Faro de Maspalomas: More than 132 years as a beacon for Gran Canaria

The lighthouse is a distinctive landmark in the resort, and was the tallest masonry lighthouse in the Canaries at 56 m (184 ft) until it was superseded by the 59 m (194 ft) concrete Morro Jable lighthouse on Fuerteventura which was completed in 1991.

With a focal height of 60 m (197 ft) above the sea, its light can be seen for 19 nautical miles, and consists of a pattern of three flashes of white light, over a period of thirteen seconds.

Municipal Lighthouse LineArt 1895 Gran Canaria

Conceived by the well-known local engineer Juan León y Castillo, (born in Telde, Gran Canaria, 1834-1912) one of the most outstanding personalities in public life on the island of Gran Canaria in the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, whose many works were instrumental at a time when the administrative future of the Canary Islands Archipelago was forged, this luminous complex is made up of two main bodies, the lighthouse keeper’s house and the tower. The rectangular house was developed from the traditional Canarian courtyard design, however the four façades of the building are aided by the eclectic fashion of the period in which it was built. The dwelling, attached to the base of the tower, acts as a plinth that counteracts the thrusts and forces produced by the tower itself.

The decision to build a lighthouse in Maspalomas dates from 19 June 1861, but it was not until 1884 that Juan de León y Castillo was commissioned to draw up the project. The works lasted until 1889 and the lighthouse emitted its first flash of light on the night of its commissioning, 1 February 1890.

The tower, presented to the sea, is a truncated cone cylinder that has an average diameter in the upper body of 6.20 meters, a height of 54.7 meters and at its summit is located the lantern, so that the lamp reaches a height of 60 meters .

The lantern is a glass dome of 3.7 meters in diameter, covered at the top. Inside it are the optics, the reflectors and the 1000-watt halogen lamp, which emits a white light at the rate of a group of a slow flash with a 1 + 2 frequency of 13 seconds between groups. The flashes have a nominal night-time range of 19 nautical miles.

Located at the end of Maspalomas beach, next to the in Punta de Maspalomas, the dune field, pool and oasis of the same name; it is the primary landmark for the main tourist area on the south of the island. It is considered an emblematic symbol and one of the best known monuments on Gran Canaria and the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. In addition to being recognized as an Asset of General Interest, it is one of the oldest lighthouses still in operation in the Canary Islands.

Now fully automated it operates using conventional electrical power connected to the public grid. It has annexed rooms at the foot of the tower, in a two-storey building of eclectic style. This building is attached to the tower on its north side and is symmetrical in the arrangement of its doors and windows, whose perimeters are outlined in stone. Its corners and a cornice that finishes off the entire upper part also make use of ashlars to harmonize the whole.

Above the entrance to the building there is a small balcony made of tea wood and inside there is a courtyard patio that serves to give access to all the rooms and to the tower itself. The various rooms, warehouses and the room that the lighthouse keeper once occupied, originally also housed a generator and the corresponding batteries to guarantee operation in case of disconnection or failure in the electrical network.

Today it is the most emblematic Tourist Information point and ethnographic exhibition space on the south of the island, and possibly the most photographed building on Gran Canaria.

Primary source: Faro de Maspalomas and Costa Canaria Maspalomas

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