Underground Morocco: Hercules Cave, Tangier

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On the most northwestern point of Africa, in Tangier, Morocco lies an ancient cave with an intriguing and mysterious history. The cave has two openings- one to the land and one to the sea, with the sea opening resembling the shape of Africa. The cave is part natural and part man-made; it was extended by the Berber people to cut stone from the wheels to make millstones.

The cave gets its name from a myth that Hercules (from the Greek Heracles) slept in this cave after he separating Africa and Europe. He also rested here before doing his 11th labour, (one of the 12 labours which King Eurystheus of Tiryns had given to him) which was to get golden apples from the Hesperides Garden, which ancient Greeks believed was located nearby.

Another legend tells that the cave is one end of a 15-mile-long tunnel between Morocco and Europe, emerging in St Michael’s Cave in Gibraltar, through which the macaque monkeys arrived the Rock of Gibraltar from Africa.

Today the cave can be visited for a small fee, and has been adapted for tourists, with lighting added and restoration work taking place in 2015.

Last Updated on 29 October 2023 by Leonie

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