Ethnographic Centre

Cultural and Educational Value

The FEDAC, (Foundation for Ethnography and Development of Gran Canarian Crafts), an autonomous organisation of the Department of Industry, Commerce and Crafts of the Gran Canaria Cabildo, was appointed by the Cabildo to create the Maspalomas Lighthouse Ethnographic Centre.


This cultural project with an educational dimension aims to showcase local craftspeople and their work in the context of the history of Gran Canaria. The items at the Ethnographic Centre were sourced from the rich and varied craft products held by the FEDAC and its documentary holdings (publications, photos, audio and video recordings, etc). Information about craft trades has also been gathered from external documentary sources, with special emphasis on the writings of travellers who visited the Canary Islands and described the craft trades on Gran Canaria.
This project is part of an increasingly necessary trend of creating cultural spaces to complement social and educational resources, both for local visitors and tourists with a range of profiles, who are becoming more discerning in their demand for something different in tourist products and services. The feasibility of these types of actions has been demonstrated in various parts of the island, where the creation of museums and interpretation centres has boosted the cultural and economic life of the borough by making spaces more appealing to visitors.

Central courtyard of Maspalomas Lighthouse

1884 - 1890

Maspalomas Lighthouse has considerable heritage value, as indicated by its status as a Cultural Asset, awarded in 2005. Its architectural values include the eclectic style of the construction typology of the building, notably the façade with its harmony in the rhythm of the symmetrical arrangement of doorways and windows. The building interior follows a style typical of traditional Canary Islands architecture, where the internal courtyard, originally without a roof and finished with stonework, led off to rooms around a gallery on both floors. The ground floor of the gallery remains uncovered, but the top floor is now roofed over. In the engineering plans, the lighthouse tower shaft, soaring from the building that forms its base, was conceived as a majestic column topped by the lantern house as its capital, resting on corbels. The plans also included a small wharf and a storehouse (now demolished) for the paraffin that fuelled the beacon.

Ethnography as an added value was also present during the construction of the lighthouse. The tower shaft and the stonework in the fittings of the openings, parapets, exterior skirting and stone surrounding were the work of master quarrymen who moved to the area for the construction of the lighthouse. The original idea was to use stone from Arucas, but the technical difficulty and cost of transporting it meant that a closer quarry had to be found. The stone was finally sourced in Fataga, from where teams of working animals hauled the excellent quality grey-green basalt stone to Punta de Maspalomas. The quality of the workmanship, carried out manually by master stoneworkers, is stunning even today because of its technical perfection, especially considering how difficult it was to work with such large blocks of stone.
Maspalomas Lighthouse is a reflection of the changing landscape and the rise of tourism, the main driver of the island’s economy. It has become a historical landmark illustrating the development of tourism in Gran Canaria and an icon of the Canary Islands, with multiple potential meanings for locals and visitors alike.
The construction typology is unique in fusing architectural, artistic and ethnographic values in a single building, in a feat of engineering that created a major work of maritime civil infrastructure.

Lighthouse, palm grove and dunes before the tourism boom

The educational and cultural interest of this historic building is one of the key values of Maspalomas Lighthouse. The ultimate aim is to make the lighthouse available for society to use and enjoy, in a unique infrastructure featuring a first-rate ethnographic centre. This means the lighthouse building must be kept in optimum condition, ensuring it continues to function and preserving its inherent construction features, as specified in Law 4/1999, of 15 March, on Canary Islands Historic Heritage and the declaration of the lighthouse as a Cultural Asset, in the category of Monument (Historic Site) (Decree 55/2005, of 12 April 2005, Official Gazette of the Canary Islands No. 78, 21/4/2005).


Lunes a domingo de 10:30h a 17:00h


928 772 445



Pl. del Faro, 15,
35100 Maspalomas, Las Palmas