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Sharing the secrets of the caves of light in Gran Canaria 

A major project has been unveiled to transform an amazing archaeological discovery in Gran Canaria into a World Heritage site and major tourist attraction.

The island’s Cabildo is to spend 550,000 euros on the Risco Caido aboriginal sanctuary which was discovered in the mountains in 1996.

It is considered a unique and exceptional archaeolo-gical complex that was of religious and astronomical significance to the early settlers on the island.

The troglodyte settlement consists of 29 artificial caves which have carvings and were designed to allow the sunlight to come in at spectacular angles and shines on the various figures, depending on what time of the year. Experts believe this served as a type of astronomical calendar.

One of the biggest caves has 77 pictures and a floor with cups constructed in it and there is still tar on the walls, the residue of burning torches.

The Risco Caído has now been nominated to become a World Heritage site and the Cabildo wants to do all it can to win the designation, as well as unveiling its secrets to more people. It is hoped to win this highest recognition from UNESCO in 2019.

Cabildo president, Antonio Morales said these caves of light, together with other archaeological and cultural riches nearby, gave the area undeniable cultural, science and tourism potential.

The Risco is half an hour from the road and at the moment, is only accessible thanks to the use of mules.

The projects planned make a firm commitment to sustainability and a heritag which can be enjoyed by the many visitors who choose to spend time in Gran Canaria each year.

Work has already been provided for about 50 people and more are envisaged, with even the possibility of renting out a cave amongst the ideas being considered.

It is hoped to open an interpretation centre later this year or in 2017 and to improve the access, road, signage and environment.

A special co-ordinating committee will also be set up to oversee the World Heritage bid.