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The Canary Islands, owned by Spain, are located off the northwest coast of Africa. With its balmy climate and beautiful beaches, the largest island, Tenerife, is a magnet for tourists. But few potential visitors to Tenerife are aware of the six step pyramids that can be found on the island at Guimar.
It was this famous Norwegian explorer and writer who first drew the world's attention to the pyramids in the early 1990s. Heyerdahl moved to Tenerife in 1994 and dedicated the rest of his life to studying the pyramids until his death in 2002. (See Pyramids of Guimar)
In 1991, the Canary Islands' Institute of Astrophysics investigated potential astronomical connections. Their studies suggested that the pyramids are aligned according to the winter and summer solstices. (See Ethnographic Park of Guimar)
Excavations made from 1997 to 1998 beneath one pyramid revealed a cave over 26 feet long that contained human remains dating from the time of the pre-Hispanic indigenous people, the Guanches. (See Ethnographic Park of Guimar)
Although the subject of hot debate, Heyerdahl's theory is that the pyramids were built by pre-European voyagers who constructed them using the same methods as those developed in ancient Mexico, Peru and Mesopotamia. (See The Lost Pyramids of Europe)
Heyerdahl's friend, Fred Olsen, bought the site of the pyramids in 1998 and founded a museum with exhibits designed to bolster Heyerdahl's theories regarding the pyramids. (See Pyramids of Guimar)