Maspalomas Lighthouse forms part of the network of historic lighthouses in the Canary Islands. Located in the south of the island of Gran Canaria, at Punta de Maspalomas, its purpose is to light the way for shipping on the south coast of the island, from Punta de Arinaga, served by Arinaga Lighthouse in the northeast, to Punta de Castillete, served by the lighthouse in this part of Mogán. The lighthouse stands over the dunes, pond and oasis in Maspalomas, the pioneering tourism area of the south of the island. The most popular lighthouse in the Canary Islands and a symbol of Gran Canaria, it became a Cultural Asset in 2005 and is one of the oldest still-functioning lighthouses in the Canary Islands.
On 19 June 1861, a Lighthouse Commission report on maritime lighting in the Canary Islands proposed the construction of lighthouses, including “a first-rate lighthouse, with a fixed or flashing light, at Punta de Maspalomas, in the south of the island of Gran Canaria”, stressing the importance of starting construction as soon as possible, because this lighthouse was considered the most essential at the time. The report came at a period of increasing rivalry between the main ports in the Islands (Naranjo Rodríguez, R. “Maspalomas. Espacio Natural”). The idea of equipping the island with coastal lighting arose from the considerable increase in commercial shipping at the time. The aim was to give the Islands the necessary means for safe coastal shipping and to provide port facilities for the increasingly large number of merchant ships plying the waters of the archipelago.
Maspalomas river and lighthouse
José Naranjo Suárez (1945-1950)
The granting of Free Port status to the Canary Islands ports after the construction of Puerto de La Luz in the city of Las Palmas drove policy on the maritime infrastructure built on Gran Canaria. The aim was to draw the flow of trade to the island by providing the necessary infrastructure to allow ships sailing the Canary Islands waters to dock safely. The lighthouses played a vital role in guiding the merchant ships, and a major effort was made to ensure the Islands had adequate coastal lighting.
Maspalomas dunes, pond, beach, palm grove and lighthouse
José Naranjo Suárez (1945-1950)
1884 - 1890
In 1884, more than 20 years after the construction was planned, local engineer Juan de León y Castillo was commissioned to draw up the plans for the building, although construction was not completed until 1889. The lighthouse was brought into service on 1 February 1890. Since then, it has been a landmark for travellers in the south of Gran Canaria, not only for those who see it from the sea, but also for local and foreign visitors to the oasis and the dunes in Maspalomas. Amid all the tourist accommodation in the area, the lighthouse has become an architectural beacon.
Despite its proposal for Cultural Asset status, pursuant to a Decision of 6 August 1990 (Canary Islands Gazette No. 123, 1 October 1990) in which its boundaries were defined, Maspalomas Lighthouse did not achieve this recognition until 2005, through Decree 55/2005, of 12 April, in the category of Monument (Historic Site), with a protected area of 5,225.72 m2 in a perimeter of 318.15 linear metres.