It´s known that in Antiquity Cerro de S. Miguel, or the Monte Figo as it was known, was used as an important reference point for coastline navigation, with allusions to its strategic location on the Portolan charts, literary texts and historic documents by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Arabs and other Christian people from North Europe. It was common to attribute to it mystical powers, coming from a fertile imagination very common in maritime people.
Mythologists such as W. Christ and Müllenhoff consider that elevation as a sacred mountain, a kind of Olympus where the maritime deities gather together in secret conference. The eminent archaeologist Prof. Schulten has identified the Zéfiro cape, mentioned by Avieno in his immortal poem Ora Maritima
, as the Monte Figo, opinion shared by others investigators like Prof. Mendes Correia and the Spanish Antonio Arriba, that seems to remove the doubts about the relation between the Cerro de S. Miguel and the Zéfiro Tartessian cape.
Essentially calcareous, the top has some traces of amber colour, pink and almost hyaline calcite and also rounded stones of quartz and quartzite. An eruptive vein of Basalt contaminated by Olivine crosses the mountain for all its length. On the South hillside near the bottom there are rocks with huge Ammonite fossils.
On the slopes, a great range of flora can be found such as: Lavender (Lavandula luisieri
), Peony (Paeonia broteroi)
, Thymus (Thymus lotocephalus
), Algarve Wild Artichoke, (Cynara algarbiensis
), the Rockrose (Cistus albidus)
, Esparto (Stipa tenacissima
) , Mastic (Pistacia Lentiscus
As examples of fauna can be found the Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), the Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the Genet (Genetta Genetta), the Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus), the Common Toad (Bufo Bufo) and the Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius). In a temporary or permanent basis can be watched the Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica), the Iberian Magpie (Cyanopica cooki), the Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), the Short-toed Snake-eagle (Circaetus gallicus), the Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), the Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala), the Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) along many others.
Photo credit: berniedup / Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: m-idre31 / VisualHunt / CC BY