The Cabildo of Gran Canaria (Island Government) manages the important historical heritage that our island conserves and defends the maximum protection of all the listed spaces and items. In the context of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, in December 2014, this Island Government decided to promote the inscription of the Cultural Landscape of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria in the World Heritage List, in collaboration with the Canary Island Government and with the support of the Spanish central government.
The nominated Cultural Landscape covers an extensive mountainous area of the centre of our island, holding unique values within the colossal Caldera de Tejeda, a “petrified storm” as Miguel de Unamuno called it. It is an outstanding example that represents the odyssey of island cultures of the Earth and contains the marks of a unique cultural process that evolved in isolation for over 1500 years from its Amazigh (Berber) roots, in North Africa, and which now aspires to becoming the new paradigm of Mankind’s historical and cultural evolution.
We are talking about some of the places where the ancient Canarians managed to create their own vision of the sacred mountains: uniting heaven and earth, integrating the skyscape into their cosmology, as the “almorgarenes” or sanctuaries of Risco Caído and El Bentayga clearly show with their evident astronomical connotations. This is a landscape in which these same settlers engraved their spiritual perception in the rocks and created spectacular, complex troglodyte settlements, clinging to crags and cliffs, creating a tradition that remains alive and which has turned the cave house into a symbol of pride and identity for the inhabitants of this area. Moreover, we have the survival of ancestral traditions and land uses, such as transhumance, growing crops on terraces and water management, making this landscape an open book dealing with intelligent, environmentally-friendly, sustainable uses of the land and of the value that its outstanding natural and cultural heritage now has.