Fortaleza - Fortaleza de Ansite

Useful Information

The whole rock of Ansite from the next road. The numerous caves are easy to see, the biggest one is the through cave about one third from the right.
Location: GC-651, 35280 Santa Lucía de Tirajana, Las Palmas.
(27.882980, -15.528035)
Open: no restrictions.
Museo de La Fortaleza: All year Tue-Sun 10-17.
Fee: free.
Museo de La Fortaleza: Adults EUR 4, Children (5-12) EUR 2, Children (0-4) free, Seniors (65+) EUR 3, Unemployed EUR 3.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 3.
Classification: Speleologylava cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided Español - Spanish English Deutsch - German
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: La Fortaleza de Ansite, Museo de La Fortaleza, GC-651, 35280 Santa Lucía de Tirajana, Las Palmas, Tel: +34-928-79-85-80. E-mail:
Tourist Information Office, Parque de Santa Catalina, 35007 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tel: +34-928-264623, Fax: +34-928-229820.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


29-APR-1483 a meeting of Guanche leaders at the site results in their capitulation.


the opposite view of above.

This place is called Ansite in several publications and on the signs leading to this place. Ansite was, concerning to Spanisch chronists, the last refuge of the Canarian people against the spanish conquerors. The Guanche were able to live on Ansite for several years because they had water and enough land on top of the mountain to grow food. The location of Ansite is forgotten, but many locals think, this is the place as it shows many of the features described in the Spanish text. However, there is no archaeological evidence of this.

Tenesor Semidán was the Guanarteme or King of Gáldar. After several years of fighting the Castilian invaders, he was captured in 1482 and sent to the mainland. There he met the Catholic Monarchs and was baptised Fernando Guanarteme.
He returned to Gran Canaria in October of the same year. At this time, groups of rebels on the island, led by Bentejuí, the Guanarteme of Telde, had retreated to the peaks to continue the resistance. On 29-APR-1483, Tenesor Semidán met Bentejuí, Princess Guayarmina, and Tazadre in the fortress Ansite. Tazadre was the Faycán of Telde, a kind of advisor and priest.
There is no record of what was discussed, but after that Guayarmina decided to give up with the members of the rebel group. But Bentejuí and Tazadre climbed to the top of the fortress to throw themselves down, shouting "Atis Tirma" ("For you, land"). This marked the end of the resistance against the Castilians. Fernando Guanarteme also helped conquer La Palma and Tenerife. To some he is a traitor, to others a hero making the best of the inevitable European invasion of the islands.
For his help ending the fight, the Catholic Monarchs granted Fernando Guanarteme the right to live in Gáldar with 40 relatives. By 1490, however, the group had grown substantially and as a result many of them were deported.

This place is also called la Fortezza (the Fortress) or recently also Fortaleza de Ansite, because it is easily defensible. Also, there is a big number of natural and artificial caves. They excavated numerous caves in the walls of the rocky mountain and on the surrounding plain. And there are different stone structures that could have been defence bastions. But as there are not many resources like water and food on the rock, its was probably some sort of emergency hideout, only suitable as long as the reserves lasted. Since this place is not capable of supporting a large number of fighters with their families and cattle, as described by the chroniclers, it is probably not the legendary Ansite, whose location is still unknown.

But the site nevertheless has a great number of archaeological remains and was excavated numerous times in the last decades. Due to its archaeological wealth, the area has been classified as a Site of Cultural Interest by the Government of the Canary Islands. This is the highest level of protection for cultural heritage. Recent finds show settlements that are more than 2,000 years old. The caves were used for storage and burial caves in which valuable ceramic remains, cave paintings and ancient graves have been found. A few people were also living here, but not many people at the same time.

The site is reached from Vecindario in the coastel plain or from San Bartolomé de Tirajana in the center of the island on GC-65. At the turnoff follow GC-651 through Santa Lucia Tirajana, which ends at a huge parking lot at the foot of the Ansite. From here numerous walking trails across the mountain start. The most interesting is obviously the main trail which is marked Ansite and leads uphill in serpentines to the entrance of the biggest cave in the Ansite. This is a huge tunnel which crosses the whole rock, a through-cave. It is obviously the remains of a lava tube which was eroded on both ends by the rivers cutting deep ravines into the volcanic rock. The cave passage is high enough to walk through upright and there are stone walls inside forming a sort of arena. This place is used for concerts or plays, but it is not clear how much of this is historic. The actual state is recent, the paths and the galleries in the cave were created only a few years ago. Probably it is used on the 29-APR when the Fiesta de Ansite takes place.

New is the Museo de La Fortaleza or Centro de Interpretación La Fortaleza which was opened a few years ago and shows the history, the legends, and the archaeological evidence of the site. They also offer free guided tours, or for groups after appointment for a small fee. They organize numerous other events like talks or workshops.