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Rock of Gibraltar
Standing at a height of 426 metres and overlooking the Iberian Peninsula, the Rock of Gibraltar is both a reminder of UK’s former sovereignty over the country and a tourist attraction on Gibraltar holidays. The Rock was one of the Pillars of Hercules, now home to a nature reserve filled with apes and wild monkeys that can only be found in Europe.
The Rock, which is actually a monolithic limestone promontory, was formed during the time when dinosaurs still existed, about 200 million years ago. Containing a mineral called calcite, it formed caves over the years. One of its 100 caves is the popular St. Michael’s Cave, whose stalactites and stalagmites beautifully glow with sun’s rays seeping through the cave holes. This cave was once a defensive wall where Spanish soldiers hid, an emergency military hospital during the World War II, and a site for picnics, parties, and weddings during the 19th century. Today St. Michael’s Cave is renowned for its largest chamber called Cathedral Cave, which hosts dramas, concerts, and the yearly Ms. Gibraltar pageant. St. Michael’s was once believed to be bottomless, and the entrance to the underworld.
Among the Rock’s other attractions is the Moorish castle, built in the year 711. The Tower of Homage which housed apartments and Moorish baths can still be seen today.
Tourists on Gibraltar holidays can also explore the Rock’s unique underground passages called Galleries. These intricate channels measure a total of 304 metres, and offer different astonishing views of the Bay of Gibraltar, the isthmus, and Spain.
Various flora and fauna abound in the upper part of the Rock. This nature reserve is protected by law and features a variety of animals and plants including Barbary Macaques (rock apes), Barbary Partridges, chickweed, thyme, and Gibraltar Candytuft.