The Cuatro Puertas Archaeological Site is one of the clearest examples we have today of what life was like for the ancient aborigines of the Canary Islands, more specifically those of Gran Canaria.
This is probably one of the most obvious examples of pre-Hispanic archaeology on the island, along with the Cueva Pintada in Gáldar and the Cenobio de Valerón in Guía, both in the north of the island.
What is the Cuatro Puertas Archaeological Site in Telde
Cuatro Puertas (literally, Four Doors in Spanish) is a large artificial cave, excavated by hand out of volcanic tuff and located in Montaña Bermeja (Red Mountain), about three kilometres from the city of Telde (the second most populated city on the island after the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria).
The most characteristic feature of this site (one of the largest in the whole of the Canary Islands) is its four north-facing doors leading to the great hall, whose use has been linked to magical-religious practices.
This almogarén (a term specific to Gran Canaria that refers to places where the aborigines carried out their ritual and religious practices) is completed by a multitude of caves.
Continuing in an easterly direction, there’s a path carved in the tuff that runs along the south side of the hill and leads to the so-called Cueva de los Papeles cave, which is an artificial cavity with a circular floor plan, on whose walls are engraved several pubic triangles, traditionally associated with propitiatory fertility rites.
Following the path is the group of caves known as Cueva de los Pilares, which corresponds to a troglodyte settlement made up of a multitude of artificial dwelling caves, linked by corridors and tunnels, as well as granaries and other enclosures, to which it’s difficult to attribute a specific function.
Many of the caves have a central room, to which other smaller enclosures are attached, suggesting the existence of differentiated locations for daily life. The caves were probably enclosed by dry stone walls and the interior space was divided by stone alignments or light structures made of branches and skins.
From here, another path leads down through a small tunnel to a cave-barn, which is reached by a narrow "chimney", almost impossible to locate without an expert guide. Further on, on the eastern side, there is a mill quarry which is difficult to access by means of a path that has been erased and is full of cactuses.
It’s not surprising that this site is located in Telde, as this was one of the two guanartematos or kingdoms into which the island of Tamarán (as Gran Canaria was known to its inhabitants before the arrival of Europeans) was divided.
How to get to the Cuatro Puertas Archaeological Site in Gran Canaria
To reach the Cuatro Puertas site there are several options.
By private vehicle
To get to this emblematic place you have to drive along the GC-1, the main motorway of the island until you take exit 15 (Base aérea/Ojos de Garza) and exit at the roundabout in the direction of El Goro, linking up with the GC-140.
Once you’ve passed this district of Telde, continue until you reach a roundabout, where you have to take the exit to the left on the GC-100 and follow the signs until you reach some buildings on the left, where you should turn in the same direction.
Once the ascent begins, leave the car approximately halfway up the road and continue on foot to reach the site.
By public transport
To get to this site by public transport, use one of the lines of Global, Gran Canaria's public bus company.
- From the north of Gran Canaria: by any line to Telde (12, 80, etc.) and then change to line 35 (Telde-Agüimes) to Cuatro Puertas.
- From the south of Gran Canaria: by any line to Agüimes (41, 52) or Telde (36, 90) and then change to line 35 (Telde-Agüimes) to Cuatro Puertas.
Useful information to visit the Cuatro Puertas Caves in Telde
Some interesting facts about this archaeological site are as follows.
Indicative distances and times
- From Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 24 kilometres or 20 minutes by car.
- From Maspalomas: 38 kilometres or 30 minutes by car.
Final de la Calle Guanche, 35215, Telde, Las Palmas, Spain