Even before most other buildings were even thought of, there is one building that has stood the test of time for more than a millennium. The Moorish Castle is a unique structure on the Iberian Peninsular, built by the Marinid dynasty with comparisons having been made with the Alcazars in Spain.
The building itself - which includes the Tower of Homage and the Gate House - is an impressive structure in a key position. If its walls could speak would be able to tell us quite a lot about town life over the centuries. Refurbished over the years and containing a prison in its grounds until 2010, it is perched over Landport Gate - the traditional northern entrance to the fortress.
Its construction started around 711, after Tarik ibn Zayed and Musa ibn Nusayr had begun their conquest of Europe from around Gibraltar. In just 21 years he had taken most of the Iberian Peninsular all the way into southern France. Gibraltar was a key communications centre between the Moorish settlements of Granada and North Africa from where the empire emanated.
As one of the oldest man-made Gibraltar attractions, it is the highest tower from the Moorish period in the Iberian Peninsular. Tours in Gibraltar would not be complete without this historic monument to an empire which was mathematically superior to a post-Roman Iberia.
It was built from ‘tapia’, a mixture of lime and red sand, with both limestone and bricks further hardening its composition. That it still stands today is even more remarkable, although it was rebuilt in the 14th century after just over 20 years when the Spanish took it back. It then went on to survive the British onslaught on Gibraltar and the 14 sieges which the Spanish brought to bear on the city.
Further down from the Tower of Homage in Casemates Square, a galley-house that was connected to the Moorish Castle was unearthed in recent excavations. This would have been part of a quay where Moorish ships would be serviced after raids on nearby areas. Although its importance diminished with the building of the Old Mole by the Spanish and the British its remains can still be seen. Relive the world from Moorish times in our private tours in Gibraltar when you visit the British territory.