Mount Tindaya


Its summit reaches just 400m above sea level, but Mount Tindaya is the most important – and famous – mountain on the island. The peak, 6km south of La Oliva, has a special place in local history and mythology. More than 200 Guanche rock carvings have been found on the slopes, many in the shape of footprints seemingly pointing towards Tenerife's Mount Teide. A simple hiking trail reaches the summit, taking in some of the rock etchings en route, but ask at the tourist office in Corralejo as it was closed when we last visited.

Locals insist that curious things happen near the mountain: the sick get well, wrongdoers get their comeuppance and so on. In recent years, however, the mountain has been in and out of the headlines for a different reason. Way back in 1985, Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida picked out Mount Tindaya as the site for a gargantuan project that was meant to be his masterpiece. Involving the excavation of 64,000 cubic metres of rock to make way for a vast 40m-high cubist cave, the project met with no small amount of protest. The conception, which Chillida called his 'Monument to Tolerance', was designed to allow people to experience the sheer size of the mountain, and artists' impressions of what the immense cavern would have looked like are certainly sublime. Vertical shafts would allow sun and moonlight into the cavern, the only source of illumination.

Chillida died in 2002, but nine years later local authorities finally gave the go ahead. It stalled once more, but in 2015 Chillida's family gave the rights of the project to the Canarian government and Fuerteventura's cabildo (island government). Protests continue to rage but authorities insist that the development, which they hope will attract 'quality tourism', will go ahead. If construction on Chillida's project begins, Fuerteventura's magic mountain will certainly be off-limits for some time.

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