Caves of Hercules between legends and wonders

Per: Julien ANTINOFF  

MONUMENT Located fourteen kilometers west of Tangier, the Caves of Hercules have a unique setting on the Atlantic coast. There over 500 years before Christ, they attract many legends.

The famous Tangier monument is located in the village of Achakar, not far from Cape Spartel and the ruins of the ancient city of Cotta. These Hercules Caves are nestled on a cliff overlooking the ocean and historians and archaeologists both agree on one thing: the caves are more than 5000 years before Christ. Inside the caves, they overlook the strait of Gibralter Cap, an impressive sight thanks to the lush blue waters and sky. The archaeological beauty of the place gives its full effect during sunset, as the cave amplifies the contrast between the light and the sea waves crashing on the rocks. 

The Cave legends

Like any historical place, legends and mysteries accompany the Caves of Hercules. The first is Heracles, Hercules in Roman mythology, this is where he rested after the completion of his 12 labors. Another story has it that the Greek hero took a sword during a terrible battle and opened the strait of Gibralter. In another version, It was not a sword but a shoulder shot that allowed the opening to take its form. On either side of the grrove, the son of Zeus and Alcmene raised two columns, which symbolized for many centuries the limits of the known world. Some believe that these caves date back to the prehistoric age as the remains of mining blocks of hard limestone used to make furniture were found. Finally, Plato would have placed Atlantis in the passage of the Pillars of Hercules, in one of his last dialogues "Timaeus". Recent studies support this thesis. 

Discovered during archaeological excavations in 1878 and a classified historical monument in 1950, the origins of the caves of Hercules remain enigmatic. 

Text Julien Antinoff

Translation Karen Athwal

Photo DR