B2 High-Intermediate UK 248 Folder Collection
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Gibraltar is a small peninsula with an epic profile
that lies at the south of Spain.
Just a 3-hour flight from London,
it is a tiny slice of the British Empire
with a heroic colonial history and 300 days of sunshine each year.
Although it covers less than 3 square miles,
Gibraltar's strategic location has made it one of the most fought over places in Europe.
For centuries, it has withstood political manoeuvring,
sieges and battles,
and today with its red phone boxes, Union Jacks and high street shops,
Gibraltar staunchly stands as a small pocket of England
in the heart of the Mediterranean.
No matter where you go here,
the Rock of Gibraltar looms large.
Take the cable car right to the top of this 1,400 foot high limestone ridge
and enjoy the spectacular views; south,
across the Strait of Gibraltar to the African coastline,
and north to Spain.
According to legend, this is where Hercules separated Europe from Africa
and the cliffs on each side were once known as the Pillars of Hercules.
If the Rock of Gibraltar is famous around the world,
so are its residents,
the Barbary Macaques that have lived here for centuries.
Visitors flock here to watch the antics of the only population of wild monkeys in Europe.
Be warned though, they can be light fingered
if they think there are treats to be enjoyed.
It is said that, as long as the monkeys remain on the rock,
so will the British.
It's a legend, born during one of the longest sieges in history
when the French and Spanish tried unsuccessfully to take Gibraltar by force
during four bloody years in the 18th century.
The way locals tell it,
at least one surprise attack during the siege was thwarted by the monkeys
who alerted the night watch to the invaders with their commotion.
Take a tour through the great siege tunnels built during this time.
They remain one of the most impressive feats of military engineering
and helped the English to a seemingly impossible victory.
Using only hand tools and gunpowder,
18 men dug this 82 foot tunnel in less than 5 weeks to provide access to the rock's north face.
From this position, they were able to fire onto enemy lines and hold off the invaders.
Discover more stories of battle and bravery with a tour of the Military Heritage Centre,
a former artillery battery near the entrance to the tunnels.
Here, you'll find relics from the great siege,
as well as a Memorial Chamber which pays tribute
to all those who gave their lives in defence of Gibraltar over the centuries.
During the second world war,
the Mediterranean became a main theatre of war and Gibraltar again became a key target.
To withstand the attacks,
almost all the civilians were evacuated and more than 30 more miles of tunnels were built,
creating an underground city beneath the rock.
Hike to the Moorish Castle,
a medieval fortification which is one of the most recognised features of the rock.
The Union Jack you'll see flying from the tower
was first raised in 1704 and has flown proudly ever since.
A short walk downhill is St Michael's Cave,
a network of limestone caves that has fascinated visitors since roman times.
Carved by thousands of years of rainwater,
this cave once believed to be bottomless,
is open to visitors and is a dramatic backdrop for concerts, ballets and theatre performances.
For another dramatic backdrop, visit the very southern tip of Gibraltar.
Here, you'll find the Europa Point Lighthouse with its classically British design,
as well as the Ibrahim-Al-Ibrahim Mosque,
one of the largest mosques in a non-muslim country.
Gibraltar's cultural blend is truly unique
and nowhere is this more evident than along Main Street.
Almost every building here was destroyed during the great siege
and it has been rebuilt over the centuries,
creating a streetscape like no other.
Stroll to the northern end to Grand Casemates Square
and the Old Town which dates back to medieval times.
Once this was the site of hangings,
but today, it is a thriving hub of pubs, bars and restaurants
and a great place to relax with a pint of lager.
From English pints to Spanish paella,
historic battles to cheeky monkeys,
Gibraltar's magic lies in its unexpected mix of the familiar and the exotic
a small taste of England right in the heart of the Mediterranean.
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(Gibraltar Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia)

248 Folder Collection
Eric Wang published on May 3, 2020
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