10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Gibraltar

 

Nagging women were taken to City Mill Lane, then known as Whirlgig Lane where they were tied to a contraption which whirled rapidly round and round until they stopped nagging.

 

The Gibraltar Tourist Board Head Office, Duke of Kent House, has its own resident ghost who apparently pushes past people in the corridor of this 19th century House. The ghost is rumoured to be a traumatised soldier who worked under the Duke of Kent in 1802.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

There are 6 species of snake in Gibraltar. For those of you who don’t like snakes, don’t think about killing one of them it carries a £2000 fine.

 

Although not officially recorded, the Star Bar in Gibraltar’s Parliament Lane is the oldest bar on the Rock today and was the first bar to be awarded a tavern licence. Before World War II the bar was called by its Spanish name Bar La Estrella and it is rumoured Admiral Lord Nelson was a regular visitor.  

 

When General Eisenhower arrived in Gibraltar to plan the Allied invasion of North Africa, he stayed at The Rock Hotel. He would use a tunnel leading directly from the hotel to his command centre inside the rock itself.

     
   
     

Gibraltar Tourist Board

Duke of Kent House

Cathedral Square

Gibraltar

 

 

 

Lord Admiral Nelson and the Trafalgar Cemetery

 

Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) a British Admiral, was one of the greatest seamen in history. Nelson was struck down by a shot while gaining his most famous victory - at Trafalgar.

 

The beginning of the great battle was marked by Nelson’s famous signal: “England expects every man will do his duty.” Nelson died, on his ship the Victory, as the battle was ending.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

Nelson’s body was placed in a leaguer onboard Victory and the cask filled with brandy. On arrival at Gibraltar’s Rosia Bay spirit of wine was procured and the cask filled again. The body was then shipped to England to lie in state in the Painted Hall in Greenwich and thence to the funeral and interment in St Paul’s on 9 January 1806.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

The Trafalgar Cemetery near Southport Gate commemorates some of those who died at this famous battle. The headstones are touching reminders of loyal servers to the Crown and how particularly young so many of them were who sacrificed their lives.

     
   
     

Gibraltar Tourist Board

Duke of Kent House

Cathedral Square

Gibraltar

 

 

 

A Testament of Time

 

Walking through the centre of Gibraltar is a walk through time. The city is encased by its original city gates and fortifications. Marvel at the intricate detail of the masonry that surrounds the gates that include:

 

Casemates Gates: Opened in 1727 in the entrance to Casemates Square and leads up to the Tower of Homage (Moorish Castle).

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

Landport Gates: Reconstructed in 1729 by the British on the site of earlier Moorish and Spanish gates, and was at one time the only landward access to the city.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

Southport Gates: The original was built in 1552 in the reign of Emperor Charles V. the second bears the arms of Queen Victoria and General Sir John Adye, a former Governor. The third and widest of these gates, known as Referendum Gate, was opened in 1967 and commemorates the referendum in which Gibraltarians voted an overwhelming majority to retain their British links.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     
     
   
     

Gibraltar Tourist Board

Duke of Kent House

Cathedral Square

Gibraltar

 

 

 

Things to do in Gibraltar For Free

 

Stand at Europa Point the southernmost point of Gibraltar and view two continents from one spot, Africa to the south and Europe to the north while the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea converge in the Strait. Legend dictates that the lost city of Atlantis could lie somewhere beneath these waters.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

Take a walk through history in the Alameda Botanical Gardens which were planted on instruction by Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Don in 1816. They centred around the town’s Grand Parade where British troops could relax on their free days.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

Today the gardens have a wooded appearance with Mediterranean pines and olives forming a canopy and many specimens of Dragon trees and Palms from the Atlantic islands. In the heart of the gardens lies the open-air theatre which holds productions throughout the summer months.

 

Gibraltar’s law courts date back to the 1830’s and have a public viewing gallery. It is here that the famous case of the Mary Celeste was heard.

     
   
     

Gibraltar Tourist Board

Duke of Kent House

Cathedral Square

Gibraltar

 

 

 

The Governor’s Residence- A Haunted Place

 

Ghost stories are not a rare phenomenon in Gibraltar. The most famous ghost is the Lady in Grey, who is believed to be nun who turned ghost at the Governor’s official residence – The Convent.

 

The Convent has been the official residence of the Gibraltar Governor since 1728. It was originally a Convent of Franciscan Friars. A guard mount takes place at the main entrance by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Guard and today the Convent and its adjoining Chapel is a favourite spot for tourists.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

The ghost, known as the Lady Grey, is said to roam the corridor outside one of the guest rooms. The story reveals that she was the daughter of an affluent Spanish family who had married against her father’s wishes. When he learnt of it he placed her in the Convent where she was forced to take her vows.

 

Her lover was not discouraged and joined the Franciscan order and settled in the Convent. The couple are said to have hatched their plan for escape.

 

On the night of the escape they made their way to the harbour where a boat was waiting for them. However, the alarm was raised and in the ensuing chase the lover fell into the sea and was drowned. The bride was then arrested for breaking her vows and as punishment was walled up alive in one of the rooms in the convent.

     
   
     

Gibraltar Tourist Board

Duke of Kent House

Cathedral Square

Gibraltar

 

 

 

A Batty Practice

 

The Upper Rock area of Gibraltar is thriving with nature. It is perhaps best known for its semi-wild population of Barbary Macaques and as a resting point for migrating birds. Less common sightings are the Red fox and the mouse eared bat.

 

GOHNS, the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society is monitoring Gibraltar’s sole remaining roost of bats. To protect the roost from incidental disturbance, GOHNS does not reveal their location. However, records from the 1960’s suggest that much larger numbers were traditionally present at other locations and inside caves.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

The Schreiber long fingered Miniopterus schreibersii, is a medium sized bat. The bat study group use an ultrasound recorder that sits outside the roost, to form a type of bat detector that captures movement and sound when the bats echolocate.

 

The key time to witness the bats is shortly after sunset. The bats often swoop very low as they depart for their night of foraging on insect prey.

     

 

 

 

 

 

     

Bat behaviour is quite distinctive and it is common for them to leave in pairs or in threes. It can take up to 30 minutes for the entire roost to emerge.

 

GOHNS is looking to work with other bat researchers to determine whether this species of bat, is using Gibraltar as a mating and winter roost, with pregnant females leaving to give birth away from The Rock.

     
   
     

Gibraltar Tourist Board

Duke of Kent House

Cathedral Square

Gibraltar

 

 

 

World War II History – Rock & Fortress

 

O’Hara’s Battery, found on the highest point of the Rock, was named after General Charles O’Hara who was Governor from 1795-1802. He believed that if he could raise a tower on the south summit of the Rock, he would be able to observe the comings and goings of the enemy at Cadiz harbour, which was over 60 miles away. The tower unfortunately was not successful and the garrison subsequently named it O’Hara’s Folly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

The tower survived until 1888 when plans for its future became the subject of a wager between the garrison gunners and officers of HMS Wasp. The end result was that HMS Wasp used spars and rigging to enable her guns to aim at a high elevation as they started blasting away at the tower. The 6th shot cracked the tower from top to bottom.

 

In 1890 the first 6” gun was mounted but later replaced in 1901 by a 9.2 with a range of over 26,000 metres. It was last fired in 1976 although it won’t be fired again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

The gun and all supporting infrastructure have been restored and are available for viewing with original training film material explaining how the 9.2” gun and its mechanical systems worked.

     
   
     

Gibraltar Tourist Board

Duke of Kent House

Cathedral Square

Gibraltar

 

 

 
 

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