San Bartolome de Tirajana is, with its 333 km², the largest municipality on the island. It is formed by the Fataga, Maspalomas, Meloneras, Playa del Inglés, San Agustin, San Bartolome de Tirajana and El Tablero. It stretches from Maspalomas on the south coast to deep inland, where it contains the highest peaks. From the highest point there are several valleys (barranco's) to the coast: the Barranco de Tirajana, Barranco de Arguineguin, the Barranco de Fataga, the Barranco de los Vicentes, Barranco la Data and Barranco de Chamoriscan.
If you take the GC-60 from Maspalomas to Bartolome de Tirajana you drive through the Barranco de Fataga and come across different sights :
This is an open air museum, where a village of the Guanches, the original inhabitants of Gran Canaria, was reconstructed. It has an area of 10 ha.
You look at the Barranco de Fataga, a ravine of 15 kilometers long. There is a small parking lot. The information boards provide sufficient explanation.
We did not really intend to visit Arteara, but our stop on the Mirador de las Yeguas made us change our. It is only a few kilometers further up the road. The car can be parked at the beginning of the village.
At the parking we meet some camels. 100 meters further there is a camel farm where you can make a trip with a camel.
The walk along the GC-601 to the museum is about 600 meters long. Along the road are some information boards that tell you more about the history of the village. For example, more than half of the inhabitants in 1900 still had the family name "Vera", a name that we will later encounter in Puerto de las Nieves, as one of the first colonizers of the island.
There are numerous palm trees in the valley, which indicates the presence of (underground) water in the barranco. We also pass some water reservoirs along the way, which allow some gardening activities. Along the road we see many flowers and even in January there is a lot of fruit hanging on the trees. One of the residents even lets us taste the Guayabo Blanco.
At the end of the road is a small museum with behind it the Necropolis de Arteara, a cemetery where more than 800 graves were found of the original inhabitants of the island.
There are some small rooms where you can learn more about the cemetery and you can take a short walk in the cemetery.
According to one of our guides, the 'bones' were still here 30 years ago. Currently the site is well researched. Most of the tombs have probably been reconstructed, but they do give a good idea of what it must have looked like.
From Arteara it goes further up. Fataga is the next village on the GC-60. It lies at an altitude of 600 meters.
There are no real sights. The church in the center is closed. Walk through the village, through the narrow streets with the white houses. At the bakery you can buy typical Fataga sandwiches, but we are there during the siesta, so the bakery is closed.
We run into Joris, a Fleming who has settled in the village with his girlfriend Kathleen. He invited us to take a look at his home (even though we are 16). The cottage, quietly situated on the outskirts of the village, has been completely renovated. Kathleen works with clay, which is not so obvious: the oven in which the clay is baked is driven by a group of 18 KW. To integrate into the village she has made a clay tablet for all the inhabitants with the name of the family on it and which we have seen hanging on numerous houses. A very original form of 'social networking'. Joris tells us that half of the houses in the village are owned by foreigners (especially Germans).
Name plates Joris
The center of the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, also called Tunte, lies at an altitude of about 900 meters, on the slopes of the Barranco de Tirajana. It lies in the middle of an old volcano crater, the Caldera de Tirajana.
The Iglesia de San Bartolomé de Tirajana dates back to the 19th century. It has the ground plan of a basilica, with a ship and two side aisles. The stained-glass windows represent the patron saints of the churches of the neighboring villages. Look among others at Santa Lucia, who wears a plate with two eyes. The oldest statue in the church, from the 16th century, is the wooden statue of "Pinar" that is brought in procession to a neighboring chapel during the festivals in July (last Saturday before 25 July). There are 2 versions of the image in the church.
Behind the altar is the statue of San Bartolomé, flanked by Mary (left) and Joseph (right). It is quite exceptional that Joseph is depicted the child on the arm with. Also the fact that Joseph is described as 'adoptive father' of Jesus does not seem commonplace to us.
On the other side of the Plaza de Santiago is the city hall, with a nice balcony. Go in to view the courtyard.
You have probably already passed beautiful views when entering Tunte, but go and have a look at the two vantage points: the Mirador del Polvo and the Mirador de la Orilla, from where you have another beautiful view of the underlying barranco.