Gibraltar has a vibrant and turbulent history behind it, fraught with disputes, conquests, naval battles taking place in its vicinity, multiple alternating destructions, and rebuildings of the city... From a peaceful object of religious reverence, it has evolved into one of the most critical places on the world's geopolitical map.

The very subject of Giblartar acts on the politically interested Spaniard like a red rag to a bull. Until now, they cannot come to terms with the British presence on the southern border of the Kingdom...

 

 
A pinch of history

The history of human habitation in the nearness of the rock dates back as far as 50 thousand years, which is proven by a cast of a Neanderthal skull currently in the Gibraltar Museum. According to archeological research, representatives of this species survived here 2 thousand years longer than Neanderthals living in other parts of Europe.

In ancient times Giblartar had a symbolic and religious significance, as evidenced by the traces visible in the Gorham Caves, which served as a place of sacrifice to the Phoenician and Carthaginian gods. They remain the target of detailed scientific research and have been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

According to Plato, Gibraltar is one of the pillars of Heracles, the gate of the end of the known world. The second one is probably Jebel Moussa in Morocco, although some historians consider the Monte Hacho mountain in Ceuta. The marking of the gate in the form of a monument can be found near Europa Point (see map at the end of the post).

"Poles" have become so ingrained in the culture that you can often find references to them in all sorts of patterns, drawings, architecture, etc. We can also find them on the Kingdom of Spain's flag or on the coat of arms of Cadiz.

In later history, Giblartar passed from Carthage to the Romans, then from the Vandals to the Goths, then to the Visigoths, the Byzantine Empire and again to the Visigoths, and finally, in 711, it came under the rule of Tariq Ibn Ziyad, who, together with his Arab troops, began the conquest of these lands, uniting them into the historical formation known as Al-Andalus. The modern name is derived, later distorted, from Jabal Tarik - Tariq's Mountain - given in honor of the great commander.

In 1462 the area was retaken during the Reconquista, but Spanish rule did not bring peace, and internal conflicts, power divisions, successive sieges, and pirate conquests severely affected the inhabitants of the rock. The latter, in 1552, prompted King Charles V of Habsburg to begin the construction of fortified walls that we can see today.

During the War of the Spanish Succession (1707 - 1714), the allied English and Dutch troops occupied Gibraltar on August 4, 1704. Their numerical superiority was so significant that fighting was out of the question - resigned Governor of Gibraltar at that time - Diego de Salinas surrendered the city, and despite retaliatory sieges carried out later, the city walls were never breached again. The ongoing armed conflict and subsequent takeover attempts were interrupted by the signing of the Peace Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 when Gibraltar was officially ceded to Great Britain "in perpetuity"...

 

Contemporary

The community of Gibraltar is a real cultural and linguistic melting pot, where 78% of the inhabitants are Catholic, a large part are Muslims, Hindus, and the Jewish community. Gibraltarians themselves often speak llanito, a specific dialect that contains many words borrowed from other languages, including Andalusian Spanish, a dialect of Genoese, Hebrew, Arabic, Portuguese and Maltese.

In the southern part of the peninsula, there is also a Polish thread. On July 4, 1943, at 23:06 local time, the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, General Władysław Sikorski, was killed along with 15 other passengers in a plane that crashed after take-off from the airport. On the 70th anniversary of the crash, a memorial was unveiled to honor the General. Whether the event was an unfortunate accident or a planned operation... We will probably never know...

 

Gibraltar is not just rock and historical memorials. It is a well-organized, modern country with cultural distinctiveness, offering its citizens a number of privileges. Many Spaniards tempted by the working conditions and wages in Giblartar pounds work here primarily in services. Most of them live in the frontier La Línea de la Concepción, which in itself is not a particularly attractive place, but has the most important advantage - lower rent and product charges in the stores than they would have to pay to live overlooking the monkey fools...

 

Where these monkeys come from

The Gibraltar Rock is inhabited by THE ONLY WILD LIVING APEAS IN EUROPE, the population of the Berber macaque, or more specifically, the Giblartar magot, contains nearly 300 animals. The monkeys probably came with the Moors, and legend has it that the British will rule as long as the maggots live there.

 

During World War II the population shrank drastically, to 7 animals, and to save British rule over the rock Winston Churchill himself ordered the monkeys to be brought from Algeria to reproduce the herd. Seeing the monkeys up close is an unusual tourist attraction and although the animals have learned to coexist with humans (sometimes climbing on shoulders or backs), remember that they are under strict protection and feeding an animal can result in a fine of 500 pounds! Whatever you say about them, they are adorable :)

 

 

How to get to the top of the rock?

There are several possibilities:

  • od from Jews Gate
  • from Moorish Castle
  • ascent by cable car
  • The entrance on foot is via the Mediterranean steps -  beware - they are very, very steep, and the path on a sunny summer day can be exhausting. Through the steps, you reach O'Hara's Battery (the highest point on Upper Rock). Other military batteries on the rock include Princess Caroline's Battery or Spur Battery, and we can also admire one of the WWII cannons. There is a great view from the top! Remember, you need to buy an entrance ticket before entering the reserve!

 

Main monuments and sites

The distances between attractions are not long, so those who like to walk are able to reach all of them within one day.

  • Upper Rock Nature Reserve
  • Gibraltar has six magnificent beaches, depending on their location, offer spectacular views of the African coastline
  • Great Siege Tunnels - It's one of the most magnificent 52 km-long labyrinths of tunnels hollowed out of the rock for defensive purposes. They were created during the Great Siege of Gibraltar by France and Spain in 1779-1783. Interestingly, the tunneling was done by hand, partly with explosive materials.Visiting the tunnels, you will also see the exhibitionCity Under Sieg
  • St Michael’s Cave - More than 150 caves are hidden in the rock of Giblartar. St. Michael's Cave is the largest and most impressive of them. It is 62 meters deep, located at about 300m above sea level, divided by a network of tunnels into two parts. Nowadays, it is used as a concert hall, previously it was a social meeting place, and during World War II it served as a military hospital. Every year it is visited by more than 1 000 000 tourists!
  • Europa point - you have to be there! The place offers spectacular views of the African coastline about 20km away. It is worth stopping here for a longer stay as there are several attractions worth seeing:
    • Trinity Lighthouse was built in the first half of the 19th century. The light it emits can be seen from about 27 km away
    • Meczet Ibrahima al-Ibrahima - opened in 1997, funded by the Fahd of Saudi Arabia, cost £5 million, is the southernmost mosque in Europe
    • Shrine of Our Lady of Europe - once a mosque, later a Catholic church, on the 700th anniversary of the donation of the famous statue of Our Lady and Child to the shrine. Pope Benedict XVI has awarded the church the Golden Rose as a sign of respect and recognition
    • The 100 Tonne Gun - treat for military fans
    • General Sikorski Monument
    • Memorializing the rock as the pole of Hercules in the form of a monument
  • Main Street - typical shopping street, with many typical English bars
  • Parson’s Lodge - one of the most strategic places, the fortress protects the entrance to the historic bay Rosia Bay
  • The Moorish Castle - maur castle
  • The Alameda Botanic Gardens - very quiet and pleasant place to rest
  • Southport Gates - remains of old fortifications

 

For wildlife lovers
  • Monkeys at the top
  • The coast of Gibartar is a great base for diving and admiring the nearby reef, and shipwrecks
  • From the port we can go to see the marine mammals

 

Interesting facts about Giblartar
  • Gibraltar Airport - not to be missed, you have to drive/walk through it from the Spanish border towards the center. The street crosses the runway, and the traffic is stopped for the time of taking off/landing of the plane - great view!
     

  •  
  • It is no secret that Giblartar's income comes from, among other things... gambling
  • A wedding on the beach? It couldn't be simpler, John Lennon and Yoko Ono as well as Sean Connery have wed here twice.
  • Gibraltar often appears in world cinematography: in the Bond series "You Only Live Twice" or "The Living Daylights".
  • The country has only about 29 km of roads!

 

 
Giblartar in old movies

 

 

What to eat?

At Gibraltar, you will find not only the famous British fish & chips, but you can also taste the specialties of the Mediterranean or Moroccan cuisine.

 

How to get there, where to park

If you are going by car, you can safely park under the Cable Car - there is usually plenty of space. There will also be no problem with parking at Europa Point. There are also other parking areas. Usually, the information appears near the road.

If we go by bus: routes, departure times and ticket prices we can check HERE

Oficial website: Click Here

 

Giblartar attractions on the map:

Back

Related articles

Booking.com
USEFUL SPANISH:
el mono monkey
el estrecho straits
la roca rock
el túnel tunnel
aeropuerto airport
el puerto port
la frontera Border
poco little, few
alimentar feed
vistas views
GIBRALTAR
Booking.com
polish flag english flag