EL HIERRO, sustainable island

  • UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve
  • Gorona del Viento 100% sustainable energies program
  • Bimbache openART global initiative

Few places conserve their authenticity and natural values like the island of El Hierro. Covering 278 square kilometres, it is the smallest island in the Canary Archipelago and one of the most beautiful places of what Homer called the “Fortunate Islands”.

Geographically, formed some 5 million years ago, El Hierro is the youngest Canary island. Spectacular cliffs make up most of its coast line. Its highest point is the peak of Malpaso at 1501m. The visitor will discover with surprise its amazing contrasting landscapes; lava fields, traditional farmland with indigenous livestock, extensive pine forests, ancient misty cloud forests and more than 200 volcanic craters.

Ptolemy put El Hierro on the map by placing the Zero Meridian at Orchilla. It was believed at the time that this was the point where the world ended. History was forgotten once the Meridian was moved to Greenwich. This forgotten corner of the world has since been used as a place of remote exile and withdrawal.

This air of remoteness El Hierro was perceived with for so many years has protected the island from the mass tourism boom and allowed its landscape, ethnographic and cultural values to remain intact.

Due to a shift in political values towards sustainable development, El Hierro is a unique destination which appeals to people who seek the perfect combination of originality, nature and simplicity.

El Hierro’s long musical heritage is a priceless treasure. The event which best illustrates the importance of musical tradition in this culture is the “Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes”. Until now, there has never been such a harmonious fusion of the traditional and the contemporary as in the ambitious Bimbache openART Festival with its adaptations of folkloric work songs and traditional “Herreño” drums and flutes.

El Hierro

The Bimbaches

The indigenous people of El Hierro are known as the Bimbaches. Historic records suggest that they were a peaceful people with a democratic social structure. They were people of the land and shepherds who lived in caves and wore animal skins for clothing.
The Spanish conquered the island at the beginning of the 15th century, and Bimbache culture merged with the customs and language of the Conquistadores. Today we still have some names, dances and melodies that take us back to this ancient Canary Island culture. In addition, more and more of their engravings and signs are still being discovered.

El Hierro, building an island on a human scale.

– A message from the President of the El Hierro Island Council –

The message we want to transmit from our small island is that we are firmly convinced that it is possible to maintain a healthy relationship between people and nature, a relationship which enables us to develop in a balanced way.

The rational use of human and natural resources – sustainable development – is no longer a utopia in El Hierro – it is now real and the best heritage we can leave to future generations.

We believe that this double strategy of development and respect for our environment, culture and human dignity is the one that will ensure the best results not only for our people but also for communities worldwide.

Our ancestors handed down an unspoiled island, classified today by the UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve. This present reality means we have a strong commitment to our future generations. We face one of the greatest challenges ever: to become an island leader in the use of clean energy. For that purpose we have launched an ambitious plan: 100% Renewable Energies.

Sustainable Development is like a musical staff in which each note has its place. Sustainable Development is music and music can and must become a means of communication, a tool for achieving goals and the key to building a better world for us to share.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *