Gibraltar Tips – Visit this tiny country
Gibraltar is a tiny country – only 2.6 square miles, but manages to pack a lot of cool things!!
Why is Gibraltar so interesting?
Gibraltar Tips: Neanderthals
Gibraltar was the last hold out for Neanderthals. The youngest bones of Neanderthals have been found in the caves of Gibraltar leading scientists to think this was the last place they lived before they died out. Did they die out because they went as far south as they could without crossing water? No one really knows for sure.
Neanderthals were found in Germany and Gibraltar about the same time. But, German scientists recognized the bones as a brand new group before the Gibraltarians did. Figuring that out first gave naming rights and they chose Neanderthals (from the Neander Valley). If the Gibraltarians had recognized the new group earlier…you might be calling that bone headed guy a Gibraltarthal!!
Gibraltar Tips: The Rock of Gibraltar
Well known in the US, partly from the logo of the Prudential Financial company, this rock is made of limestone. Limestone is made of calcite which dissolves in water. Over the years dissolving calcite has left more than 100 caves.
You can visit the most popular cave – St. Micheal’s. The cave was once believed to be bottomless and connected to Africa under the water. Some thought this was the way that the Barbary Macaques arrived here.
Gibraltar Tips: Barbary Macaques
The truth is no one is really sure how the Barbary macaques arrived in Gibraltar, but their presence is important. Legend has it that if the macaques leave Gibraltar so will the British. At one point, the group of monkeys was down to only 7 and Winston Churchill brought in more…just in case there might be some truth to that myth!
These monkeys are the 2nd primate living free in Europe. Humans are the 1st. Beware the sneaky macaques! They are very, very comfortable with humans and will take snacks and food out of your pocket and purse. Best to hide all food when you are around them.
Gibraltar Tips: Small Population of Gibraltarians
The population of the entire country is only about 30,000. Contrast that to the populations of US cities: New York (8 million +), Houston (2 million plus), Oklahoma City (600,000 +). This place is small.
The official language is English, but Spanish is spoken here along with their very own dialect called Llanito: a mixture of English, Spanish, and Genoese (An italian dialect spoken in Genoa, Italy).
Gibraltar Tips: Range of Religions
Many religions are represented in this small country. Isn’t it interesting that they can all get along so well? The rest of the world could take a lesson!
A major chunk of the Gibraltar population observes the Roman Catholic religion (78.1%). Other religions are: Church of England (7%), other Christianity (3.2%), Islam (4%), Jewish (2.1%), Hinduism (1.8%), no religion (2.9%).
Gibraltar Tips: Special View
From Gibraltar you can see two bodies of water (Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean) and and two continents. Pretty cool!
Gibraltar Tips: What do people do for a living?
You would expect that Gibraltar would have some shipping industry and tourism, but here is a surprise. As much as 12 % of the workforce of Gibraltar works in online gambling. It is a good place to work! It has a very low income tax, no inheritance tax, no VAT and no capital gains tax.
Gibraltar Tips: Tunnels
Visit the maze of Great Siege tunnels carved into the rock for military defense. The oldest tunnels were started here during the American Revolution. Yes, you read that right. While the British were busy fighting with the US during the American Revolution, France and Spain decided it was a good time to try to recapture Gibraltar from the British.
Visit the WW II tunnels which basically served as an entire city. During WW II the population stayed here protected. All underground were a telephone system, water distillation plant, hospital and power generating station.
The most secret part of the tunnels was not even discovered until 1997! The Stay Behind Cave was built to hold size men to spy on the enemy if the rock fell to the Germans.
Gibraltar Tips: Walk across the airstrip
There is only one way to enter the country by land and that is to walk across the airstrip. Cool and creepy, this brings the ‘look both ways’ before crossing the street to a whole new level for parents!
Don’t miss an opportunity to visit this very small and very interesting country!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist