Gibraltar hasn’t always been a British territory. For hundreds of years it existed under Moorish rule, and after that was the battleground for various feuds between the British and the Spanish. Did you know that the Great Siege tunnels were created specifically to defend the rock of Gibraltar? Or that the rock itself was known in mythology as the Pillar of Hercules? With so many layers of history to the area, it’s surprising that it can often be easy to overlook. Amongst the beautiful beaches and Gibraltar package holidays, you’ll find a whole heap of history under the surface. If you’re time in Gibraltar is limited, then you can still get a lot out of the area regarding its vibrant history. Steeped in both British and international history, there’s plenty to see in Gibraltar. Below are some of the best ways to get the most out of the history of Gibraltar.
The Gibraltar Museum was established in 1930 after several unsuccessful attempts to create one in the 19th century. The museum itself gives visitors a great insight into the history of Gibraltar, incorporating exhibits and artefacts from its tumultuous history. Among these is a room dedicated to the Great Siege of Gibraltar, a battle fought between British and Spanish troops, whilst another room gives an overview of the area’s social history, giving visitors a greater understanding of the cultural hotpot that the area represents. Amongst other attractions, visitors can find a cinema which shows a film about Gibraltar’s history, as well as the remains of a Moorish bath house from medieval ages. This bath house is unique in that the museum was built around it, giving you an in-depth view of one of the oldest relics in the territory.
The Great Siege Tunnels
Preserved after the 14th and final siege of Gibraltar in the 18th century, the Great Siege Tunnels is a manmade tunnel system which runs through the Rock of Gibraltar. When visiting, you’ll be able to see the battlements, replica artillery and an in-depth exploration of the terrifying siege between British, Spanish and French troops. The tunnels are well worth a visit for anyone interested in finding out a little more about the rich military history of Gibraltar. Furthermore, the tunnels were added to during the Second World War, when the tunnel was used as a garrison for 16000 men, in part due to Gibraltar’s proximity to the continent of Africa.
With the Moorish rule of Gibraltar adding up to more than 700 years, it’s not surprising to find such a vivid relic, shedding light on the mark this mighty empire left. The remains of the castle are now shown through terraces and towers, some of which were used as batteries for the British military. These incredible ruins were also the home of the Gibraltar prison until it was placed elsewhere in 2010. The Moorish castle, with all its different uses through the ages and various cultural thumbprints placed upon it, is so iconic that it can be found on the Gibraltar five-pound banknote.
Memorials of Gibraltar
There are plenty more historic sights for guests at the Caleta Hotel to explore. With many Gibraltarian war memorials dotted around the city, it’s easy to see how much of an impact the strategic and military importance of the area has had on the local community, it’s artwork and its outlook.