Today, I wanted to tell you all a little about Caves in Gibraltar and especially about one of our most famous in Gibraltar, St.Michael´s Cave.
There is thought to be over 200 caves in Gibraltar, there are underwater caves and also those above sea level. The Caves within the Rock of Gibraltar have been used as shelter during sieges and attacks for hundreds of years, they have been used to store water, ammunition and historically Neanderthals lived in a number of caves, archaeologists have discovered engravings in Gorham´s cave thought of as Neanderthal art, which after having a seriously long look,,,,, still look to me a lot like a` hashtag ´ or a game of `noughts and crosses’.
The Cave you will visit on your Gibraltar sightseeing tour is St. Michael´s Cave
It is popularly known as St. Michael´s Cave, but was once also called Old St. Michael´s cave or known as Upper St.Michael´s Cave.
This is most definitely one of the must do things whilst on a visit to Gibraltar.
It is a regular feature in Gibraltar Rock Tours, located in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve it opens daily and is the most famous and frequently visited cave on the Rock.
I understand that it was even popular in The Roman Times!
St. Michael´s Cave and tunnels provided cover during air raids during WW11, tunnelling was necessary to reach the lower level where the operating theatre was being set up and In the process they discovered what is today known as Lower St. Michael´s Cave. This cave is also open to visitors but strictly by appointment only. An experienced guide is needed as it involves climbing and sliding as you can explore deep into the cave. This is definitely for the more adventurous, fit and you also need plenty of time on your hands too.
The Cave most people visit whilst sightseeing in Gibraltar, has easy access is beautiful and has fascinating stalactites and stalagmites, St. Michael´s cave has 2 natural entrances and the roof of the area converted into an auditorium is 25metres high.
It´s natural acoustic properties, which according to experts enhance and blend tones is spectacular to hear. It houses a concrete stage and with a seating capacity of over 100, itmakes a wonderful regular venue for events, such as musicals, dramas and the annual Miss Gibraltar Beauty Pageant.
It is also perfect for holding concerts from opera to philharmonic orchestras to rock concerts.
The Queen Visited the Cave when she came to visit the Rock of Gibraltar in 1954 with her husband and of course there is a plaque to commemorate the visit.
It has recently been made wheelchair friendly and a lift has been installed in the entrance to visit the cave. There is also a bar, toilet facilities and a souvenir shop.
This is a popular stop on your rock tour, most of the time there are monkeys waiting for you outside….. watch out for camera and bags !!!
Another quirky piece of information…. just before I close…..are Gibraltar´s most famous legends ….
It was thought that St. Michael´s Cave was bottomless…..and it was believed that the cave was one end of a tunnel, over 15 miles (24 km) long which crossed straits of Gibraltar- legend has it that the Barbary macaques entered the rock this way…
And as the Rock of Gibraltar was thought to be one of the Pillars of Hercules, the ancient Greek also believed the Cave to be then entrance to the Underworld……
All these mysteries, it´s beauty and the colourful light show which take place daily make this a great stop on all ……Gibraltar Rock Tours……