By emanuel

Pyramids of Güímar

One of the most fascinating building to see in Tenerife is the Pyramids of Güímar. The origin of these constructions was for a long time clouded in mystery. There were rumors that these constructions were in fact constructed by the native Guanches of Tenerife. This however is not the case.

The pyramids were most likely constructed in the 19th century as a side effect of agricultural labor. When the farmers plowed their fields, they placed the rocks in the formations that eventually became the Pyramids of Güímar. The reason for building these pyramids is however unclear. It has been stated that these sorts of pyramids might have existed all over the Canary Islands but have been razed due to the need of building supplies.

Aesthetically, these pyramids share a lot of traits with Aztec pyramids even though they are not as old. However, they are still really worth a visit due to the sheer beauty of Güímar and the amazing pyramid constructions. Güímar is located only 29 kilometers south of Santa Cruz which is a drive well worth the time. The former excavation site covers an area of 65 000 m2. Here one can also visit a museum with Guanche artifact that were found in a natural lava cave nearby the pyramids.

The entrance price is about €14 and you can get a lot of value for your money. Including the poisonous garden that feature over 70 poisonous and even lethal plants for you to see. There is also a environmentally sustainable garden planted in a ravine that shows the natural plant life of these environment as well as eels that swim through the rivers and streams of the garden. There are also some shops and restaurants in Güímar to make your visit into a full day of exploration.

So next time you’re in Tenerife: visit Güímar and experience everything the place has to offer!

Also, if exploration is your thing, read more about the hiking possibilities of Tenerife here! 

By emanuel

Dragon Tree of Tenerife

An article about a tree? Doesn’t that sound rather dull? Well it’s named the Dragon Tree after all, which must make it a little bit exciting. And in Tenerife you can find the Ancient Dragon Tree which many say is a thousand years old.

The Dragon Tree, with the latin name of Dracaena draco, is a tree that is native to the Canary Islands. The tree has a distinct apperance as it does not really grow in the same way as a “normal” tree. The Dragon Tree goes through many different stages while growing. During the first 10-15 years it consists of a single stem that grows by itself. But when the first decade of the trees life has passed, something happens. The tree shoots out new stems that grow from the first one. Meaning that it branches out more and more.

The tree is actually a national symbol of Tenerife and the entire Canary Islands. In Icod de Los Vinos you can find the “Ancient Dragon Tree“. It is often stated that this tree is over a thousand years old. But there is really no way of telling as the Dragon Tree does not produce “age rings” in the same manner as other trees. The tree is however at least a couple of hundred years old. The tree has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

The Dragon Trees status in the world is vulnerable according to IUCN. Meaning that the tree is in the risk zone of becoming endangered unless actions are taken for its preservation.

There’s also a story about a Dragon Tree that excited for thousands of years on the island and was worshipped by the Guanches. The Prussian explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt saw it during his visit to Tenerife. Due to it’s massive size of over 20 meters in height and almost 15 meters in width it is argued that this tree was 6000 years old. However, the tree was destroyed by a storm in 1868 so there’s no way of ever knowing if this is true.

Another World Heritage Site is Teide National park. Why not visit it?

Vintersol
By emanuel

Vintersol – the Swedish Rehab Center

Vintersol is a rehabilitation clinic focused on rheumatic and neurological diseases which is located right by the ocean. The history of Vintersol is actually closely entwined with the history of tourism in Tenerife as a whole.

The history of Vintersol starts back in the 1950s two Swedes arrived in Tenerife: Olle Ryding and Bengt Rylander. Both men suffered from diseases, Bengt had mutable sclerosis and Olle had rheumatic arthritis. However, they realized that the sun of Tenerife actually had a healing effect on their bodies. They suffered more from their diseases in the cold and barren climate of Sweden, so they decided to move to Tenerife. Here, they started working. They worked with creating a rehab-center for over a decade. They worked with both the Spanish and Swedish government to make their dream a reality.

After years of planning, and 3 years of building. In 1965, their dream finally came true and Vintersol finally opened. It had a capacity of about of 60 patients but as time passed Vintersol started cooperate with other foundations and organisations which led to expanding the clinic in both size and capacity. This meant that in the 1980s the clinic could have 100 patients at once. The growth of the clinic has continued until present day and the clinic has also been modernized. During this time the clinic have been run by several different organizations and in 2015 they celebrated their 50th anniversary.

But what is the significance of Vintersol outside of being a rehab center? Vintersol is basically what started Scandinavian tourism to Tenerife. What started with patients was expanded to spouses, to close family and also to friends. This chain-reaction put Tenerife on the map as a common travel destination.

Read more stories in our travel mag! Maybe about the accessible beach which lies right next to the clinic.

Suicide Cult in Tenerife in 1998 PICTURES
By emanuel

Suicide Cult in Tenerife in 1998

We would like to warn sensitive readers, as it’s time for a true horror story from Tenerife. About a 56-year-old woman from Berlin named Heide Fittkau-Garthe. She moved to Tenerife and started a horrible suicide cult.

The story begins in 1994 when Heide Fittkau-Garthe sold all her assets and moved from Berlin to Tenerife. Heide, being a psychologist used her background to lure people into joining her suicide cult in Tenerife. According to a BBC article posted in 1998 the cult revolved around apocalyptic theories that the world was about to end. Heide proclaimed that if the entire cult consisting of about 30 people committed collective suicide on mount Teide a spaceship would take their dead bodies to heaven.

It is a story that is both scary as well as fascinating. How a woman of 56 years managed to gather so many people into to something so outrageous.

Another interesting fact about the cult is that Heide, according to the Independent, managed to lure both university graduates and people from the middle class into her cult, as well as their children! This says something about Heide’s extremely methods of persuasion as she managed to brainwash people from many different parts pf the society. She even brainwashed people into paying up to 300 pounds for attending her meetings.

This horror story has a somewhat happy ending though. On the 8th of January, Spanish police managed to shut down the cult and stop the plans of collective suicide. Heide was put on trial and the rest of the suicide cult in Tenerife was free to go as they were victims of their leader.

Heide however, were sentenced to 8 years in prison. However, years have passed and Heide have been free for a long time. After the events she have remained active online. She even have her own website called Heidelovesyou.com where she posts so called “lessons” where she speaks to the camera.

That’s all for our true horror-story time. All our stories are not this dark however. You can read more articles about the history of Tenerife among other things HERE.

By emanuel

Imported Sand in Tenerife

Sand. It might seem like it’s a matter that has no real usefulness. But that is factually wrong. Sand is one of the most used matters by man in building concrete and asphalt for example. Besides that, it’s hard to beat the feeling of warm sand under your feet when walking on a sandy beach.

There is a history of imported sand in Tenerife. Tenerife does not really have any natural sandy beaches, most of the natural beaches are rocky or have small lava rocks. That’s why there have been enormous imports of sand from West Sahara to Tenerife.

The origin of the sand import was that it was very expensive to make volcanic sand for the beaches of Tenerife. It proved to be far more cheap to import sand from West Sahara which is a region largely occupied by Morocco. The key-phrase here is occupied. As Western Sahara is often called “The last African Colony” as after the Spanish colonization it was taken over by Morocco.

There is still a conflict between Morocco and Sahrawi native rebels that want to be free from their occupiers. Therefore, the imported sand has been a controversial subject as many have called it a theft from the Sahrawi people. It sure is an infected subject and it has been a really violent conflict throughout the decades. It should be stated that the conflict does not revolve about sand but it is more a question of independence and national identity for the Sahrawi.

The imported sand in Tenerife were far greater in the early days of Tenerife tourism however. In 1970 when Western Sahara was still a Spanish colony a 270 000 tonnes of sand were imported to build the Las Teresitas beach. Today the sand import to Tenerife is much smaller which can be seen a positive thing due to the infected conflict between the Sahrawi and Morocco.

Read more news and stories in our Travel Mag.

Football in Tenerife - The story of CD Tenerife
By emanuel

Football in Tenerife – The story of CD Tenerife

Tenerife is not really known for their success in Football. Even though there are some successful players that comes from the Canary Islands like David Silva. The team primary team CD Tenerife have had its ups and downs. But for one time in history they played 10 years in the first division of La Liga.

The history of football in Tenerife starts in 1912 when Tenerife Sporting Club was founded. The team was founded by merging smaller teams together into one. In 1922 they changed their name to Club Deportivo Tenerife, or CD Tenerife, which name still remains today. However it took some years before Spanish football was organized in the way we know it today. In 1928 La Liga was founded, but CD Tenerife wasn’t successful enough as a team to be a part of it.

The team finally reached Segunda División of La Liga in 1953 which is right below the top teams. In 1961 they reached the top Primera División of La Liga which was a great success for the team. However, the team struggled a lot and got demoted back to the second and even the third division. This lasted for a period of about 30 years, the success of 1961 wasn’t reached until 1989.

1989 – 1999 sure was the golden age of CD Tenerife. They got into, and stayed, in Primera División for 10 consecutive  years! In the seasons of 92/93 and 95/95 they finished in fifth place which is the teams greatest achievements to date. After 1999 the reached the Primera División two more times in the seasons of 01/02 and 09/10. However, both these times they finished in 19th place of the 20 teams which caused them to instantly get demoted back to Secunda División.

Today the team is in the Secunda División but they are by no means a top team. Only time will tell if the team will relive their great success of 1989-1999. It’s not likely, but it is possible.

If you want more stories from Tenerife, read our Travel Mag!

The History of Tenerife ADD PICTURE 1
By emanuel

The History of Tenerife

The history of Tenerife begun 7 million years ago. Tenerife probably used to be 3 different islands until a great volcano outbreak forged the islands together into the Tenerife of today. Later, the volcano of Teide was created which is a volcano that still remains active until present day. The history of Tenerife is long one and here’s some of the major events: 

Humans settled the Island around 200 BC. These people were called the Guanches and their history is clouded in mystery. There are still remains of these tribes on Tenerife today in forms of artifacts that are preserved. The Guanches lived there for over a thousand years, almost completely isolated from the outside world. But this all changed during the Spanish conquest in the 15th century. The Spanish invaders described the Guanches as short, rather light-skinned and surprisingly many of them were blonde. One fascinating thing about the Guanches is that they lived all over the Canary islands but for every island they had a different name.

By the 15th and 16th century Spanish replaced the Guanches on the island. Many of the Guanches died from diseases such as small pox and influensa that they lacked resistance from as an effect of their isolation. However many Spanish families got close relations with the Guanches and the Guanches got married into their families. Following the Spanish invasion Tenerife became an island with a major trading metropolis in the 18th century as the united states became a nation.

In the end of the 19th and early 20th century the tourism of Tenerife. First from Spanish tourist and later by British and northern Europe. The tourism developed but it had some major problems following the Spanish civil war when it fell in the hands of nationalist in 1936 for some time. However, following the post-war era there was a major boom in financial growth following the liberalization of the west. The Scandinavian founded the rehab-center Vintersol in the 1960th. This led to a lot of Scandinavian patients and their families coming to the island. This is why Scandinavian tourists are still common on the island today.

But that is going to be all for ExcursionOnes history lesson. Hope you learned something!