Historical Gibraltar Attractions (continued)

Mediterranean Steps

Of the Gibraltar attractions, this one is quite challenging. The Mediterranean Steps (Med Steps) is one of the Upper Rock’s most wondrous and awe-inspiring nature walks, which have undergone extensive restoration.

This 1,400 metre climb isn’t for the faint-hearted or very young, briskly soaring from the 180 metres of Jew’s Gate to the 410 metres above sea level of O’Hara’s Battery.

The beginning of this walk is located at the main entrance of the Nature Reserve and Jew’s Gate and ends at O’Hara’s Battery where you could walk across to the cable car top station to get a ride back down to Ape’s Den (half way) or to the bottom at Grand Parade car park, next to the Botanic Gardens. The cable car is a popular choice of the Gibraltar attractions.

Part of Mediterranean Steps

Military Heritage Centre

Here you will find a fascinating array of artefacts of military history and a monument dedicated to British Regiments, which have served on the Rock. The Military Heritage Centre is housed in Princess Caroline’s Battery, Upper Rock.

A recommended visit and easy to fit into your schedule when visiting the Gibraltar attractions, this centre is small and can be viewed in a short time.

Moorish Castle

The fortifications on and around the site of the Moorish Castle were first built around 1160. These were, however, destroyed when the Spanish re-conquered Gibraltar from 1309-1333.

The Tower of Homage, its main feature, dominates the hillside and landward approach to Gibraltar, making it one of the more famous of the Gibraltar attractions.

A rebuilt tower dates primarily from about 1333 AD, when Abu’l Hassan recaptured Gibraltar from the Spanish. The Tower proudly displays the battle scars inflicted during the various sieges. A Spanish governor held out for five months against the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who took Gibraltar from his own sovereign, Queen Isabel of Spain.

On another occasion, the Count of Niebla attached the castle, was captured by the Medieval defenders and his body was suspended from the walls in a net for carrying straw (a barcina). In 1540, hundreds of people found safety inside the castle when Turkish pirates ransacked Gibraltar.

The lower castle formerly stretched all the way down to Casemates Square, the Grand Battery area and the Old Mole.

The Moorish Castle is located at the top of the upper town area, leading up to the Upper Rock (next to Hay's Level).

The Moorish Castle

Nelson’s Anchorage – 100 Ton Gun

HMS Victory was towed to Rosia Bay after Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Despite denials by the Royal Navy, the local story is that Nelson’s body was brought ashore at Rosia Bay where his body was changed from the barrel of brandy to one of alcohol (spirit of wine) for the return journey home to England.

Located within the same area and well worth a visit is the 100-Ton Gun, one of the most impressive of the Gibraltar attractions. This gun was installed in the early 19th century, but never fired in anger. There are only two left in the world, the other is in Malta.

Both are located at Rosia, towards the southern end of the Rock.

O’Hara’s Battery

At the highest point of the Rock of Gibraltar (426 m, 1,400 feet)and of all of the Gibraltar attractions this one gives you the most stunning views.

Originally there was a look-out tower at this point and the Governor believed if such a tower was built, it would enable the Garrison to see the Spanish port of Cadiz and any ships heading towards Gibraltar. After building was completed, his theory did not work and it became known as O’Hara’s Folly.

O'Hara's tower itself is long gone, being shot down in target practice by HMS Wasp in 1888, but there is still an original 9.2” WW II gun, guarding the Strait. O’Hara’s Battery was named after Governor General Charles O’Hara.

Access to O’Hara’s Battery can be made by walking down the short road to St. Michael’s Cave from the Gibraltar cable car top station. There is a fork in the road about half way down and a steep path leads on to O’Hara’s Battery. Alternatively, the Battery can be accessed at the end of your walk up the Mediterranean Steps (another of the Gibraltar attractions).

Parson’s Lodge

At the southern end of the Rock (Rosia) and dominating Rosia Bay, you will find Parson’s Lodge Battery.

Dating from 1875, this battery formerly housed three 18 ton guns. The old Spanish walls were reinforced by the British, while beneath the battery are the former ammunition stores and living quarters.

This fortification is now in the hands of the Gibraltar Museum, who are currently using it as a research centre, for their cave and undersea studies, but still qualifies for a visit out of the list of Gibraltar attractions.

Prince Edward’s Gate

Located in the southern end of town, Prince Edward’s Gate, part of the Charles V Wall, overlooks Trafalgar Cemetery and is named after Queen Victoria’s father, HRH The Duke of Kent. This gate was opened in 1790 when HRH had his first posting to Gibraltar. The Duke subsequently left and returned as Governor in 1802.

Although the Duke again left Gibraltar in 1803, he refused to surrender his appointment as Governor of Gibraltar and we therefore had a Lt. Governor in Gibraltar from 1804 until 1820, when the Duke died.

One of the historical Gibraltar attractions and a must for the historian.

Ragged Staff

These gates, located at the far end of town (near the Trafalgar Cemetery), were constructed in 1843 for foot access. In 1736 the contractor to the Navy Victualling Office built a wharf, 350 feet long, which had access by way of a flight of stone steps and a drawbridge. The gates, as they stand today, pierce the wall at a site previously known as the Ragged Staff Couvreport.

Southport Gates

These 3 gates are located at the far end of the city, adjacent to the Trafalgar Cemetery.

The original gate was built in 1552 in the time of Emperor Charles V. The second bears the arms of Queen Victoria and General Sir John Adye, the Governor of Gibraltar in 1993.

The third and wider of these gates, known as Referendum Gate, was opened in 1967 and commemorates the first Referendum in which Gibraltarians voted by an overwhelming majority to retain their links with Britain (a significant landmark, more than qualifying it in the list of Gibraltar attractions).

The Convent

One of the more popular of the Gibraltar attractions, The Convent is situated at the southern end of Main Street and has been the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar since 1711.

Once a convent of Franciscan Friars, dating back to 1528, the name “The Convent” was an erroneous translation of “Friary” by the early British settlers and the Garrison. “The Convent” has, however, become the historic name and remains so by order of King George VI.

A guard mount now takes place at the main entrance of The Convent a few days a week, usually conducted by soldiers of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. A more elaborate and colourful parade of the Changing of the Guard is also performed outside this historical venue, a few times a year.

For more information, please contact us using the form below (at the end of "Gibraltar Attractions").

The Convent (Governor's House)

Trafalgar Cemetery

Situated just south of the city walls, this was used as Gibraltar’s military cemetery in the early 19th century.

Although the name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, only two tombs still show details that those buried there actually died of wounds suffered in the battle in 1805.

There are over 30 other officers, sailors and marines also buried here, but details of who is buried where were lost when these tombs were moved from an earlier burial ground.

A ceremony is held here every year on Trafalgar Day, to commemorate Lord Nelson’s Victory and to pray for all those who died.

An fascinating site in the "Gibraltar Attractions" and a must for historians.

Wellington Front

Wellington Front was built by convict labour in 1840 and there were over 900 convicts working on the reconstruction of the walls and other defensive works.

Off the Front was the anchorage of the “Owen Glendower”, a convict ship named after a Welsh Prince. The ship’s bell, which is now on exhibition at the Gibraltar Museum, rang out continuously whenever a convict escaped until he was recaptured.

Eventually, in 1975, it was realised that it was cheaper to employ local labour, than to use the imported convicts who would not work hard enough to earn their keep.

Access to Wellington Front is possible from Lovers Lane (at the end of Line Wall Road) or via a pedestrian archway through the wall on Queensway.

Wellington Front (Lover's Lane)

World War II Tunnels

One of the more exciting Gibraltar attractions are the Tunnels.

Immediately following the successful tunnelling during the Great Siege, a further network of tunnels was excavated inside the Rock during the 19th century.

Up until 1940, when Britain was at war with Germany and Italy, Winston Churchill believed that an attack on Gibraltar was imminent. The answer was to construct a massive network of tunnels to build a fortress inside the fortress.

In June 2005, part of this network of tunnels was opened to the general public by Rock and Fortress allowing you to following in the footsteps of Churchill and De Gaulle.

Public access to these tunnels is by Hay’s Level, Upper Rock (next to The Moorish Castle).

Much of the tunnels’ network still belongs to the Ministry of Defence and Military guides provide fascinating tours of this other section of tunnels by prior arrangement.

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