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Pyramids in the Azores Align to Summer Solstice

Madalena step pyramid pico island

One of the Pyramids on Pico Island, in the Maroicos Park in Madalena. Photo by Torbenbrinker [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Image modified.

The Azores islands of Portugal are found in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, and are suggested to be remnants of the ancient lost continent of Atlantis.1 The nine islands of this archipelago are dotted with various pre-historic structures, similar in style to many others found all around the world — including various stone chambers, hypogea-like structures, megalithic stone walls and gateways, etc.,2 and lots of stepped pyramids.

pico island with pyramids

The Volcano of Pico Island viewed from a distance. Photo by Guillaume Baviere [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Pico Island in particular features over 140 pyramids, particularly concentrated in the Madalena area of the island. Some of these pyramids are 13 meters tall.3 Most are oriented southeast / northwest, in an alignment with the Island’s volcano and the sunset on summer solstice day.4

Many are in a state of disrepair today due to earthquakes and human activity, but in their core structure and alignments these pyramids are considered analogous to several other pyramid sites around the world (more on this later).5

Some of the pyramids have inner chambers, steps, and ceremonial square areas.6 Additionally, according to Félix Rodrigues, professor of the University of the Azores, underground tunnels connect these pyramids, although some of the tunnels are now ruined.7 Interestingly, tunnels can be found underneath pyramid structures all over the world, for example in Teotihuacan in Mexico, the great pyramids of Egypt, in Bosnia, etc.

The Azores were reported as uninhabited when in most recent history Portuguese explorers reached the area in the 15th century. Archeological findings indicate that the islands were visited and inhabited in earlier periods, and possibly by various civilizations over time.8 9 10 For example, in a report from the Portuguese Association for Archaeological Investigation, researchers Nuno Ribeiro, Anabela Joaquinito, and Sergio Pereira discuss plentiful evidence indicating the presence of late Bronze Age and Iron Age Mediterranean cultures (such as the Carthaginians / Phoenicians, Etruscans, Dacians, etc.) on these islands in antiquity.11 12

While it is unclear at this stage exactly who built the pyramids and megalithic structures on these islands, the pyramids themselves are believed to pre-date the arrival of the Portuguese by at least several thousand years, and according to professor Rodriguez they may even be older than the Bronze Age.13

More photos of the Pico Island pyramids can be seen here, here, and here.

In the short video below more examples of these pyramids and one of the stone chambers in the Azores can be seen, starting at 32 seconds into the video. (Note: this video is in French. An English version can be viewed here):

Similar Stepped Pyramids Elsewhere

guinar pyramid in tenerife canary islands

The Pyramids of Guimar, Canary Islands, Spain. Photo by Pedro Ximenez [CC BY-SA 2.0 de or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The islands of Pico in the Azores (Portugal), Mauritius (Indian Ocean), Tenerife in the Canary Islands (Spain), and Sicily (Italy) all have something extraordinary in common: the existence of remarkably similar ancient stepped pyramids that are aligned to the sun.

These pyramids are all constructed from smaller stones. Related structures of closely similar design also exist elsewhere (in places like Korea and Austria, for example).

Although all these pyramids are found in different parts of the world, belonging in the modern day to different countries, these prehistoric structures reveal a thought-provoking ancient connection between these ancient sites and their builders.

island stepped pyramids -- azores

Map of island stepped pyramids in Azores, Canary Islands, Sicily, and Mauritius. (Map created via NatGeo MapMaker).

More information about the pyramids in Mauritius, Canary Islands, and Sicily will be available in separate future articles.

  1. “Atlantis/Location Hypotheses.” Atlantis/Location Hypotheses – Wikiversity. Accessed August 12, 2017.

  2. Note: some of these prehistoric structures can be seen in this video

  3. “Pico: New archaeological evidence reveals human presence before Portuguese occupation – Azores.” Portuguese American Journal. March 04, 2014. Accessed August 10, 2017.

  4. Azevedo, Virgílio. “Archaeologists reveal secrets of the pyramids on the island of Pico / Arqueólogos revelam segredos das pirâmides da ilha do Pico”. Expresso. August 27, 2013. Accessed August 12, 2017. via google translate

  5. Ibid. 

  6. Ibid. 

  7. National Geographic. “Atlantide, la cité perdue – Azores.” YouTube. March 15, 2017. Accessed August 12, 2017.

  8. Lusa. “Pia carved in a rock in the island Terceira dated 950 years / Pia esculpida numa rocha na ilha Terceira datada com 950 anos”. Expresso. March 10, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2017. via google translate

  9. Matos, Carolina. “Archaeology: Prehistoric rock art found in caves on Terceira Island – Azores.” Portuguese American Journal. June 24, 2017. Accessed August 12, 2017.

  10. “Carthaginian temples found – Azores.” Portuguese American Journal. March 04, 2014. Accessed August 12, 2017.

  11. Ribeiro, Nuno. “Phoenicians in Azores (Portugal), myth or reality?” Proceedings of the 15th Symposium on Mediterranean Archaeology, held at the University of Catania 3–5 March 2011 (published on – Share research). Accessed August 13, 2017. This report can also be read on the Portuguese Association for Archaeological Investigation’s website here

  12. More information on this subject can be found in the following report:

  13. National Geographic. “Atlantide, la cité perdue – Azores.” 

About the author

Jenny Belikov

Jenny Belikov is a researcher and practitioner of the ancient religion of the sun and the Managing Editor for The Spiritual Sun, where she also researches and writes about ancient sacred sites; spiritual texts and practices; the latest discoveries in archeology, archeoastronomy, and related sciences; as well as the exploration of various facets of the lost civilization of the sun.


  • Amazing how much these pyramids look like the ones in Maritius, Canary Islands, etc. I’d not heard of these before, but looking at some of the amazing photos and the aerial footage — it’s pretty ridiculous to call those rock piles from farmers!

    I think the only way anyone would buy that argument is by not seeing photos or digging in at all to understand what’s currently known about the structures. So basically relying on ignorance as others have pointed out.

    Even if they were rock piles — painstakingly arranged into the lovely stepped shape with tunnels and chambers — the fact that many align to the solstice sunset adds another massive degree of complexity and planning to build such structures. It seems obvious to be the work of a culture that cared very much about those alignments and had a special purpose for them in order to take the time to make them. That’s very much at odds with the farmer theory.

    I’m glad to see this information being covered so that more of humanity’s lost history can be understood. Looking forward to finding out more about the other pyramids that are styled like this one — thanks for the great article.

  • Very interesting article Jenny. The Azores and other islands in the Atlantic are sites I have been meaning to look into further, in part because the locations accord very well with Plato’s description of where Atlantis was.

    A big issue skeptics raise with the existence of Atlantis/a lost continent is where the continent disappeared to. Islands that may be the submerged remains of a larger land mass seem one plausible explanation and a promising avenue for further research.

    Looking at the pictures you’ve posted, it defies credibility to suggest that they are simply stones from farmers clearing fields. I’ve seen piles of stones left by farmers clearing fields, and as you said, they definitely don’t take the time to arrange them into neatly stepped pyramids! I suspect farmers clearing a new field are typically a lot busier trying to just clear the rocks (which in a pre-industrial time would have been back-breaking work done by hand and with animals) so they could grow crops and survive.

    It’s unfortunate that those explanations are so readily expressed by many mainstream archaeologists and historians and accepted by the public. Admittedly, there are often a lot of wild theories about sacred sites that seem to lack grounding in solid evidence and research. However the mainstream seems to often take an opposite and equally harmful approach, which is to reduce everything to something mundane and trivial however possible, even when that position seems absurd based on the facts that are literally on the ground.

    • That is so ridiculous that those large step pyramids with specific alignments would be simply leftovers from farmers clearing their fields! I find it hard to believe that in seeing these pictures and hearing of the alignments anyone would actually believe that 🙂

      One of my favourite picture books as a little child was of Atlantis – the story really fascinated me. It makes good sense that these islands could be a remnant of it.

      • Me too 🙂 I always asked for stories of Atlantis as a child.

        About the pyramids being “stone piles” — unfortunately it is a view some people in the media and archeological circles are actually holding onto, despite being presented with more and more evidence.

        I think there is an “inherent threat” to these establishments if they recognize ancient cultures were present in unknown times in the middle of the Atlantic, because it shows one of two things: a. the possible existence of Atlantis, or b. the obvious advanced seafaring of ancient people, or c. ancient migration patterns not in accord with the currently accepted ones, or d. all of the above, or maybe even something else that in some way contradicts the history maintained in the mainstream about ancient civilizations… It’s not an easy territory to navigate for the few aspiring researchers and archeologists who can clearly see the structures here are not the work of farmers from 500 years ago…

  • The fact that most of these Azores pyramids have inner chambers, ceremonial square areas and connecting tunnels suggest these were built for a higher purpose. It is very well to have archaeologists research and investigate these sites bringing the forgotten past to present,

  • Although I find these structures interesting in their own right, they also seem like a lead to something much greater— that possible Atlantean connection. It’s quite amazing how today, in a big part thanks to the advanced information communication means of the internet, the opportunity has arisen to start to putting things together of our history that couldn’t be done in the same way a few decades ago or before that. It’s wonderful to see that there are actually many archaeologists, people and groups interested in and have ‘a feeling’ about an alternative truth to our history. It almost seems (maybe I’m slightly exaggerating) like some discoveries in recent times, and new views along with it, are all slowly starting to come together to establish a bit of a different paradigm or view of our history?

    Interesting point you mention about the tunnels that seem to often accompany pyramids Jenny. It certainly seems the case.

    Those shots of the island towards the end of the video make it seem very magical btw, something to it.

    (Off topic: Did anyone notice the drone camera in the video flying towards the cows, at 1:30, who felt they needed to jump out of the way. “Mooh!” 🙂 )

      • I am Portuguese and my parents and entire family tree for 3 generations before them are from the Azores. So let me say that they are apart of something that was way before anything we will understand as people and the history and untold secrets purpose religious and fascinating truth about the islands are for those that can only think deep and still today in 2018 do they and the people live as one and almost untouched to where they are the way today as they were meant to be..simply a remarkable place of what earth should be seen and respected in..people and earth living and giving back as intended to be.

        • The hidden history of such structures, and especially ones in faraway places like islands or deep in the forests, is something that can have such a feeling of mystery to it that somehow comes to you.
          I also wonder sometimes how much we actually know about many of the structures and civilisations of the past. What did they know that we don’t? how were ancient sites and sacred landscapes used? Perhaps when looking at the remnants of some of the ancient structures we’re really only scratching the surface and know far less than even the little we think we know.

          Hope you’re able to (if you haven’t already) visit these ancient sites Carlos.

        • Sounds like a really special place Carlos. From what you say it seems that the way of life there is still a bit more in tune with spiritual forces; probably being so isolated has an impact, but maybe there’s also an energetic element to it.
          I’m now wondering how easy it is to get there 😉

        • That’s interesting to have a family connection with the Azores islands Carlos. The many pyramids there sound like incredible monuments, with lots to still discover. It’s also good to hear that the deeper significance of the islands and their structures is still respected today, among the people living there.

        • Born and raised on Terceira Island, Live in United States now and visit every year. Still have our family home that goes back four generations. All of the islands are in amazing place each one unique.
          Lots of history still yet to be discovered, maybe it is the last surviving piece of Atlantis.

  • I’d heard about the abundance of ancient site in the Canary Islands and also about them potentially being a place that is somehow linked to Atlantis. But somehow the Azores escaped my awareness! They seem incredibly similar to the Canaries in terms of location, wealth of ancient heritage, and link to Atlantis.

    Have you heard of the whistling language El Silbo, that survives on La Gomera? It’s said to be an ancient way of communicating over big distances, like yodelling perhaps, but bird-like and quite beautiful. It’s total speculation on my part of course, but when I first heard it I thought it could have been a form of communicating that was left over from Atlantis …

    • Lovely video and very interesting to catch some of that particular culture’s flavour. How far back that would go I know nothing about of course.

    • That’s really beautiful, Ella. No, I’ve never heard of it. It sounds very much in harmony with nature. Wiki says the Spanish learned it from the Guanche and adapted it to the Spanish language in the 16th century.

      I would totally flunk at it though, since I can’t whistle a tune for the life of me, especially so loudly ????. R2D2 would be right at home, on the other hand 😉

  • Great article Jenny, its very interesting to think these structures may have been built by Atlanteans or descendants of Atlantis. It seems most, if not all the links from this lost civilisation has some relation to the religion of the sun.
    Looking forward to the future articles related to these locations.

  • Wow 140 pyramids thats amazing, seeing that all these various pyramids in different parts of the world are built in a very similar way with also many features of them being the same including alinements to solstices and equinox its clear there is some really relevant information that is being shown worth exploring, thanks Jenny

  • Definitely thought provoking. I wonder why the Azores became uninhabited after the pyramids were built? In any case, if anywhere is a “leftover” of Atlantis perhaps the best bet is the Azores.

    • About the island being uninhabited, it’s difficult to tell what might have happened. Actually it’s difficult to get a lot of information about these ancient sites here in general because up until fairly recently it was strongly maintained (despite much evidence to the contrary) that the Portuguese were the first to reach these islands and that these are just piles of rocks settler farmers subsequently made… Now some researchers are trying to bring to light the recognition that these islands were inhabited in the ancient past and to explore these ancient sites, but it’s always a delicate area to tread when you come across information that rewrites history…

      In terms of what might have happened to the inhabitants of these islands in the past then, your guess is as good as mine. A few thoughts that come to mind is natural disasters / cataclysms driving people to migrate (besides the main ancient cataclysm associated with the disappearance of Atlantis, these islands contain over 30 volcanoes and are prone to seismic activity…), or maybe something happened when other explorers arrived (similar to what happened with the Guanche in the Canary Islands when the European explorers came there, and elsewhere).

      I wonder too, given the amount of evidence of the presence of these “Mediterranean cultures” at some point over the last several thousand years, why did they leave?

      • Piles of rocks made by settler farmers, that just happen to be pyramids with solar alignments? It sounds a lot like the dismissive, baseless and evidence-free claims used to explain away the various sites in North America that also align to the sun. It just seems so ridiculous, but I guess if no one bothers to question, challenge and conduct research to provide a different and more accurate perspective, no one would know any better.

        It is good to see this contrived history being questioned and countered to a much a greater degree now by independent researchers, so that we get a clearer picture of the expanse of this ancient knowledge, which is our shared heritage.

        Thanks for pulling this together Jenny; it’s eye-opening to see the connections across these different islands. Interesting to how the Azores have so much volcanic activity too — that certainly fits with the “Atlantis/Location Hypotheses”.

        • I was watching a video about Newgrange and the researchers were describing what a wonderful “agricultural alarm clock” it was, that it could help them know when to plant crops. Would they really go to all that trouble just to be shown when to throw seeds in the ground? I guess they have no better explanation so they go with that.

          • @Daniel That’s an interesting point about Newgrange — stuff like this really does seem to come up across the board when it comes to discussion of advanced ancient civilizations. There’s a tendency to cast the past in an intentionally “primitive” light…

          • @Daniel. I’ve noticed similar commentary on ancient sites and cultures. Where some archaeologists or the reporters making a documentary are surprised and impressed at what the finds are revealing, much more than initially thought. Yet those finds, and admiration of them, seem to still often be expressed through certain viewpoints of the past. Or measured through the filter of a modern person’s view of the world.
            Although I think there are intentional agenda’s to skew the truth of the past. (Whether it be someone’s career on the line or more sinister intentions etc.) However I do have to say that I think often it’s also a case of genuine ignorance.
            Mainly, in my opinion, that many of these cultures expressed very advanced spiritual understanding. Something that is lost and not understood, and not taken in a serious way today. So when analysing ancient cultures based on the criteria seen as advanced today (focussing, for example, a lot on the the tools they had available in order to make object x & y, rather than being aware of the deep knowledge ancients possessed to use that profound symbol) — this omission of the spiritual aspect makes much archaeology miss the point greatly imo. And when there are archaeologists that are truly open to that, immediately their research becomes a much richer source.

            But I think you’re right. It seems like such a common occurring mention of how primitive people were a bit less primitive than previously thought. But apart from the point I mentioned on how technological advancement doesn’t equal spiritual advancement (though sometimes cultures with a strong spiritual backbone produced great civilisations and monuments as well of course.)
            Another thing someone recently mentioned to me was how the people back then were also very much people like us, much more so than we often think. The psyche and drives very much the same. Not sure if what I mean is getting across, but the way it was said to me all of sudden made the people of the past seem much closer.

        • @Matthew Yeah, the “farmer stone piles” theory really doesn’t hold water… Setting aside all other existing evidence of other cultures inhabiting/visiting these islands in the ancient past,

          Farmers piling stones typically don’t build pyramids out of them. When you farm and have stones in the way, you toss them in a pile (or make a fence of them) and move on working. Who has time to pile them neatly into stepped pyramids, some of which are 13 meters tall? (We’re talking the equivalent of an average 4-story building)…
          And why did these farmers only do this here and not back in their homeland?
          Why did they align these “stone piles” to the summer solstice?
          Why are there underground tunnels connecting these “nuisance piles of stones” together?
          Why did they create courtyards around some of them? Inner chambers?

          The whole idea seems rather irrational. And very reminiscent of how ancient sites go unrecognized, dismissed, or misrepresented in North America.

      • Hi Jenny. At long last, the presence of tobacco and cocaine in Egyptian mummies makes sense. I think the evidence suggests that the pyramids were built by the Tartessians of Spain, who, in my opinion (and many others’) were the inheritors of the Atlantean tradition. The colony on the Azores would have been established as a supply-base for the route to the Americas. Possibly Tartessian sailors went there shortly after the Atlantis cataclysm to see how much of the island remained – the main island’s dimensions, as given by Plato, made it about the size of Ireland. The Azores colony, however, was too remote to maintain forever and eventually abandoned. Its position would have been analogous to that of the Greenland colony during the Middle Ages.

        • Hi Emmet. Thanks for chiming in. The Tartessians have some very interesting artifacts with beautiful symbols to their name. I’ll have to look into the Egypt connection you mentioned sometime — I haven’t heard of that theory before.

          I agree that likely the Azores were an outpost for different ancient seafaring peoples. The Azores Current, which branches out of the Gulf Stream passes right through the area, and would have made it a convenient stopping point on the way to Europe from the Americas. The existence of pyramids and other ancient structures at common outposts along these types of ancient maritime routes points to that likelihood as well. The reason you propose for their recent abandonment seems like a plausible scenario.

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