Gibraltar is a small area that we’ve all heard of in school, most probably about the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Europe from Africa and the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean. However, chances are you haven’t heard anyone saying “Let’s go on holiday to Gibraltar.” Regardless, after seeing it, you’ll understand what makes this beautiful destination so unique.
If you are visiting the Costa del Sol close to Malaga and Marbella, or if you are located in the Moroccan city of Tangier, you can visit Gibraltar in just a few hours’ drive. Make sure you check what the weather is like before you arrive and make sure it’s a sunny day.
The Legend of Hercules
The name of Gibraltar comes from the Arabic language. Jabal Tariq – the Tarik Mountain, in the honor of Tariq ibn Ziyad, of the first conquerors of the Maghreb. The Phoenicians first inhabited the place around 950 BC, and legend says that the two columns of Hercules, the legendary Greek hero, formed the strait between Europe and Africa.
Gibraltar stretches over an area of 5.8 square kilometers and has a population of about 30,000. Officially Gibraltar is an independent British territory and Spain has tried on a few occasions to take it under its rule.
The official language of Gibraltar is English, however most locals also speak Spanish and a strange dialect called Llanito, a combination of Spanish and Hebrew.
The inhabitants of Gibraltar were evacuated during World War II and sent to London, Morocco and even Jamaica. In 1950, the Spanish dictator Franco tried to restore sovereignty over Gibraltar. However, through the 1967 referendum Gibraltar remained under British sovereignty.
Main street and the Casemate Square
Gibraltar is not the best place for cars. If you look on Google Maps you will see that the roads here are very small and the total length of the roads does not exceed 30 km. This, however, makes the place excellent for strolling.
The main street has shops of all kinds that you’ll fall in love with right away. The main street extends from Casemate Square to Southport Gates where you can stop for a while if you are tired, or try out one of the restaurants here and taste some delicious cuisine for very reasonable prices.
Gibraltar also has London-style telephone boxes, and the famous red mailboxes. However, do not imagine that the Old Town is a miniature model of London’s capital. It has something of the elegance of Marbella, a famous luxury resort located 80 km away. Here is a beautiful mixture of the UK and Andalusian culture.
The Gibraltar Trinity Lighthouse dates back to 1841 and has a height of 49 meters and a radius of 37 km. Nearby is the Sikorski monument, which was relocated to Europe Point in 2013 with funding from Poland. General Vladislav Sikorski is the first prime minister and former commander of the Polish army, and he lived in exile between 1939-1943. It is a symbol of resistance against the Nazis and a symbol of the entire Polish people who dreamed of restoring independence. The connection with Gibraltar is the fact that the General died in the plane crash that happened here in 1943.
The Ibrahim al Ibrahim Mosque is an excellent example of Islamic architecture, built in 1997 with funding from King Fahd Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. This mosque is important for the Moroccans who arrived in Gibraltar in 1969, after general Franco closed the borders with Gibraltar.