The Rock of Gibral­tar is a geo­log­i­cal mar­vel locat­ed in the British ter­ri­to­ry of Gibral­tar, on the Iber­ian Penin­su­la. This mag­nif­i­cent mono­lith is the prop­er­ty of the Unit­ed King­dom, locat­ed at the south­west­ern tip of Europe. It also serves as part of the bor­der with Spain. Much of the upper cliff forms a nature reserve which, along with the flo­ra, fau­na and geol­o­gy of the region, is a pop­u­lar tourist attrac­tion. The place became known as one of the Pil­lars of Her­cules and the Romans called it Mons Calpe.

rock of gibraltar

Entry relat­ed to loca­tion: Unit­ed King­dom

The Rock of Gibral­tar is a huge head­land made up most­ly of lime­stone. It also forms a penin­su­la that extends into the Strait of Gibral­tar. Due to the lime­stone com­po­si­tion, parts of the rock slow­ly dis­solve over time due to the action of water. This process often forms caves. In the case of the Rock of Gibral­tar, there are over 100 caves. St. Michael’s Cave remains the most famous and also the area’s biggest attrac­tion. The mono­lith reach­es 426 meters in height.

rock of gibraltar

Rock of Gibraltar Nature Reserve

As of 1993, approx­i­mate­ly 40% of the total area of ​​the Rock of Gibral­tar is now a nature reserve, and much of the flo­ra and fau­na found there is still impor­tant for con­ser­va­tion. The most famous of these remain the Bar­bary Macaque, which has a pop­u­la­tion of 300 indi­vid­u­als with­in the reserve — this is the only known pop­u­la­tion of wild mon­keys in Europe. Oth­er endem­ic species of con­sid­er­able inter­est are the Bar­bary par­tridge and plant species such as the Gib­ril­tar Iberis. The Rock of Gibral­tar also serves as a major rest­ing place for large pop­u­la­tions of migra­to­ry birds.

See also
Devil's Pillars in California


Nean­derthal remains have been found at sev­er­al sites in Gibral­tar. In 1848, the skull of a Nean­derthal woman was found in the Forbes Quar­ry, locat­ed on the north side of the Rock. How­ev­er, its sig­nif­i­cance was not rec­og­nized until the type spec­i­men was dis­cov­ered in 1856 in the Nean­der Val­ley. Exca­va­tions at Gorham’s Cave, near sea lev­el on the east side of the Rock, pro­vide evi­dence that the caves were used by Nean­derthals, and the plant and ani­mal remains in the cave tes­ti­fy to the high­ly var­ied diet of pre­his­toric humans.

You can also admire the dra­mat­ic sea cliffs in a sep­a­rate feed on Life­Globe.