Pyramids of Guimar

Pyramids of Güímar, Tenerife

Pyramids of Güímar, Tenerife. Photo by Piotrus

The Pyramids of Guimar refer to six rectangular pyramid-shaped, terraced structures, built from lava stone without the use of mortar. They are located in the district of Chacona, part of the town of Güímar on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. While the structures have been dated to the 19th century, their original function has not, as yet, been fully explained.
Local traditions as well as surviving images indicate that similar structures (also known as, “Morras”, “Majanos”, “Molleros” or “Paredones”) could once have been found in many locations on the island. However, over time they have been dismantled and used as a cheap building material. In Güímar itself there were nine pyramids, only the six of which survive.

Pyramids of Guimar

Pyramids of Guimar. Photo by Berthold Werner

In 1990 the well-known adventurer and publisher Thor Heyerdahl became aware of the “Canarian Pyramids” by reading an article written by Francisco Padrón in the Tenerife newspaper “Diario de Avisos” detailing “real pyramids on the Canaries.” As Heyerdahl had hypothesized a transatlantic link between Egypt and Central America, he became intrigued by the Guimar pyramids and relocated to Tenerife. There Heyerdal researched possible parallels between the Canarian terrace structures and pyramid structures in Egypt and Central America – both in regards to construction features and areas between the pyramids which had served in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as ceremonial areas.

Pyramids of Güímar

Pyramids of Güímar

In 1991 research by Antonio Aparcio Juan and Esteban López, both associates of the University of La Lagunas Institute of Astrophysics, suggested that the long sides of some of the terrace structures at Guimar marked the direction of both solstices. Standing on the platform of the largest pyramid on the day of the Summer solstice it is possible to experience a double sunset, first the sun sets behind a mountain top, then it emerges again from behind the mountain and sets a second time behind a neighbouring peak. All the pyramids have stairs on their western side which face the direction of the rising sun on both solstices. However, considering the room that these observations leave for interpretation, it is impossible based solely on these observations alone to conclude that the intention of the structures builders was indeed to create the aforementioned effects.

Pyramids of Güímar

Pyramids of Güímar

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