One of the most critical places on the world's geopolitical map
Giblartar has a vibrant and turbulent history, with disputes, conquests, and naval battles taking place in its vicinity. The city has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times, and it has evolved from a peaceful object of religious reverence to one of the most critical places on the world's geopolitical map.
A touch of history
The history of human habitation in the vicinity of the Rock of Gibraltar dates back as far as 50,000 years. This is evidenced by a cast of a Neanderthal skull that is currently on display at the Gibraltar Museum. Archaeological research has shown that Neanderthals in Gibraltar survived for 2,000 years longer than their counterparts in other parts of Europe.
In ancient times, Gibraltar held symbolic and religious significance. This is evidenced by the Gorham Caves, which were used as a site for sacrifices to the Phoenician and Carthaginian gods. The caves are still being studied by scientists and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to Plato, Gibraltar is one of the Pillars of Hercules, the other being Jebel Musa in Morocco. Some historians believe that the Monte Hacho mountain in Ceuta is the second Pillar of Hercules. A monument marking the Pillars of Hercules can be found near Europa Point (see map below).
The Pillars of Hercules have become so ingrained in the culture of Gibraltar that they can be found in all sorts of designs, drawings, architecture, and more. They can also be found on the flag of the Kingdom of Spain and 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 the fortified walls that we can see today.
During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), allied English and Dutch troops occupied Gibraltar on August 4, 1704. The numerical superiority of the allied forces was so significant that the Spanish Governor of Gibraltar, Diego de Salinas, had no choice but to surrender the city. The city walls were never breached again, despite subsequent sieges carried out by Spanish forces. The ongoing armed conflict and subsequent takeover attempts were interrupted by the Treaty of Utrecht, which was signed in 1713. The treaty ceded Gibraltar to Great Britain "in perpetuity"...
The community of Gibraltar is a real cultural and linguistic melting pot. 78% of the inhabitants are Catholic, and there is also a large Muslim, Hindu, and 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.
There is also a Polish thread in the southern part of the peninsula. 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 crash that occurred shortly after taking off from Gibraltar Airport. On the 70th anniversary of the crash, a memorial was unveiled to honor the General.
We may never know for sure what caused the crash.
Gibraltar is not just rock and historical monuments. It is a well-organized, modern country with a distinct culture that offers its citizens several privileges. Many Spaniards are tempted by the working conditions and wages in Gibraltar pounds, and they work primarily in services. Most of them live in the frontier town of La Línea de la Concepción, which is not a particularly attractive place in itself, but it has one major advantage: lower rent and product prices in stores than they would have to pay to live overlooking the Rock of Gibraltar.
Where do the monkeys in Gibraltar come from?
The Gibraltar Rock is home to the only only wild living apes in Europe.The population of the Barbary macaque, or more specifically, the Gibraltar macaque, is nearly 300 animals. The monkeys are thought to have arrived in Gibraltar with the Moors, and there is a legend that the British will rule as long as the apes live there.
During World War II, the population of the monkeys drastically shrank to just 7 animals. To save British rule over the Rock, Winston Churchill himself ordered monkeys to be brought from Algeria to repopulate the herd.
Seeing maggots up close is a unique tourist attraction. Although the animals have learned to coexist with humans (sometimes climbing on shoulders or backs), it is important to remember that they are under strict protection. Feeding them is illegal and can result in a fine of 500 pounds. No matter what you think of them, I think they are adorable!
There are several possibilities to get to the top of the Rock
- starting the route from Jews Gate
- from the Moorish Castle
- ascent by cable car
- Entry by taxi/van - is recommended, as the cable car is often closed due to strong winds, and walking up the Rock in such conditions is not a pleasant experience.
- The entrance on foot is via the Mediterranean steps - beware - they are very steep, and the path on a sunny summer day can be exhausting. You reach O'Hara's Battery (the highest point on Upper Rock) through the steps. 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 places worth visiting
The distances between attractions are not long, so those who like to walk can 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. France and Spain created them during the Great Siege of Gibraltar in 1779-1783. Interestingly, the tunneling was done by hand, partly with explosive materials. Visiting the tunnels, you will also see the exhibition city Under Sieg
- St Michael’s Cave – w skale giblartarskiej ukrytych jest ponad 150 jaskiń. Jaskinia św. Michała jest największą i najbardziej imponującą z nich. Głeboka na 62 metry, położona na około 300m n.p.m, podzielona siecią tuneli na dwie części. Współcześnie wykorzystywana jako hala koncertowa, wcześniej stanowiła miejsce spotkań towarzyskich, a podczas II wojny światowej służyła za szpital wojskowy.
- Europa point - you shouldn't miss it out 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 - a shopping street with many typical English bars
- Parson’s Lodge one of the most strategic places, the fortress protects the entrance to the historic Rosia Bay
- The Moorish Castle - The Castle
- The Alameda Botanic Gardens – a very quiet and pleasant place to rest
- Southport Gates – remains of old fortifications
For wildlife lovers
- Monkeys at the top of a Rock
- The coast of Gibraltar 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 Gibraltar
- Gibraltar's Airport is 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 the plane - great view!
- Nie jest tajemnicą, że dochody Gibraltaru pochodzą, m.in z zakładów bukmacherskich
- 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”
- Gibraltar has only about 29 km of roads!
Giblartar in old videos
What to eat?
Gibraltar is a melting pot of cultures, and this is reflected in its cuisine. You can find not only the famous British fish and chips, but you can also taste the specialties of 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 you're traveling from Málaga or elsewhere by bus, check out the transport companies Alsa.es, Avanza.es, with which you can reach La Línea de la Concepción, the last stop before Gibraltar. From there, you can walk/drive across the border (don't forget to take your ID card or passport).
If we go by bus: routes, departure times, and ticket prices can be checked out Click Here.
Official website Click Here
Gibraltar's attractions on the map: