Originally a Franciscan friary founded in the 16th century, the Convent has been the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar since 1728, only a few years after the city was ceded by Spain to England by virtue of the Treaty of Utrecht. The building’s original appearance has mostly vanished as it has been replaced by Victorian features.
The building was originally a Convent of Franciscan Friars. Since 1728 it has been the offical residence of Gibraltar's Governors. The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place here during week days.
The guard hose stands in front of the convent and is one of Gibraltar’s most notable buildings. It is adjacent to 6, Convent Place where most of the government’s offices are located (that is the building you see right behing the guard house). If someone wants to share more knowledged about this beautiful building with the shiny cannons in front, I’ll appreciate it.
The convent is one of the oldest buildings in Gibraltar. It was indeed founded as a Franciscan friary in 1531. After the capture of Gibraltar in 1720, the Franciscan monks did not leave the convent for the following years, but finally moved to Spain eight years later. Since 1728, it is the Governmor’s see. The building’s 16th century style has mostly vanished as it has been replaced by Victorian features. Today, it is the offical see of Gibraltar’s governor. The guard house in fornt of it is described separately.
A change of guards takes place several times a day, but I haven’t figured out the times for it. The dining room is said to be one of the most beautiful in the world, with the most extensive display of heraldry within the commonwealth. However, it is not accesible to the public.
As our bus returned to Main Street in downtown Gibraltar, Sue and I got off very close to the Governor's House so we could transfer to the #4 Bus for a sea-level trip around to the foot of the sheer cliffs rising near Europa Point. It so happened that our waiting area was directly in front of the very appealing Convent Guard House with its two shining brass cannons. The Royal Gibraltar Regiment in their red coats perform regular changing of the guard ceremonies there, as both a tourist attraction and as tradition to ensure that the Governor is properly protected.
The official residence of the Governor is located close-by and is in an old Franciscan friary, orginially built in 1531 and now known as The Convent. The friars continued their useage of the building until 1728, when the new British rulers finally evicted them fourteen years after their conquest of Gibraltar. From that time onward The Convent has been the official residence of the Governor but it now has more of a Georgian/Victorian era look to it because of repairs that had to be made following various bombardments!
Bus #4 was not long in arriving and we were off to see our first Barbary 'Apes' (my 'Local Customs' tip).
The Changing of the guard is a military ceremony and is carried out by the Gibraltar Regiment. This performance occurs daily on week days – several times – outside the old Convent. You can find out more from the information centre.
The old convent was completed by the Franciscan Friars in 1531 after they were given the plot of land. In 1711 it was pillaged by Barbarossa’s pirates and the chapel was used as a store house during the Great Siege of 1779 to 1783. Since 1728, the convent has been the official residence of the Governor of the territory. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the convent underwent some major renovations. There is a rumour that a Grey Lady haunts the building. She is thought to be a Franciscan Num who tried to elope with her sweetheart and was caught and walled up alive in one of the rooms.
The Convent has been the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar since 1728. It used to be a convent of Franciscan Friars which was built in 1531.
After the Friars left Gibraltar in 1704 the building was transferred to Gibraltar's Governor.
The adjacent King's Chapel was part of the Franciscan convent and later became the garrison church.
The Convent is situated near the south end of Gibraltar's Main Street.
Gibraltar's Convent is guarded by soldiers of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, which is an infantry unit of regular and volunteer soldiers.
The changing of the guard takes place several times per day on weekdays. This military ceremony is always well worth seeing.
The changing of the guard can be watched just in front of the Convent.
The Governor's House is also known as the Convent, as from 1531 it was a Franciscan Friary. It is also supposedly haunted by a lady in grey who was said to me a nun.
On pictures you may have seen the Governor's House with soliders marching. It apparently used to be that this was done each day, but when we asked in the Angry Friar the pub across the road we were told that these parades are now only held on special occasions. When we visited in August 2004 we were walking down Main Street when the soldiers in their uniform and playing their instruments came marching down the street, unfortunately we had left the camera at the hotel!