Gibraltar is an overseas territory under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, a so called “Crown-dominion“. The city lies on a foreland extreme south of the iberian peninsula. The area borders Spain and the Street of Gibraltar. The Rock of Gibraltar is one of the Pillars of Hercules in the classical literature; the other pillar should be on the other side near Ksar Seghir on the Moroccan coast.
The sea has always been very important for Gibraltar. The Rock of Gibraltar controls the whole Street which is the reason the military base is present there and the most important reason for conflicts about the posession of this strategic point. The Royal Navy Dockyard used to be Gibraltars most important employer. The harbour partly is a military complex of the British Royal Navy on the westside. Moreover there is an important military base on the Rock with an observation post on top of the Rock and there still is a military garrison stationed in Gibraltar. Navy ships still dock at the port and there are facilities to repair submarines there, which still results in heavy discussions in Spain. The in Gibraltar registred fleat (merchant marine) exists out of 26 ships of 1000 tons or more. Until 2003 there was a fast ferry connection with Tanger, Morocco, but now the passengers have to pass by Algeciras or Tarifa. Several cruise liners visits the port of Gibraltar often. These arrivals are the most important source of revenue for Gibraltar together with the shopping for a day people out of Spain.
Gibraltar Airport has one runway almost completely along the Spanish border. It has been made longer by expanding over the water. Winston Churchill Avenue, the only road between Spain and Gibraltar, crosses the runway, so traffic has to be stopped when a plane lands or takes off. The airport also is a military airport. These air carriers fly on Gibraltar: EasyJet, British Airways, Monarch and Iberia.
A cable car goes from the south of the city to the top with a stop at Ape’s Den. The top actually is only the second heighest, but at the end of the cable way there’s an observatory with a restaurant, while at the highest top there’s a military complex.
On the rock there lives a group of apes imported by the British. It’s a group of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus), which you can also find in North Africa. A legend says that when the apes disappear from the rock, the British will lose their control there. That’s one of the extra reasons the apes are well protected. The group exists of a few hundreds in three smaller groups. Most of the apes are tame and eat out of your hand. It’s recommended however to do this only in the company of a guide. They sometimes show up in the city and curious as they are they enter through open windows or terraces in houses. If the apes got scared by some people a vase or piece of furniture could break. If the apes are seen in the city they are caught again by a special team and brought back to the reserve. It’s known that alway the same female apes and their posterity come to the city.
Things to see and do
- American war memorial and cemetary for the Battle of Trafalgar
- Catalan Bay
- Europa Point
- Gibraltar Museum
- Great Siege Tunnels
- Moorish castle
- Princess Caroline’s Battery
- Rock of Gibraltar
- St Michael’s Cave
- Tunnels from WW II (Hay’s Level)
Disney recommends some stores (but there are much more of course):
- Just Diamonds (diamonds, bracelets, earrings, rings, …)
- Essardas (juwelry with gemstones)
- Crown Jewels (juwelry with colored gemstones)
- Jewels and Gems (watches and juwelry)
- Jasons (crystal, Lladro, pearls and juwelry)
- Antonio Jewellers (juwelry with diamonds and watches)
- Prestige Jewellers (diamonds and swarovski)
- Antonio Jewellers II (juwelry, diamonds, sunglasses)
- Tous (juwelry in classic and modern designs with the teddybear logo)
- Gibraltar Crystal (handmade crystal with the Rock of Gibraltar)
You can find more pictures here.