The Fortress of Ansite, the last bastion of the aborigines in Gran Canaria
In this new VillaGranCanaria article we’ll present to you one of the most significant archaeological sites in Gran Canaria, not only on the island, but in the whole of the Canary Islands: the Fortress of Ansite.
Who said that stones don't talk? Anyone who comes here and listens carefully will be able to tell of the infinite number of colours that emerge from the mountains and the skies.
You’ll also discover the reliefs and lose yourself in the nature, you’ll soon feel small in the face of the immensity of which you’re a part.
What is the Fortress of Ansite on Gran Canaria?
It’s the best example of a fortified settlement of the ancient aboriginal society of Gran Canaria, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and made up of three rocks: La Fortaleza Grande, La Fortaleza Chica and Titana.
The first inhabitants of the island used it for more than a thousand years as a habitat in caves and houses, as a burial space, a storage place, etc. In fact, the oldest dates of Gran Canaria are found here (4th century).
Of the Fortaleza Grande, the best-known rock of the site, the thing that stands out the most is the tunnel that crosses the mountain and its summit. The dangerous climb to the top is marked by a series of cave engravings and multiple walls erected to make the ascent easier.
The remains of two individuals were recovered from the summit in the 19th century, and there were also a series of stone structures. The excavation of these structures yielded many faunal remains. Furthermore, there was observed a high recurrence of fires.
It’s believed that certain cultural manifestations may have taken place in this area, in particular commensal rituals where the ancestors of the first inhabitants of this area were commemorated.
Around 1483, only a few fortifications remained on Gran Canaria to protect the island from the European conquerors, one of them being La Fortaleza. It was here that the islanders resisted the siege of Pedro de Vera's troops.
Thus, it’s believed that the Canary Island chief Bentejuí, on 29 April 1483, threw himself from the top of the fortress with the cry of 'Atis Tirma', thus avoiding being taken prisoner by the Castilian troops and playing a leading role in one of the most famous chapters of the conquest of the island.
The archaeological wealth of La Fortaleza (habitat, burial, storage, cultural and cave paintings) led to the area being listed as an Asset of Cultural Interest, the highest level of protection for cultural heritage in the Canary Islands.
How to get to the Fortress of Ansite
The fortress is located in the municipality of Santa Lucía de Tirajana in the southeast of the island, an hour's drive from the capital. From Las Palmas de Gran Canaria take the GC-1 motorway and turn off towards Vecindario.
From here, drive in the direction of Santa Lucía and, shortly before reaching the centre of the village, turn left onto the GC-65 road in the direction of Vecindario and follow the signs to La Fortaleza-La Sorrueda. The route is well signposted, so you can't get lost.
What to visit in the area around La Fortaleza
Among the various points of interest near La Fortaleza are the following:
La Fortaleza Interpretation Centre
This is one, if not the most important, of Gran Canaria's main heritage resources. The centre has exhibition resources that allow visitors to learn not only about aspects of the archaeological site of La Fortaleza, but also to understand and interpret the uniqueness of the island's archaeological heritage.
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00 (closed on Mondays).
- Address: Hoya del Rábano, 48 - GC-651, KM 1,9 - La Sorrueda, 35280, Santa Lucía de Tirajana
- Phone number: (+34) 928 798 580
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: www.lafortaleza.es
La Sorrueda Dam
Both this dam and its palm-fringed surroundings are unique landscapes.
It’s located in the mountainous interior of Gran Canaria, in the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana and covers some 5,800 hectares. It offers hiking enthusiasts an infinite number of routes.
Where to stay to enjoy La Fortaleza in Gran Canaria
If you want to contemplate La Fortaleza de Ansite in all its splendour, there’s no better option than staying in any of the nearby accommodations that VillaGranCanaria has prepared for you.