Gibraltar Moorish Castle

Rock Of Gibraltar aerial view

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The Moorish Castle was originally a fortified complex of gates and walls dating back to 1068 AD. Most can still be seen amongst the modern housing built in and around the walls. The Tower of Homage sits at the highest point in the fortifications and an impressive Gatehouse is tucked away amongst the modern buildings further down.

The Moorish invasion of Europe started from Gibraltar in 711, a conquest lead by Tarik Ibn Ziyad. The Moorish Castle Complex is made up of various buildings, gates, fortified walls and its most dominant feature, The Tower of Homage.

The Moorish Castle Tower of Homage has a dominant position overlooking the bay of Gibraltar. This can be fully appreciated in the panorama opposite.

In the early 14th Century The Castle was rebuilt to its present form. It, therefore, stands on the actual site of the very first Moorish fortification ever constructed in Europe.

The importance of Gibraltar to both Muslims and Christians lies in the fact that the Moorish invasion and occupation of Europe started from Gibraltar in 711 and, through its final recapture by Spain in 1462, Moorish rule was gradually undermined till, with the fall of Granada in 1492, the Moorish occupation of Europe came to an end.

The Moorish conquest of Spain was led by Tarik Ibn Ziyad and Musa ibn Nasayr. Gibraltar thus became the steppingstone to the conquest of Spain and part of France. This spectacular feat of arms took a mere twenty-two years, no mean task considering the distances involved, the state of the terrain at the time and the fact that mechanical power had not yet been invented.

Situated at 100m above sea level and standing at a height of 23 metres, with a footprint of 320 sq metres the Tower of Homage, also known as the Calahorra, is the largest tower of its type in the whole of AI- Andalus – the area of Iberia which was controlled by Islam for almost 800 years.

The tower standing today is the result of centuries of remodelling, repair and extensions made necessary by the sieges it has witnessed and the various developments in siege technologies it withstood.

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