Gibraltar’s Architecture: A Captivating Visual Time Capsule
20 October 2023
When you visit the Rock, one of the first things you’ll notice is the way history and architecture intertwine seamlessly. Over thousands of years, Gibraltar has seen numerous changes in culture and design, influenced by the inhabitants of the time. From the neolithic Gorham’s Cave Complex through to modern high-rise offices and apartments on reclaimed land, the architecture in-between gives a fascinating insight into those who have made the Rock what it is today.
The Tower of Homage
Often mistakenly called the Moorish Castle, the Tower of Homage is a corner fortress on the old city walls. Built in the 14th century, the tower and walls highlight the Moorish architecture with massive stone walls, characteristic battlements, and horseshoe arches. All characteristics of the architectural style of an era gone by.
The Garrison Library
Built in the early 18th century, the library today is still a treasure of knowledge and history. This excellent example of Georgian architecture is a small oasis in the heart of Gibraltar’s old town. Over the last two centuries, the library has played a significant role in the preservation of the Rock’s intellectual heritage and is a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.
Irish Town Police Station
A short walk down from the library will lead you to Irish Town and the old Police Station, a charming example of Victorian architecture. Constructed in the mid-19th century the red bricked building stands proud as a display of the British influence on local architecture. The ornate details and imposing columns are a stark contrast to the earlier Moorish and Georgian styles. The station stands as a reminder of the Rock’s colonial past alongside the mainly Mediterranean style housing which dominates the town centre.
Main Street and Piazzas
The main shopping centre of Gibraltar is Main Street, running north to south in a straight line. From Casemates Square at the northern end with the old Moorish walls you can wander up through the tourist bustle amongst elegant facades, wrought iron balconies and wooden shutters – a hallmark of Andalusian architecture. Further along you’ll find the Piazza, the central square where the local parliament sits in the old Guard House, yet another testament to the colonial and military history of the Rock.
The Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned
Gibraltar is not only multicultural, today the local population is made up of people from all religions and beliefs who live together in perfect harmony. The main Catholic cathedral halfway up Main Street is a beautiful example of a combination of Gothic and Moorish influence. Originally built during the late 15th century, over the years the cathedral has undergone various renovations and additions. Today intricate stained-glass windows, ornate altars and a serene atmosphere invite contemplation and peace from the bustle of business and tourism outside its high arched entrance.
A captivating journey through time, Gibraltar’s architecture will give you a glimpse of a rich and diverse history, just in the old town alone you’ll find Moorish, Gothic, Georgian, Victorian and Andalucian architectural influence, to name a few. Each building tells a story of the people and cultures that have left their mark on this incredible city. A visit to these architectural time capsules is a must for anyone seeking to uncover the layers of history that make Gibraltar truly unique.