Location: Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands, Spain
Who Considers it Sacred? Native Canary Islanders
Significance: Geologists consider the mountain to be vital geological remains; the mountain is also holy to the descendants of the pre-Hispanic people of the Canary Islands. Mount Tindaya may have been an ancient cult center, and perhaps an observatory for the summer solstice. 203 podomorphs (ancient rock carvings in the shape of feet) can be found near the summit.
The Threat: Vandalism; Looting
Preservation Status: Mount Tindaya was granted protected status in 1987, but Spain has authorized a 50-meter cube to be excavated as an artistic project by the sculptor Eduardo Chillida. Perhaps 30 of the ancient podomorphs have been stolen since the announcement of the project. The government has given quarrying rights for the site to firms with family ties to the administration. If the artistic project goes through, geologists believe that the summit will collapse.
As noted in the Winter 2000 issue of Site Saver, “the Special Protection Plan for the Archaeological Zone commissioned by the government has been rejected by the Fuerteventura Island council as supporting the sculptor’s project rather than conserving the mountain.” Council members complain that not one archaeologist was consulted for the Archaeological Zone plan. The sculptor died, thus ending the controversy.
For More Information: Site Saver Newsletter, Volume X, Number 2, Winter 2000; Mount Tindaya