Tindaya Mountain is in the north of Fuerteventura and is one of the many mountains scattered throughout this part of the island. However, Tindaya is much more than just a mountain.
It is a mountain blessed with mystery and history; a mountain considered sacred by the indigenous people of the island; a mountain where many stone engravings from the pre-Castilian era have been found.
Only these engravings remain from the times when the Mahos – indigenous people from Fuerteventura – performed rituals on Tindaya. The engravings are called “podomorfos”, because they are shaped like feet, and their purpose has not been widely agreed on by historians.
Tindaya: Sacred Mountain
In the pre-colonial era, Fuerteventura was inhabited by a Maghrebi ethnic group from North Africa. And for some Maghrebi ethnic groups, uncommon geographical features, including mountains, had a sacred character, as they were attributed to a manifestation of the power of nature. They believed that some natural monuments were inhabited by gods and should be worshipped.
In Fuerteventura, the indigenous peoples worshipped many different manifestations of nature, but the most important was Tindaya Mountain, which they believed was a kind of personification of the gods.
The role of the engravings is still debated in the research community. While some believe that they served as symbols of partnerships and marriages; others believe that they are drawn where the Mahos would impart justice, and the engravings symbolise the prisoners’ feet; others think that the engravings are born from different religious rituals and indigenous beliefs, such as offerings to the Gods in exchange for water. Given that many engravings point towards Mount Teide, some researchers interpret that the Mahos believed that the Devil lived on Mount Teide, due to the strong volcanic explosions that they saw from Fuerteventura.
And so the legend of Tindaya was born – a mountain 401 metres tall and full of mystery. Only its walls and engravings remain as eyewitnesses of what really happened here: sacrifices, religious rituals, alliances, justice…