Cape Spartel, Morocco, is home to the Caves of Hercules, an archaeological cave complex. The popular tourist attraction is located 14 kilometers west of Tangier, next to the King’s summer palace. There is a sea opening and a land opening in the cave.
“The Map of Africa” is the name of the sea entrance. A group tour or taxi are easy ways to reach the Hercules cave complex, which is easily accessible via the national road or by taxi or bus. From Tangier, it takes about 15 minutes to get there. It’s unlikely you’ll find Hercules or monkeys within the caves, but they’re still worth exploring.
When viewed from the sea, the opening to the sea looks like Africa, which was created by the Phoenicians. The local area is also mapped on the wall by markings in the shape of eyes, which are said to have been made by the Phoenicians. The Greek Heracles, according to mythology, stayed here and slept prior to doing his 11th labor. He was given golden apples from the Hesperides Garden as one of the 12 laborers given to him by King Eurystheus of Tiryns. There are parts of the cave that are natural and parts that are man-made.
In order to make millstones, Berber people cut stone wheels from the walls, which greatly increased the cave’s size. There was a long-held belief that the cave had no bottom. St. Michael’s Cave was thought to be the end of a 24 km (15 mi) long subway tunnel passing under the Strait of Gibraltar and emerging at Gibraltar’s St. Michael’s Cave. There is a legend that Barbary macaques migrated from Morocco to Gibraltar this way.
According to some Roman sources, Hercules had to cross the mountain that was once Atlas in order to get to the garden of the Hesperides. The great mountain could not be climbed by Hercules, but rather it had to be crushed by his superhuman strength. As a result, he formed the Strait of Gibraltar, which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea. Gibraltar is one part, and Ceuta or Morocco is the other. Historically, Gibraltar was called Mons Abyla. Since then, the Pillars of Hercules have been known as these two mountains combined.
Geologically and mythologically significant, this cave system can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is possible to combine a visit to the Caves of Hercules with a visit to other local attractions. Normally, the Caves of Hercules are open between 10 am to 8 pm