped by time, imposes itself on the dry, flat landscape characteristic of the island. But Mount Tindaya in Fuerteventura is not only special for its panoramic views over the ocean and the island, but also for its cultural and spiritual significance. The mountain was considered sacred to the island’s aborigines, the Mahos, who believed it possessed magical properties. In fact, its name means “Big Mountain” in the Guanche language, and the natives transformed it into an open-air temple.

In this sacred place the celestial bodies were worshipped, invocations were made for rain to fall on the crops; the arrival of the solstices was calculated; and various ritual ceremonies were performed. For the pre-Hispanic peoples, Tindaya actually functioned as an immense astronomical clock.

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After the Viking conquest of Fuerteventura in 1404, these aboriginal religious practices on the mountain of Tindaya ceased, giving way to the new Christian cult. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, the legend surrounding Tindaya was incorporated into local folklore as a place where witches took refuge, giving rise to stories such as the Bailadero de las Brujas (Witches’ Ballroom), a cave where witchcraft rituals were supposedly performed.

At present, Tindaya is recognised by Spanish authorities as a Natural Monument, protected for its geological and biological value, and standing out for its unique composition of trachyte, a rare volcanic rock. Other titles enjoyed by this mountain are those of Natural Site of National Interest, or Area of Ecological Sensitivity; it is also part of the Fuerteventura Biosphere Reserve.

There are some marked trails that allow you to walk around the base of the mountain; it is advisable to be prepared with suitable footwear, sunscreen and water. However, given its high natural and archaeological value, please note that direct access to the summit is currently prohibited, although there are some news that in the future it will be possible to visit the area with permission and a guide. In the meantime, always remember to respect the heritage and enjoy the natural beauty of the site.

🏺 The archaeological remains discovered in Tindaya

The mountain Tindaya in Fuerteventura is above all famous for its archaeological remains. During various archaeological excavations, more than 300 podomorphic petroglyphs (footprints), called “podomorfos” in Spanish, have been discovered on the top of the mountain. These engravings are of great archaeological importance, as they have revealed a ritual use of the mountain by ancient aboriginal populations; they consist of mysterious rock drawings of feet of between 17 and 34 centimetres, carved in stone, totalling more than 300 representations.

These engravings seem to follow a specific pattern in their arrangement, suggesting that they are not randomly placed. Present only in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote within the Canary Islands, and also in regions of North Africa with Berber cultural influence, the exact meaning of these petroglyphs is still unknown, although it has been observed that the podomorphic petroglyphs at Tindaya are aligned towards significant geographical locations such as the Mount Teide in Tenerife or the Pico de las Nieves (Snows Peak) in Gran Canaria, which reinforces the idea of a communication network and a religious cult shared by the Canary Islands.

petroglyphs in Fuerteventura’s Tindaya Mountain

Some archaeoastronomers interpret this orientation as possible evidence of its use to observe celestial phenomena, such as the lunar transit, the arrival of the winter solstice and the position of the planet Venus, among others. It should be noted that the podomorphic petroglyphs in Lanzarote are oriented towards the Tindaya Mountain: this would demonstrate, once again, that the religious and cultural importance of Tindaya as a sacred mountain in aboriginal times transcended the island of Fuerteventura itself.

🚗 How to get to Tindaya

Getting to Fuerteventura’s Tindaya is relatively easy. You can travel from the island’s capital, Puerto del Rosario, a journey that takes approximately 20 minutes by car, so it is not too long. To do this you can take the FV-10 road to the north, and then follow the signs to Tindaya. It is also possible to get there from Corralejo following the FV-101.

🏖️ What can you visit near Tindaya?

In the surroundings of the Tindaya mountain, tourists can take the opportunity to explore places like the beaches of Tindaya in Fuerteventura: Jarubio, Tebeto beach, Esquinzo, or even the famous Playa de la Escalera (Stairway Beach), are usually almost empty and offer a serene atmosphere, ideal to relax and enjoy the beauty of this island.

In addition, there are several charming villages nearby, such as La Oliva and El Cotillo, where tourists can discover the local architecture and there are good restaurants where they can taste Canarian food. For those looking for hotel accommodation in Tindaya, Fuerteventura, there is a small but charming rural hotel in the village of Tindaya itself; you can also choose to stay in tourist rental houses in the area.

As you have seen, exploring Tindaya in Fuerteventura offers much more than you might expect in any other tourist destination; it is a place full of history, culture and natural beauty that deserves to be explored, both for its archaeological significance or to enjoy the local landscape and gastronomy; or simply to spend a quiet day on its almost virgin beaches. So, what are you waiting for to visit Fuerteventura?

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