On our way from Firgas to Galdar we miss the GC-2, the motorway connecting Las Palmas with the Galdar. We end up on the GC-291 which initially runs parallel to the GC-2 and is quite wide. But the road narrows and we end up in some wonderful barranco's (including the Barranco de Valeron).
Along the way we also encounter the archaeological excavations of Cenobio Valeron. We are already too late for our visit to the Pintada Cueva, so we do not enjoy it anymore. (There are more than 300 openings in the rocks at Cenobio Valeron and it has long been thought that this must have been a monastic community, but recently it came to the conclusion that it may have been storage sites for grain.)
Galdar is a fairly large city. Together with Santa Maria de Guia it is located at the foot of the Montaña de Galdar (433 m).
The Cueva Pintada is located in the middle of the city, near the center. We make another mistake (it is reallynot our day) to go there by car, so we end up in the narrow streets around the city center, where the parking places turn out to be as scarce as Spaniards who speak English. It must be said that the locals are willing to help and with many gestures and a few words of Spanish we manage to get rid of the car.
A beautiful museum has been erected at the Cueva. The site is about 5,000 m² in size. You will not only find the cave. The foundations of some 50 'prehistoric' dwellings, 10 warehouses and a sugar cane processing plant were also uncovered.
The houses belonged to the original guanche-residents of the island. They still lived in the stone age until the 15th century. They had no metal objects, only primitive tools made from animal bones and basalt rocks. With that, the cave was carved into the hill. The inhabitants already knew how to manufacture objects from clay. However, the barrels are primitive and hardly decorated. Very special are the 'stamps' or 'Pintadores', of which around 250 were found and related to the families who lived together in a very hierarchical context.
After the capture by the Spaniards, the site got neglected. The Spaniards laid out 3 terraces for the construction of sugar cane. A few centuries later, the cave was accidentally discovered by a farmer who hit the ceiling of the cave when working on his field.
In the cave a number of primitive wall paintings were found, unique to the Canary Islands. Similar murals were found at the Berbers in North Africa. They date from around 1100 AD.
The cave was closed for a long time, but since 2006 it has been open to the public. The visit is best reserved in advance. There are only 15 guided tours per day with 15 participants, of which only a few in French or in English. The entrance fee is 6 EUR (4 EUR for seniors), including the 1 ½ hour tour.
Address: Calle Audiencia.
The Plaza de Santiago, the center of the old city, is near the museum. On the way you will pass the Teatro Municipal.
On the west side of the square is the Iglesia de Santiago de los Cabaleros. It turns out to be one of the most beautiful churches in Gran Canaria, but unfortunately it was closed on the day of our visit. Be sure to walk around the church, because the red dome is only visible from the back.
On the courtyard of the town hall (located on the number 1 of the square) is the dragon's blood tree, which was planted there in 1718. Apparently, it was not taken into account at the time that the tree would become so big (or so old)! Around the square there are also a number of colorful houses in Canarian style.
Iglesia de Santiago
Dragon Blood Tree
The coasts of Galdar are quite spectacular. Especially the village of Sardina would have a nice beach. However, we opt for Puerto de las Nieves.
In the neighboring Santa Maria de Guia you will find the following sights: