Gibraltar Nearby Spain

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La Linea (A)
The remains of the fortified 18th century Spanish Line and WW2 Bunkers can be visited (marked A on map). The Spanish Line saw action during the many sieges of Gibraltar and is inextricably linked with Gibraltar’s own history and heritage. La Linea is a relatively new town whose existence stems back to 1704 when the Spanish lost Gibraltar to an Anglo-Dutch fleet and a permanent garrison town was established in the region. The town grew from a hamlet to its present size and was eventually named La Linea de la Conception because the Immaculate Conception was the Spanish Army’s patron saint.

Carteia (B)

Adjacent to the village of Gadarranque are the impressive Roman ruins of the ancient city of Carteia, these cover an area of almost one square kilometre, the site is open to visitors during several days per week. With the oil refinery on three sides it is a surreal setting, however, this site is one of Spain’s most valuable archaeological finds with Forum, Baths, Temple, Theatre and much more, archaeologists are still excavating on a daily basis. In the 7th century BC, the Phoenicians established themselves in the Cerro del Prado, situated some 2 kilometres to the northwest of Carteia. Three centuries later, the descendants of their principal colony, the people of North African Carthage (Carthaginians or Punics), founded what we know today as Carteia. When Rome defeated Carthage in the so-called Punic Wars, 3rd century BC, the Romans established themselves in the city and significantly enlarged it.

San Roque

The beautiful hilltop town of San Roque is a few kilometres inland from the coast overlooking the massive oil refinery. It has been declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument thanks to its old city centre in typical Andalucian style where steep streets pass whitewashed houses with flowers dripping from balconies. The town is located in a superb natural setting, surrounded by cork and eucalyptus forests. It grew to its present size after the loss of Gibraltar when the previous inhabitants of Gibraltar declined the offer to continue living on the rock and migrated to San Roque.

Los Barrios

As with neighbouring San Roque, Los Barrios began to grow to its current size of 20,000 inhabitants when people relocated here from Gibraltar in the 18th century. Similarly, the town is surrounded by eucalyptus, wild olive and cork trees and there are some interesting natural caves in the area formed by erosion as well as caves containing important prehistoric paintings. Los Barrios is 9km from Algeciras on the A381 dual carriageway which runs off the main N340 coastal road.

Castellar de la Frontera

This fascinating hilltop village is still surrounded by the walls of an excellently preserved Moorish fortress, a village within a castle. It is located in a national park next to a reservoir formed by the River Guadarranque in incredibly picturesque surroundings. The village was abandoned in the 1970’s and its inhabitants relocated to nearby Nuevo Castellar. The derelict state of the village that forced the original inhabitants out attracted a number of German hippies who colonised the village, taking over the empty houses inside and building makeshift dwellings outside the walls. Local Spaniards did not take kindly to this and offensive, anti-German graffiti began appearing on the walls. Today, the village has been repopulated. There is a German run bar in the town which offers breathtaking views over the countryside towards Gibraltar and on clear days, you can see the African coast to the south and the white villages of the mountains near Malaga to the north. Castellar is in an isolated location, at the end of a mountain road that runs of the A368. It is 16km from Castellar to the main N340 road and 25km to Gibraltar or Algeciras.

Jimena de la Frontera

A Roman hilltop village, north of Castellar. It has the large impressive ruins of a Moorish castle which are open to the public. Jimena has been declared a Monumental Site due to its beautiful natural settings and its well preserved state. Surrounded by fine countryside, huge cork oak forests and fruit orchards. The tiny road that leads north from Jimena crosses the national park through wild, mountainous countryside. 14km north, the cave of Laja Alta can be found where prehistoric paintings dating to 1000BC have been discovered, but they are notoriously difficult to reach. Jimena is fairly isolated, being some 40km from the main N340 coastal road. The roads north of Jimena are all small mountain roads.

Tarifa

This little fishing town was the first point of the Moorish invasion of Southern Spain in AD711. In 1295 Guzman El Bueno defended the town against the invading Moors and became the focal point of local legend. The narrow cobbled streets, tumbling jasmine and beautiful wrought-iron rejas make Tarifa old town a place of fascination and beauty. The original castellated city walls of this ancient town are tightly woven into the fabric of the whitewashed houses. However, much of what we see today was constructed in the 18th Century. The 8th Century Jerez Gate has been recently restored and the magnificent church of San Mateo in the centre and nearby in Calle de los Azogues are buildings which date back to the 16th and 17th century. The Arab Castle of Guzman the Bueno is open to visitors. It was built in 960 AD on the orders of Caliph Abderraman III. The irregular oblong architecture has Roman influence giving rise to the theory that it was built on the remains of a Roman fort. To the east two high towers protect the entrance from the Arab town.

Close to Tarifa is the ‘Necropolis de los Algarbes’ which is the most important Bronze Age site in the province of Cadiz and covers an area of 2 hectares, the site includes the ‘Cueva del Moro’ which is without doubt the most important cave in Tarifa. The palaeolithic carvings of this cave, discovered in Spring 1995 by Lothar Bergmann, originate from the Solutrean civilisation which dates back more than 18,000 years. Large figures, mostly of equine animals are carved into the rock. These findings are the testimony of Europe’s most southern extension of the palaeolithic art.

Bolonia

Famous for its Roman ruins, those of Baelo Claudia which are open to visitors. They belong to an ancient Roman settlement and are situated 15km west of Tarifa. Baelo Claudia was undoubtedly the most important city in the framework of Andalusian Rome, under the jurisdiction of Claudius Ceasar. It was erected at the end of the second century BC and it was composed of the boundary walls, a public square, the law court, capitol (the temple of Juno, Jupiter and Minerva and that of the Egyptian goddess Isis), the local senate, the shops (Tabernae), the market (macellum), the baths and the theatre. The city water was supplied by way of three aqueducts. Life in these cities reached the height of its splendour during the first century BC and second century AD. Their fall began to take place during the third century AD and was worsened by the effects of a huge seaquake and the raids by Mauritanian hordes and dominantly Germanic pirates. By the sixth century AD it was abandoned. In this enclave, the flow of economy was centred on the exploitation of fisheries, the fabrication of conserved foods and salts, and the commerce between ships that crossed the strait between the Pillars of Hercules. The famous sauce Garum Gaditano also used to be prepared here. The part of the ruins just beside the beach used to be the industrial quarter.

Algeciras

This is one of the busiest ports in Europe. A small city which is the main point of contact for Europe with Africa. Located on the Bay of Algeciras which is sheltered from the sea by the Rock of Gibraltar and Carnero Point, Algeciras lies on a natural harbour and ferries run regularly from here to Tangier and Ceuta in Morocco. The town was founded by the Romans and later occupied by the Moors, although little of its history remains and today it is a thriving industrial and commercial centre consisting mostly of 19th ad 20th century buildings. What does remain of the old town is the San Isidro Quarter where traditional Andalucian style houses with whitewashed facades and narrow streets can be seen. The name of the town derives from the Arabic Al-jezirah, meaning “Green Island”. It was used as a landing point for Muslim armies for centuries until it was destroyed and abandoned in the 14th century. It became an important port again in the early 20th century. Although the port is very industrialised, the Bay of Algeciras itself is quite beautiful and the mountains of Morocco can be seen from the bay. As well as ferry links to Africa, Algeciras is also linked to Barcelona, Italy, Portugal and South America via the sea, giving the town an international atmosphere. Algeciras has a direct rail link to Madrid, the journey to Jimena and beyond is regarded as one of the most picturesque in Spain.

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