#2 Arucas, Canary Islands, Spain (March 2019)

  • #2 Risco Caido and the Whistled Language of Gomera Island - Arucas, Gran Canaria, Spain

    This second meeting explored how to apply to UNESCO.

    Applying to UNESCO is a long and thorough process. This meeting reviewed the steps to file an application to join the UNESCO protected heritage, working with local authorities, from town halls to regional administration.

    To study this application process, this meeting focused on the study of Risco Caido and the Whistled Language of Gomera Island.

    Risco Caido

    Risco Caido - Exterior View (Gran Canaria)

    The Risco Caido was part of sacred mountains for the indigenous residents of the Canary Islands. Caves have been carved inside those mountains. Some served as housing, others had a ceremonial purpose.

    Risco Caido - Housing (Gran Canaria)

    Those excavations served several purposes. For a while, they were partially abandonned and were used as warhouses. Later, residents realized the lighting inside the caves was actually an elaborate construction, corresponding the the agricultural calendar.

    Risco Caido - Lighting system (Gran Canaria)

    The light spreads on symbols including many triangles. Researchers assume those triangles represent fertility.

    Risco Caido - Calendar (Gran Canaria)

    The Whistled Language of Gomera Island

    This is a language that has existed since the first Berbers settled on the Gomera Island. Gomera Island being extremely rocky, the settlers used the whitled language to communicate more easily.

    When Spaniards colonized the island, they adapted the spanish language into their whistled language. This language is a combination of sounds that enable speakers to communicate as elaborately as any other language.


    Instructors introducing themselves to the students (click on link)


    The students were taught how to whistle like Gomereans, which was a long and difficult process.

    A German student learning how to whistle (Arucas, Gran Canaria)

    The whistled language is a compulsory teaching at school, starting 3 years old. Students study it until they reach 16 years old.

    An enchanting second meeting

    This meeting enabled the students to discover the Canarian landscape, but also many folkloric specificities (not only the whistled language, but also traditional crafstmanship and dancing). They continued their discovery of European diversity.

    Las Palmas Cathedral (Las Palmas, Gran Canaria)

    Video #1 - Risco Caido, Gran Canaria, Spain

    Video #2 - Whistled language, Canary Islands, Spain