Route: Cruz del Siglo
A visit to Cruz del Siglo provides stunning views all over Valle de La Aldea and immediate surroundings. Visitors will see how the town is surrounded by high mountains, with sharp peaks and narrow ravines. The route has been prepared for hikers and offers the chance to gain a different insight into this region.
LEVEL CHANGES (Metres above sea level)
Town Centre: 63 m.
Castañeta: 75 m.
Tarmac roundabout at Las Tabladas: 191 m.
Cruz del Siglo: 186 m.
Details of the route:
The route starts off in the town centre, specifically at calle Real, which leads to calle Cecilio Segura Bautista which in turn takes us to the mouth of the ravine. Crossing over we reach the little hamlet of Castañeta on the street called “La Cruz”, which is where the tarmac runs out. Here we begin our ascent up a dirt track to our next reference point: the calvary at the site known as “El Peñón Rajao”.
This calvary or “resting place for the dead”, made up of three wooden crosses that stand over some basalt rocks on the verge of the footpath, used to be a resting point, as it was on the route on which people who had died in accidents were brought to perform an autopsy on them. They were carried along on parihuelas (a kind of stretcher used for carrying weight, made of two bars between which was a cloth platform.
Our next reference point is a fork in the path joining the footpath to Cruz del Siglo with the footpath that leads to the nearby municipalities of Artenara and Agaete. This dirt track climbs up to Las Tabladas and its tomato greenhouses. At this point we should turn left as we approach the viewing point.
Interesting facts and history
As you can see, there are currently two crosses: La Cruz del Siglo (meaning the Century Cross, made of Canary tea pine wood) and La Cruz del Milenio (meaning the Millennial Cross, made of metal).
Historical background: Pope Leo XIII, in order to see in the new century (from the 19th to the 20th century), recommended that the Cross of the Redeemer be placed up at the highest peaks as a symbol of Christianity. La Aldea fulfilled this wish and placed the Cruz del Siglo on the edge of the table of Las Tabladas in 1901.
The second cross, La Cruz del Milenio, was erected on the island (after the cross of Santa Lucía de Tirajana) and in this case its inauguration was postponed until 3rd May 2001. This act was attended by the whole council team, led by the then mayor and parish priest Manuel Reyes Brito, together with around 400 people.
The older generations came up with curious interpretations when observing the cross, predicting immediate tragedy: one of these was that if one or two guirre or alimoche birds (Neophron percnopterus) - white-feathered vulture-like birds which have since become extinct on the island - alighted on the cross, it indicated the impending death of one of the local residents. The other was that when three crows (Corvus corax) - with jet-black plumage – rested on it, one on each arm and the other in the middle, it was an unmistakeable sign that someone was going to die. Fortunately, these predictions were not that reliable.
The tradition of decking out the cross for the May festival was kept alive for many years, and was the reason behind the building of the new Cruz del Milenio (to see in the new millennium and the 21st century).
Books and bibliographical references:
- MANUEL J. SANCHO. (2011). Cruces de Gran Canaria. (Crosses of Gran Canaria).
- SUÁREZ MORENO, F. (1999). La historia de La Aldea de San Nicolás. (The History of La Aldea de San Nicolás). Published by: Centro de la Cultura Popular Canaria, 232 pages.
- SUÁREZ MORENO, F. (2008). El Charco: fiesta, paisaje y patrimonio. (El Charco: Fiestas, Landscapes and Heritage). Published by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, 100 pages. ISBN: 978-84-8103-565-6.
- Guía del patrimonio arqueológico de Gran Canaria, (Archaeological Heritage Guide of Gran Canaria), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Cabildo, 2001, 453 pages. ISBN 84-8103-276-X.
- CANARIAS 7: Coleccionable La Mochila de Canarias-7, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 34 Walking routes around the Canary Islands. 2010-2011.
IMPORTANT: The information contained in these routes is for guidance purposes, and exclusively seeks to encourage sporting activity in natural surroundings and educational country walks. The Town Hall of La Aldea de San Nicolás provides this information for the benefit of the users of this website, and waives any responsibility as to the current state of the routes, offer, quality and ownership of the areas that walkers pass through, etc.
Likewise, the Town Hall is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or for a user of this website going off course and suffering an accident. Hikers are reminded that they access these mountainous areas voluntarily and with informed consent, that is, each person should be responsible for their actions.