The “Tirajana” Dam and “La Sorrueda” Palm Grove
A landscape for the senses
The “Tirajana” Dam and “La Sorrueda” Palm Grove, located in the middle mountain region of the Southeast of Gran Canaria, between the municipalities of Santa Lucía adnd San Bartolomé de Tirajana, make up an island landscape reference and a particular space of great natural, geomorphological, patrimonial, ethnographic and cultural interest.
Partially included in the Biosphere Reserve of Gran Canaria, the Grove is a perfect habitat for many diverse species of local fauna and an excellent wildlife observatory.
THE CRATER AND RAVINE OF TIRAJANA
“LAS TIRAJANAS”, aboriginal place-name of this region, spans the immense crater (or “caldera”) in the central heights of the island and the deep ravine of Tirajana, carved after thousands of years of running water, that opens towards the Southeast.
The steep walls of this impressive crater, upon which the phonolitic volcano of Risco Blanco stands out, have been declared Natural Monument.
La presa de Tirajana, a los pies del Macizo de Amurga y a 355 m.s.n.m., embalsa las escorrentías de las ocasionales lluvias que desagua el barranco de Tirajana. Sus aguas, de las que son beneficiarias desde 1617 las Heredades de Aguas de la Acequia Alta de Sardina del Sur y Aldea Blanca, son utilizadas por sus herederos para el riego de fincas agrícolas en el tramo bajo del barranco.
THE TIRAJANA DAM
The Tirajana Dam, at the foot of the Amurga Massif and at 355 m a.s.l. (1165 ft), gathers the running water from the ravine of the same name. This water, from which the Water Estates of Sardina del Sur and Aldea Blanca benefit since 1617, is used in plantations in the lower segment of the ravine.
The dam, an impressive work of engineering built between 1966 and 1974 with loose materials and clay, has a surface of 18 ha and a volume of 3,1 Hm3. It measures 44 m in height over the ravine bed (74 m over its foundation) and 160 m in length across the chasm. It is known by its beautiful riprap of natural, multicoloured stone.
“LA SORRUEDA” PLAM GROVE
La Sorrueda is one of the best example of Canarian wild palm grove in the whole archipelago. Well known for its beauty and density, it has more than 2500 specimens of Canarian palm tree, and is protected as Community Interest Habitat of the Natura Network.
The Canarian palm tree (Phoenix canariensis), symbol of the Canary Islands and very valuable resource in traditional crafts, is the world’s most recognisable botanic endemism, known as “the princess of palm trees” due to its beauty.
The local plant life, apart from palm trees, comprises a varied selection of thermophile species.
Together with wild flora, we can find some old carob and olive trees, agave and prickly pear cacti, remnants of the agricultural use of the land in the past, and endemic ornamental species that can now be seen in gardening.
Malva de risco
Tajinaste Echium decaisnei
Palo de sangre
Pimentero de Temisas Solanum lidi
Palmera Phoenix Canariensis
Tajinaste Blanco Echium decaisnei
Siempreviva Limonium sventenii
Tabaiba Dulce Euphorbia balsamifera Ait.
Malva de Risco Lavatera acerifolia Cav.
Garza Real Ardea cinerea Linnaeus
Llagarto Gigante de Gran Canaria, Gallotia stehlini
Perenquén de Gran Canaria Tarentola boettgeri boettgeri
Murciélago montañero Hypsugo savii
Lisa Chalcides sexlineatus
The local avifauna is incredibly rich, both due to the species that dwell in the wild palm grove and to those that prefer the dam and its banks.
canario del monte
The dam banks :
polla de agua.
HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY
In the whole region we can find vestigial samples from the pre-hispanic epoch. La Fortaleza (the Fortress), important archaeological site with an exhibition centre and museum, is a much recommended place to visit.
LANDSCAPE AND LOCALS IN HARMONY
The landscape of Tirajana cannot be understood without its link to the local people, a rural settlement that has known how to live based on love and respect for their surroundings.