Located in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve St Michaels Cave is the name given to a network of limestone caves. They are situated 300 metres above sea level. St Michaels cave is the most visited of all of the caves to be found inside the Rock of Gibraltar receiving around 1,000,000 visitors every year.
It was created by rainwater slowly seeping through the limestone rock turning into a weak carbonic acid which gradually over a long period of time dissolved the rock. There were tiny cracks in the geological fault that over thousands of years grew into long passages and large caverns through this process. Spectacular stalagmites and stalagtites in the cave have been formed by an accumulation of traces of dissolved rock deposited by water dripping from the ground above. Concerts and ballets are sometimes performed here due to its incredible acoustics.
There are numerous examples of proof that the cave was known to pre-historic man including a Neolithic bowl that was discovered in the cave in 1974. Also recently a charcoal drawing was found on the cave wall of an ibex dat ing back to between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago. Historians can tell this by the style of the drawing.
2 Neanderthal skulls have also been discover in the cave proving that they were amongst the first to set foot in the cave in around 40,000 BC.
Indeed the writings of HOMER as well as many discovered artifacts show that the cave was well known to the ancient Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians.