Gibraltar Culture, Heritage and History..
Ministry of Culture
Gibraltar’s main cultural events are organised by the Ministry of Culture, although there are countless others, such as concerts, plays and exhibitions, which are organised by other entities, including musicians, artists and dance groups.
The main aims of the ministry are:
Gibraltar Cultural Services (GCS)
GCS works on behalf of the Ministry of Culture for HM Government of Gibraltar, organising cultural events and managing the numerous cultural facilities and premises in Gibraltar.
Flora & fauna
The rich diversity of nature found in Gibraltar draws many visitors every year. High on the Rock live its most famous residents, the friendly, charming and inquisitive Barbary apes, Europe’s only wild primates that have lived here for centuries. Legend holds that when the apes leave, Gibraltar will cease to be British.
Gibraltar is home to a wealth of plant life; palms and jacaranda, lavender and jasmine, clematis, honeysuckle, geraniums and bougainvillea live side by side with rarer species,such as Gibraltar Candy-tuft and Gibraltar Sea Lavender.
In the seas around Gibraltar the diversity of life is yet more bountiful. Sailing into the bay, one will find their boat trailed by flying fish and leaping dolphins. Beneath the waves, divers will find reefs and wrecks teeming with colourful and exotic sea-life.
Every spring and autumn, the Rock becomes a staging post for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds as they travel between Northern Europe and in Africa. Resident species such as peregrine falcons, blue rock thrush and Barbary partridge are joined by owls and eagles, harriers and hoopoes, buzzards and black kites.
Great efforts are made to preserve the beauty of the Rock’s natural environment for future visitors. Part of the upper rock has been designated as a nature reserve and work is underway to transform Gibraltar’s famous public park, the Alameda Gardens, into a new, world-class botanical garden.
Situated at latitude 36º07’N and longitude 05º21, Gibraltar juts out steeply from the low-lying Spanish territory to which it is connected by a sandy isthmus, a mile long and half a mile wide. Five miles east, across the Bay of Gibraltar,lies the Spanish port of Algeciras and 20 miles south,across the Strait, is northern Africa. The Mediterranean falls to the East and it is approximately 1,400 miles to Britain, by sea.
The Rock runs a length of 3 miles, from north to south and is 3/4 mile wide. Its total area is 2 1/4 square miles, though land increased by reclamation is not reflected in this measurement. The top of the Rock, 1,396ft high, is a sharp, knife-ridge extending for about a mile and a half from the north escarpment, which is virtually inaccessible.The ridge slopes gradually south for about a mile, terminating at the southern extremity, Europa Point, in perpendicular cliffs about 100ft high. The whole upper length of the eastern face is inaccessible and the steep upper half of the western slopes is uninhabited,having been designated a nature reserve.
Geologically, Gibraltar can be divided into two main parts. To the north is a plain, consisting of sand 30ft deep, atop 4ft of clay and a bed of coarse sand 2 1/4 ft thick and limestone. The second part is a mass of the Rock to the south, consisting of compact Jurassic limestone, overlaid with dark shale, limestone breccias or sands.
Nowadays Gibraltar primarily sources water from efficient desalination and purification of water, at facilities located at the North Mole. Gibraltar’s climate is temperate. During winter months, the prevailing winds are from the west or north-west and occasionally south-west. Snow or frost is extremely rare. The mean minimum and maximum temperatures during this period are 13ºC and 18ºC respectively. In summer the prevailing wind is from the east; a warm breeze, laden with moisture, known as the ‘Levanter’, strikes the eastern face of the Rock, condenses in the sky above it and causes a cold pall to hang over the city and bay. During this period the climate is humid.
The mean minimum and maximum temperatures in the summer are 13ºC and 30ºC respectively. Vegetation in Gibraltar is rich and varied, from its upper slopes to the Alameda Gardens. Over 600 species of plants, exclusive of ferns, mosses and lichens are known to grow on the Rock, six of them, including the Gibraltar candy-tuft, are found nowhere else in Europe. Plant life is at its most impressive between October and May. The hot sun and scant rainfall give the Rock a somewhat barren appearance during the summer months. Over 270 species of wild birds have been recorded in here, some are resident on the Rock, such as the Barbary partridge which is found nowhere else inmainland Europe. The majority are migrants that congregate at the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Europe from Africa. Among these, the best known and most spectacular are the migrations of 15 species of bird of prey and the crossing of 50,000 white storks.
The Rock holds many diverse populations including bats, reptiles, insects and marine life, some of which are of regional interest. Broadly speaking, the human population is concentrated on the western side of the Rock, resulting in the densely populated town area and in the slightly more spacious residential estates to the north of the town. The large harbour reclamation (over 30,000 sq metres) has permitted further large-scale housing projects. On the east side of the Rock is Catalan Bay, a small village, with some 350 inhabitants. The natural features of Gibraltar preclude all possibility of agriculture or major industrial production. It is, however,impeccably suited for the development of a flourishing tourist trade.
Ministry for Heritage
In 2014 the Ministry of Sports, Culture, Heritage and Youth expanded its Heritage Office to include the services of an archaeologist to advice the Government of Gibraltar on heritage and conservation matters as the new heritage filter. In particular this new post will assess any archaeological, heritage and conservation issues arising from the Building Applications submitted to the Development Planning Commission [DPC], heritage conditions on new tenders and developments, Desk-Based Assessments [DBA’s], archaeological excavations and the planning of developer funded archaeology projects in the city of Gibraltar.
Throughout the ages, the Rock of Gibraltar has cast a powerful first impression on those that have seen it. Whether approaching by land, sea or air, the Rock looms stark and isolated as it towers above the region. At the neck of the Strait of Gibraltar, it is the final signpost before the Mediterranean joins the Atlantic and thus has been an important site throughout European history.
When the African Plate collided with Europe some 55 million years ago, the prehistoric sea that existed in the basin of the Mediterranean dwindled and dried up.Then 5 million years ago, the Atlantic waters burst through the Strait of Gibraltar and created the Mediterranean as we know it and isolating the Rock.
940 BC to 1500 AD