Forts / Batteries / Castles, Gibraltar
The Moorish occupation was the longest in Gibraltar's History, lasting from 711 to 1309 and 1350 to 1462. It should be remember that the Moors started their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula from Gibraltar, coming over from North Africa.
The Moorish Castle itself was rebuilt from prior fortifications. The present appearance dates from the early 14th century. it is to this day the largest castle keep and highest tower in the Iberian Peninsula
Douglas Path is an old military path from the 18th century which is partly paved now. Its unpaved northern end joins the northern end of St. Michael’s road and leads to the upper cable car station. Its southern end is close to O’Hara’s road which leads to the battery of the same name and the Mediterranean steps. Douglas Path is one of the highest streets in Gibraltar and can be used on your way up to the high points of the rock. For the adventurers among you, there are some derelict WWII posts along Douglas Path. They are not safe and everything but cleaned. But at least I like exploring such places and I also found a 5 Euro bill from another adventurer. Surely one of the mos unusual place to find money...
Nelson’s Anchorage is the old harbour which offers a magnificent view over the starit of Gibraltar. It was the place where the body of Admiral Nelson was brought onto land after the battle of Tranfalgar on board of his ship, the H.M.S. Victory. There’s not that much to see here, just a small exhibition and few remains of the historic harbour. If you come for the view only, just walk along Rosia bay. But if you like historical sites, this place may be worth a visit anyway. People interested in military history can combine Nelson’s Anchorage with a visit to the neighbouring 100 ton gun. Nelson’s anchorage includes an entry fee of 1.00 pounds (as of 2009). It is also included in the nature reserve comination ticket which also includes the mentioned 100 ton gun as well as includes St. Michael’s Caves, the Great Siege Tunnels, the Moorish Castle and the City under Siege exhibition.
The Moorish Castle is one of the last remnants of the Moorish time. Built in the 11th century, it was a huge fortress extending as low as Casemates Square. Now, little more than a 14th century (Some sources give 1333 as year of construction) tower, called the Tower of Homage, remains of it. There, you will see a small exhibition about how the castle looked like and some artefacts from Moorish times. It was also on top of this tower that the Union Jack was placed after Gibraltar’s capture by the British. The entry is included in the nature reserve combination ticket which includes also St. Michael’s Caves, the Great Siege Tunnels, Nelson’s Anchorage, the 100 ton gun and the City under Siege exhibition.
Parson’s Lodge is the name of a fortress as well as the name of the rock formation where it stands on. Its strategic value was already recognized by the Moors who built the first fortress in the 14th century. The Spaniards and later the British improved the site, creating the present fortress. In 1761, it received its current name. Most of the present structures are from the 19th century and installed on request of Sir John Jones from 1840 on. During WWII, Parson’s Lodge was used to store anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns. In 1956, the fort was given up by the military as a permanent base, but retained it for training purposes. Unfortunately, that also meant that maintenance was given up. From the 1980s on, heritage trust organizations began to take care of the fort. Unlike the 100 ton gun or Nelson’s Anchorage, it is not included in the Nature Reserve combination ticket. However, an entry fee of 2.00 pounds is more than justified to preserve this fort.
It was quite a nice surprise to emerge from the Landport Tunnel into the very historic looking Casemates Square! The houses in this part of Gibraltar were so damaged during the seige of 1727 that the British decided to raze them to the ground and replace them with a large square. Around its perimeter they built casemates, which are fortified enclosures (usually with an arched roof) to provide protection for the British garrison in the event of future attacks. As we stepped through Casemates Gate we just happened to be next door to the appealing looking Nelson Pub, so we stopped there for a sitdown and a drink before continuing onward (see my 'Restaurant' tip for further details).
This is quite a popular spot for both tourists and locals, with a great variety of shops and restaurants located around the perimeter of the Square as they have taken over the old defensive positions. Preparations were being made for a big New Years Eve extravaganza later in the day. There also happened to be a Tourist Information office on the far side of the Square, so we were able to get some great information from them regarding what we should see and what sort of transport would be best (bus) given our short timeline in Gibraltar. This view of Casemates Square was taken as we headed further up the Rock to catch a bus.
Gibraltar is still held by the British because of it's strategic importance, which does not sit well with Spain just across the border. As you walk around Gibraltar you will see evidence of this history in the many cannons that seem to be everywhere.
The Moorish Castle can be seen from a distance as you approach Gibraltar from Spain. This castle was built by the Moors in 1333, to replace a castle which existed on this site but had been badly damaged. The Gatehouse, walls and bastion surrounding the castle all date to this period. It was in the castle that Admiral Rooke hoisted the Union Jack when he captured the Rock in 1704.
The Moorish castle does not look like a castle – more like a tower, the only still standing part of what was once a Moorish castle, indeed. The tower is now known as the Tower of Homage.
The building of the castle dates back to the 8th century, during the firstMoorish occupation, but the tower as we see it today was added during the second occupation in the early 14th century.
A little curiosity: the tower is currently featured on the reverse of £5 Gibraltar banknotes.
"Parson's Lodge is a mini Gibraltar - a narrow limestone dorsal, running North-South, laced with a labyrinth of underground tunnels and surmounted by a seemingly impregnable battery, which has witnessed the development of coast artillery over the last three centuries.
Rising 120' sheer above the sea, Parson's Lodge, is a most prominent of a series of batteries which surround Gibraltar's only natural anchorage - Rosia Bay. It was into this bay that HMS Victory was towed, with Lord Nelson's body on board, after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
The Moors, who occupied Gibraltar for 727 years and the Spaniards, who stayed for 266 years, were aware of the strategic importance of Parson's Lodge. The former built a wall shortly after 1333 and the latter improved it and recorded it in 1627.
When the British arrived in 1704 it was clearly necessary to protect the anchorage immediately north of Parson's Lodge.
Once housed three 18 ton ten inch rifled muzzle loaders. During the Second World War modern emplacements were added."
The above is taken from http://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/tourism/parsons_lodge.htm
1000hrs - 1700hrs Closed Mondays
Admission: Adults 2 pounds, Children & OAPs 1 pound.
As you approach Gibraltar from Spain, a great square tower is visible on the mountainside.This is The Tower of Homage, all that remains of the original Moorish Castle complex which once went all the way down to Casemates Square.It probably dates back to the early fourteenth century and battle scars of many a siege are visible.
Moorish Castle is open to tourists, although it doesnt keep any naughty villains there anymore. You can however see what the surroundings would have been like if you had been so unfortunate to have been left there for a few years!This can be seen on your way down or up from or to The Great Siege Tunnels...incorporate them into one trip, its much easier!
These gates form part of the old walls and fortifications that Gibraltar has had for hundreds of years under the various ones who ran the place at the time.
The original gates were built in 1551 and some in 1883 these I think are part of the newer ones.
It was around here also that a pirate called Barbarossa who attacked Gibraltar and captured many of its people to sell as slaves.
Alongside the gate are sentry boxes and also this plaque which says
"God and the solider all men adore in time of trouble and no more, for when war is over and all things righted God is neglected and the old soldier slighted".
Around the city are the old walls. Here is one of the entrances which is called Prince Edward Gate, it is in the wall called Charles V. The gate was created in 1790 and it overlooks the Trafalgar Cemetary.Named after the father of Queen Victoria who was governor of Gibraltar from 1802-1820.
The Moors are Moslem Arabs who came over to Spain and Gibraltar from Africa. For a long time they possessed great amounts of land on the Iberian peninsula.
Gibraltar was actually under Moorish possession for over 700 years for most of the time between 711 and 1462 (Spain briefly reconquered Gibraltar in the early 1300's).
This castle was built during Moorish times, with the objective of being able to watch (and I guess help to control) the Straits of Gibraltar.
Apparently this castle has the tallest keep and the tallest tower of any castle in the whole of Spain and Portugal. I find this a little surprising giver the quantity and size of the castles I have seen all over Spain (one of the regions in Spain is called Castilla - meaning Castle, due to the huge number of castles that exist there).
I believe this castle is currently undergoing renovation to help repair many many years of neglect.