The Pillars of Hercules

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  • Tours of Gibraltar Logo

As you rise from the commotion of the city of Gibraltar on one of our world famous Gibraltar Rock Tours, the air thins as the buildings disappear. The town is a densely populated place but Gibraltar private tours help you get away from it all as you go uphill into the clouds.

Winding your way up the narrow roads on a private Rock tour, the first of the Gibraltar attractions is the Pillars of Hercules. This view is one of the most panoramic on clear days as it is possible to see the all the northern Atlas mountains, and an isometric view of the bay.

The city of Gibraltar stretches below and it is easy to identify a number of its landmarks with its harbour which proved to be a key stop-off for ships servicing the British empire. One can only imagine the cacophony of sights and sounds when huge ships anchored on the shores of the Rock to trade their wares, or the vessels of war that anchored at the Rock for rest and relaxation before fighting the Nazis and their allies all over the Mediterranean.

Nowadays the bay is a far more serene sight, although on Gibraltar tours the myriad of ships waiting for orders in the bay still lends an idea to what the world was like in colonial times. You may even be able to spot sailing boats that come from the north in autumn before they take the route to the Canary Islands and then on to the Caribbean.

All of this can be seen from this stop on Gibraltar private tours, standing on one of the Pillars of Hercules made famous by Greek mythology that was taken on by the Etruscans and the Romans. In this tale, Hercules was tasked with fetching the Cattle of Geryon and returning to Eurystheus with them, with the Pillars of Hercules marking the most western point in the Mediterranean worldview.

Plato placed the lost city of Atlantis beyond these two pillars, the Rock of Gibraltar and Jbel Musa across the straits in modern-day Morocco. This was revived by the Renaissance as the pillars marked out that there was ‘nothing further beyond’ (Non plus ultra), warning sailors and merchants of the danger beyond.

Dante Aligheri in his Inferno XXVI tells of Ulysses tells of his journey to get to know more of the unknown. In many ways this is similar to the visitors who are embarking on a voyage of discovery in the Gibraltar Rock Tours.