The Rock of Gibraltar has been an important piece of land for centuries. It’s first claim to fame was that it was where two huge, skyscraper-sized rocks stood, almost like giant pillars. These were called by the ancient people, the Pillars of Hercules. One of the pillars has long since washed away, but the other remained. It is after this pillar and the body of water around it (called Gibraltar) that the area is named. This area has been held by many different countries including, Arabia, Spain, France, and England.
Fun Facts about the Rock of Gibraltar
If you are lost and wandering in the Mediterranean Sea, you can see the Rock of Gibraltar even if you are several miles away from it. Why? It is because the Rock of Gibraltar is as high as 426 meters. It protrudes out of the Mediterranean Sea the way candles stand upon a birthday cake. The Rock of Gibraltar is made of limestone which is the material that companies use to make cement, so it is very strong.
The Rock of Gibraltar Preserves Past History
Bones and the remains of animals that lived more than 100 million years ago have been found preserved right there on the Rock of Gibraltar. Even though fossils were preserved in the Rock of Gibraltar, they are not in good shape because they have decayed so much that only scientists can study them and know what they really were millions of years ago. Also found in the area are some of the oldest manmade artwork the world has ever known. They are still discovering new artifacts each year.
The Caves of Gibraltar
Did you know that there are more than 100 caves that can be found under the Gibraltar rock alone? There is also a network of tunnels and underground passages that were dug by warlords during times of war in Gibraltar. These passages are known as galleries and are currently being used as archives for tourists who visit the rock. In fact, if you are in these passages or halls you might see the Spanish coast which is not too far off in the distance. It is in some of these caves where some of the most ancient discoveries have been made. Artwork, pottery, even bones have been found, which are very old and tell scientists what life was like for the people who used to live there.
Monkeys and the Rock of Gibraltar
There are many ideas as to how the monkeys first found their way to Gibraltar, but the most widely accepted idea is that the monkeys used one of the tunnels under the rock that leads 15 miles to Africa. Regardless of how the monkeys first arrived there, it is said that as long as the monkeys live on the Rock, it will always be under British rule. The monkeys have no tails and are a type of Barbary Ape. The park maintains their populations and makes sure that they are given their immunizations and are kept healthy.