When the ancient mariners from the east arrived in this region in the eighth century BC, they once again homed in on the beacon which was the Rock and were attracted to large marine caverns close to these southern platforms. We know that Phoenicians and ancient Greeks came here.

It has also been suggested by some, on the basis of cave paintings of sailing ships in caves near Gibraltar that perhaps even earlier civilisations, the Mycaeneans for example, might have sailed to the Strait as far back as the sixteenth century BC. Whichever way, the Strait and the Rock were known in the classical eastern Mediterranean world. According to legend, Hercules passed through here to take the cattle of Geryon – his tenth labour – and opened up the Strait, creating the pillars which received his name (Hercules to the Romans).

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