Gibraltar tourist information
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of 6.843 square kilometres (2.642 sq mi), it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region. At its foot is the densely populated city area, home to almost 30,000 Gibraltarians and other nationalities.
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An Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. The territory was subsequently ceded to Britain "in perpetuity" under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It was an important base for the British Royal Navy; today its economy is based largely on tourism, financial services, and shipping.
The sovereignty of Gibraltar is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations as Spain asserts a claim to the territory. Gibraltarians resoundingly rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in a 1967 referendum and again in 2002. Under Gibraltar constitution of 2006, Gibraltar governs its own affairs, though some powers, such as defence and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of the UK Government.
The territory covers 6.843 square kilometres (2.642 sq mi) and shares a 1.2-kilometre (0.75 mi) land border with Spain. On the Spanish side lies the town of La LĂnea de la ConcepciĂłn, a municipality of the province of CĂĄdiz. The Spanish hinterland forms the comarca of Campo de Gibraltar (literally Gibraltar Countryside). The shoreline measures 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) in length. There are two coasts (sides) of Gibraltar â the East Side, which contains the settlements of Sandy Bay and Catalan Bay, and the Westside, where the vast majority of the population lives. Gibraltar has no administrative divisions but is divided into seven Major Residential Areas.
Having negligible natural resources and few natural freshwater resources, limited to natural wells in the north, until recently Gibraltar used large concrete and/or natural rock water catchments to collect rainwater. Fresh water from the boreholes is supplemented by two desalination plants: a reverse osmosis plant, constructed in a tunnel within the rock, and a multi-stage flash distillation plant at North Mole.
Gibraltar's terrain consists of the 426-metre (1,398 ft) high Rock of Gibraltar made of Jurassic limestone, and the narrow coastal lowland surrounding it. It contains many tunnelled roads, most of which are still operated by the military and closed to the general public.
Gibraltar has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate (KĂ¶ppen climate classification Csa), with mild winters and warm summers. Rain occurs mainly in winter, with summer being generally dry. Its average annual temperature is 18 Â°C (64 Â°F): about 21 Â°C (70 Â°F) during the day and 15 Â°C (59 Â°F) at night. In the coldest month, January, the temperature ranges from 11â18 Â°C (52â64 Â°F) during the day and 9â14 Â°C (48â57 Â°F) at night, the average sea temperature is 15â16 Â°C (59â61 Â°F). In the warmest month, August, the typically temperature ranges from 25â31 Â°C (77â88 Â°F) during the day, above 20 Â°C (68 Â°F) at night, the average sea temperature is 22 Â°C (72 Â°F).
The culture of Gibraltar reflects Gibraltarians' diverse origins. While there are Spanish (mostly from nearby Andalusia) and British influences, the ethnic origins of most Gibraltarians are not confined to these ethnicities. Other ethnicities include Genoese, Maltese, Portuguese, and German. A few other Gibraltar residents are Jewish of Sephardic origin, Moroccan, or Indians. British influence remains strong, with English being the language of government, commerce, education, and the media.
Gibraltar's first sovereignty referendum is celebrated annually on Gibraltar National Day (10 September). It is a public holiday, during which most Gibraltarians dress in their national colours of red and white and 30,000 similarly coloured balloons are released, to represent the people of Gibraltar. The 300th anniversary of Gibraltar's capture was celebrated in 2004 on Tercentenary Day (4 August), when in recognition of and with thanks for its long association with Gibraltar, the Royal Navy was given the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar and a human chain of Gibraltarians dressed in red, white and blue, linked hands to encircle the Rock.
The Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation operates a television and radio station on UHF, VHF and medium-wave. The radio service is also Internet-streamed. Special events and the daily news bulletin are streamed in video. The other local radio service is operated by the British Forces Broadcasting Service which also provides a limited cable television network to HM Forces. The largest and most frequently published newspaper is the Gibraltar Chronicle, Gibraltarâs oldest established daily newspaper and the worldâs second oldest English language newspaper to have been in print continuously with daily editions six days a week. Panorama is published on weekdays, and 7 Days, The New People, and Gibsport are weekly.
There exists a small amount of literary writings by native Gibraltarians. The first work of fiction was probably HĂ©ctor Licudi's 1929 novel Barbarita, written in Spanish. It is a largely autobiographical account of the adventures of a young Gibraltarian man. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, several anthologies of poetry were published by Leopoldo Sanguinetti, Albert Joseph Patron, and Alberto Pizzarello. The 1960s were largely dominated by the theatrical works of Elio Cruz and his two highly acclaimed Spanish language plays La Lola se va pĂĄ Londre and Connie con cama camera en el comedor. In the 1990s, the Gibraltarian man-of-letters Mario Arroyo published Profiles (1994), a series of bilingual meditations on love, loneliness and death. Of late there have been works by the essayist Mary Chiappe such as her volume of essays Cabbages and Kings (2006) and by academic M. G. Sanchez, author of the novel Rock Black 0â10: A Gibraltar fiction (2006).
A number of local bands play original material and covers. Local venues have begun accepting Gibraltarian bands and those from nearby Spain, resulting in a varied mix of live performances every weekend as well as some weekday nights. Musicians from Gibraltar include Charles Ramirez, the first guitarist invited to play with the Royal College of Music Orchestra, successful rock bands like Breed 77, Melon Diesel and Taxi. Albert Hammond, had top 10 hits in the UK and US, and has written many songs for international artists such as Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Julio Iglesias among many others.
The cuisine of Gibraltar is the result of the rich diversity of civilizations who held the Rock during its history; from the Berbers of North Africa to the Andalusians and British. The culinary influences include those from Malta, Genoa, Portugal and Andalusia. This marriage of tastes has given Gibraltar an eclectic mix of Arabic, Mediterranean and British cuisines. Calentita, a baked bread-like dish made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and pepper, is considered Gibraltar's national dish.
Within Gibraltar, the main form of transport is the car. Motorbikes are also very popular and there is a good modern bus service. Unlike in other British territories, traffic drives on the right, as the territory shares a land border with Spain.
There is a cable car which runs from ground level to the top of the Rock, with an intermediate station at Apesâ Den.
Restrictions on transport introduced by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco closed the land frontier in 1969 and also prohibited any air or ferry connections. In 1982, the land border was reopened. As the result of an agreement signed in CĂłrdoba on 18 September 2006 between Gibraltar, the United Kingdom and Spain, the Spanish government agreed to relax border controls at the frontier that have plagued locals for decades; in return, Britain paid increased pensions to Spanish workers who lost their jobs when Franco closed the border. Telecommunication restrictions were lifted in February 2007 and air links with Spain were restored in December 2006.
Gibraltar maintains regular flight connections to London and Manchester. Scheduled flights to Morocco and Madrid proved unsustainable due to insufficient demand.
GB Airways operated a service between Gibraltar and London and other cities for many years. The airline initially flew under the name "Gibraltar Airways". In 1989, and in anticipation of service to cities outside the UK, Gibraltar Airways changed its name to GB Airways with the belief that a new name would incur fewer political problems. As a franchise, the airline operated flights in full British Airways livery. In 2007 GB Airways was purchased by EasyJet who began operating flights under their name in April 2008 when British Airways re-introduced flights to Gibraltar under their name. Monarch Airlines operate a daily scheduled service between Gibraltar and Luton and Manchester. The Spanish national airline, Iberia, operated a daily service to Madrid which ceased due to lack of demand. In May 2009 Ăndalus LĂneas AĂ©reas opened a Spanish service which also ceased operations in March 2010. An annual return charter flight to Malta is operated by Maltese national airline, Air Malta.
Gibraltar Airport is unusual not only due to its proximity to the city centre resulting in the airport terminal being within walking distance of much of Gibraltar but also because the runway intersects Winston Churchill Avenue, the main north-south street, requiring movable barricades to close when aircraft land or depart. New roads and a tunnel, which will end the need to stop road traffic when aircraft use the runway, are planned to coincide with the building of a new airport terminal building with an originally estimated completion date of 2009, although due to delays this is now more likely to be 2011.
Motorists, and on occasion pedestrians, crossing the border with Spain have been subjected to long delays and searches by the Spanish authorities. Spain has closed the border during disputes or incidents involving the Gibraltar authorities, such as the Aurora cruise ship incident and when fishermen from the Spanish fishing vessel PiraĂ±a were arrested for illegal fishing in Gibraltar waters.
The most popular alternative airport for Gibraltar is MĂĄlaga Airport in Spain, some 120 kilometres (75 mi) to the east, which offers a wide range of destinations, second to Jerez Airport which is closer to Gibraltar.
Gibraltar receives a large number of visits from cruise ships, and the Strait of Gibraltar is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Passenger and cargo ships anchor in the Port of Gibraltar. Also, a daily ferry links Gibraltar with Tangier in Morocco. The ferry between Gibraltar and Algeciras, which had been halted in 1969 when Franco severed communications with Gibraltar, was finally reopened on 16 December 2009, served by the Spanish company Transcoma.
The closest train station is San Roque station.