What is Pirámides de Güímar?

The Ethnographic Park Pirámides de Güímar was founded in 1998 by the renowned Norwegian researcher Thor Heyerdahl, who was responsible for safeguarding the pyramids from an urban plan, creating the Ethnographic Park to ensure its study and conservation. Throughout its more than 64.000m2 you can discover the pyramid complex, a museum, an auditorium, several outdoor routes, large garden areas and much more.

The existence of the Güímar step pyramids first came to wide public notice in the early 1990’s. The information reached the anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl. Heyerdahl, who dedicated much of his life to researching the cultural origins of ancient civilisations throughout the world, carefully studied the Güímar pyramids. The similarity of these structures to those in Sicily, Mexico, Mesopotamia, Polynesia and Peru induced Heyerdahl to settle in Tenerife to study the structures in situ.

Various theories exist as to the origin and age of the pyramids. Some researchers maintain that they were mere heaps of stones left by farmers clearing the land for cultivation. Heyerdahl on the other hand related the existence of the pyramids to ancient civilisations on the island, arguing that the construction details of the pyramids resemble the architectural principles used in the Old and New Worlds, and therefore could not be the product of a mere accumulation of stones. In 1991, a team of archaeologists from the University of La Laguna (Tenerife) and the foundation FERCO conducted the first excavations in the plaza located between two of the pyramids that form the main complex. This campaign yielded a series of materials from the mid-nineteenth century. Meanwhile, researchers of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries undertook a study of the archaeoastronomical characteristics of these structures. These investigations showed that the pyramids are oriented astronomically to the summer and winter solstices.

Later, another theory was proposed, linking the pyramids with the owner in the mid-nineteenth century of the land where they are located, Mr. Antonio Diaz-Flores. In the documents of purchase of the land, dating from 1854, there is no mention of stepped structures, while the will drafted by Diaz-Flores in 1872 does mention these structures. This would narrow the date of construction to that brief period of two decades, which would coincide with the dating of the pieces found in the first excavation campaign that took place in the plaza. If this theory were true, this would not reduce the cultural value of the pyramids, but would rather confirm their ethnographic importance, as they would be a testimony of the knowledge and work undertaken by the Canarian people of the nineteenth century, and thus would confirm the need for their conservation.

In 2017, Pirámides de Güímar obtained the prestigious denomination of Botanical Garden, granted unanimously by the Ibero-Macaronesian Association of Botanical Gardens. This recognition is the fruit of the work of many years: as an open-air museum, several open routes have been created on the culture, history, botany and nature of the Canary Islands, giving a greater role to our botanical collection, which today represents an integral part of the exhibitions that can be discovered in the more than 20.000m2 of accessible garden spaces.

 

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