As one of the most defining features of the island of Tenerife, mighty Mount Teide evokes stories of mysticism and legend dating back to the earliest inhabitants of the region - the Guanches. Believed to have flocked to the island as early as 1000BC, these ancient aboriginal inhabitants left an enduring heritage on each of the Canary Islands, and it was from the early days of their time on Tenerife that the legend of Mount Teide was born.
Tenerife's Own Olympus
In much the same way as Mount Olympus held reverence among the ancient Greeks, the Guanches afforded mythological status to Mount Teide. Believing that the volcano was responsible for holding up the sky, the ancient Guanches were to treat the volcano as akin to a deity itself. In fact, such was the importance of Mount Teide to the Guanches, remnants of ancient items found within hiding places on the mount signify the ritual deposits to ward off evil spirits.
It is, however, the story of Guayota and Magec that has become such an integral part of folklore, and one that ensures fascination surrounds Teide to this day. According to legend, Guayota (the devil) imprisoned Magec (the god of light and the sun) within bowels of the volcano, plunging the world deep into darkness. Only by appealing to the supreme god, Archaman, could the Guanches hope for the return of Magec and light to the world.
Archaman, in a battle with Guayota, was able to cast the devil into the volcano and seal the crater to keep him trapped, freeing Magec in turn. With light returning to the land and the evil trapped within, the Guanches were able to contain the devil inside, lighting bonfires during the time of eruptions to scare Guayota and keep him encased within the volcano.
It's this story of good versus evil that ensures Mount Teide remains highly revered and such an iconic part of life in Tenerife. And, much like the legend of the fire goddess of Pele in Hawaiian mythology, the trapping of Guayota within the bowels of the volcano and at the gateway to the underworld enabled the Guanches to thrive in Tenerife.
No visit to Tenerife is complete without experiencing the wonder of this 3,718-metre volcano. With over 3,000 years of local culture centred on the volcano, Mount Teide can boldly lay claim to epitomising the wonder and allure of the island.
Now that you know all about the legend of Mount Teide, it's time to visit the giant itself. Check out our Guide to Mount Teide before your trip.
Michael is an experienced writer and editor for Minerva Copywriting. With a passion for quality writing and journalism, Michael enjoys crafting engaging and compelling articles across a broad array of subjects, with travel copywriting a noted area of expertise. You can follow him on Twitter @MinervaCopy.Top