A rock with history and scenery - Gibraltar is one of the British overseas territories. Above the city lies the limestone Rock of Gibraltar/Peñón de Gibraltar with its caves, tunnels and famous monkeys.

Fels von Gibraltar

About 44 kilometres east of Tarifa lies the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on an area of 6.7 square kilometres. The limestone cliff in the bay of Algeciras, which is known as one of the pillars of Herakles*, can already be seen from a distance. According to Greek mythology, Heracles was supposed to rob the cattle herd of the giant Geryon far in the west. It was the tenth task of the famous twelve labours of Heracles. He would have had to cross the Atlas mountain for this, but thanks to his superhuman strength, he smashed through it. Thus the Strait of Gibraltar was created as a link between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and also the two "pillars": the Rock of Gibraltar on the European side and the Mount Jebel Musa on the Moroccan side.

The stalactite cave of St. Michael's is worth a visit.

A large part of the 426-metre-high rock is now a nature reserve. Here you will find about 500 different plant species as well as the famous Barbary macaques. You should also visit one of the many caves, the most beautiful is the stalactite cave of St. Michael's. But also the so-called "Great Siege Tunnels" are worth a visit. They were built during the siege of Gibraltar (1779-1783) to defend the rock. From here the positions of the enemy could be attacked from a protected position.

During the Second World War the tunnel system was extended. The civilian population of Gibraltar was evacuated during this period to enable the military to defend the Mediterranean shipping routes.

The flat part of Gibraltar was extended with the rock material from the tunnels to enlarge the city and to build an airport. Here you will find the old town with its countless shops and the botanical garden.

Gibraltar can also be reached by public bus from Tarifa and Algeciras. Remember, however, that you will need your identity card to cross the border.

How Gibraltar came to be British

During the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), Gibraltar was occupied in 1704 by Anglo-Dutch troops in the name of Archduke Charles of Austria, who was to continue the Habsburg dynasty in Spain. It is true that Spain went to the French King Philip V, with whom the age of the still existing dynasty of the Bourbons began. But Gibraltar and Menorca were ceded to Great Britain in the so-called Peace of Utrecht in 1713.

Spain tried several times in vain to recapture the territory of Gibraltar. Under Franco the border was in part completely closed when the majority of Gibraltar's population voted to remain under British rule. The situation did not improve until 1982, when Spain sought EU membership. The population voted several times to remain in the United Kingdom, but in 2016 the population voted 95.9 percent against the Brexit.

*Heracles = Hercules; The Greek demigod Heracles was worshipped in Roman mythology under the Latin name Hercules. Both terms are common in English.