Saint Michael's Cave

Gibraltar, United Kingdom

Saint Michael's Cave is a series, or network of caves made of limestone, which are found on the Rock of Gibraltar. St Michaels Cave is located on what is called the Upper Rock, inside the Upper Rock Nature Reserve of Gibraltar.

The cave was created by the slow seepage of rainwater through the rock, which turned into a carbonic acid solution that actually dissolved the rocks of the cave. The process made the tiny cracks of the geological faults of Gibraltar grow into very long passages and deep caverns over the thousands of years of its formation. The Cathedral Cave, part of St Michaels cave was at one time thought to be bottomless, and was long spoken of in the legends of Gibraltar.

The Rock of Gibraltar has long been considered to be one of the pillars of Hercules, and this too adds to the mystique and legend, and since it hosted the cave, the caverns themselves were thought to be the Gates to Hades, or Hell, an entryway to the Underworld where the dead rested.

In the latter part of 1974, proof that the cave was known to and used by prehistoric men was made clear with the finding of art on the cave walls, showing an ibex drawn there that was traced to the Solutrean period (dating the cave art to about 15-20 thousand years ago), but later, two Neanderthal skulls that were found in Gibraltar tell us that this cave could have been discovered and used as early as 40,000 BC.



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Founded: 40,000 BCE
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in United Kingdom


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Matthew Richardson (11 months ago)
A shift from the sweeping vista of the Pillars of Hercules, this cave offers a cool break from the higher temps outside. A well developed cave, with plenty of space (it's a local musical venue). People with disabilities or trouble walking may have difficulty with the stairs. A common hang out for the famous Barbary macaques, awaits you at the gift shop exit (be careful, seemingly tame, these are wild creatures). Also, a common tourist destination, so try to time your visit at off peak hours to enjoy the music and light display.
Oliver Lindebod (11 months ago)
This is a great experience if you like walking inside caves. This is no ordinary cave walk as it is ornate with lights and music. That makes the experience a little more special. No extra cost was added beside the £16 entry fee when entering the nature reserve. It takes no more than 10 minutes to walk through the cave which is also used as a concert place.
Patrik Bukovský (14 months ago)
Very nice, interesting new experience. We, on Slovakia, can say nothing with our caves against this one. Beautiful structures, very fancy lights, which gave the right atmosphere. The cave cinema was awesome. Probably we were lucky, but there were not many people today. If you weren't there, I really recommend coming, it's a great once in a life experience.
Adam Pyrke (14 months ago)
Stunning and well maintained with a great fabulous light show. Very cool inside a reprieve from the very hot sun! Great to find out that the caves were discover by a Royal Engineer!
Ines Köhler (15 months ago)
The cave was impressive and the light and sound effects really cool. It's wet inside, so we really needed to watch our step on different stairs but I liked the experience a lot. Since in our case it was part of a one day trip (and the 1,5 hrs mini bus tour up the mountain), we didn't have enough time to enjoy the stay to the fullest unfortunately.
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