Welcome back to my blog. Today I want to show you two Spanish ports which we only visited once, and very briefly at that! I only managed a short walk around the harbour of Palma de Mallorca, but I managed to take a tour in Gibraltar - an overseas British territory!
Above: Part of Palma's long stretch of harbour.
Majorca or Mallorca is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the Balearic Islands. Like the other Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Formentera and Minorca, the island is a highly popular holiday destination, particularly for tourists from the UK, Germany and the Scandinavian countries.
Above: Bellver Castle - behind the harbour and apartments - was the first circular castle in Europe, built in the 13th century.
Palma de Mallorca, is the major city and port on the island and capital city of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the south coast of the island on the Bay of Palma. As of the 2009 census, the population of the city of Palma was 401,270 - nearly half the total population of Majorca.
Above: Palma's waterfront.
Palma was founded as a Roman camp upon the remains of a Talaiotic settlement. The turbulent history of the city saw it the subject of several Vandal sackings during the fall of the Roman Empire, then re-conquered by the Byzantine, then colonised by the Moors, and finally established by James I of Aragon.
Above: La Seu, Palma's vast cathedral originally built on a previous mosque. Although construction began in 1229, it did not finish until 1601 and local architect Antoni Gaudí was drafted in during a restoration project in 1901.
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. It has an area of 2.6 square miles and a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region. At its foot is the densely populated city area, home to almost 30,000 Gibraltarians and other nationalities.
Above: Gibraltar's city area with the Spanish coastline in the background. The Ryndam is docked in the centre of the photo.
An Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. The territory was subsequently ceded to Britain "in perpetuity" under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It was an important base for the Royal Navy but today its economy is based largely on tourism, financial services, and shipping.
Above: The Gibraltar flag on the left with the Union Jack right and a combination of the two in the centre.
The sovereignty of Gibraltar is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations as Spain asserts a claim to the territory. Gibraltarians rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in a 1967 referendum and again in 2002. Under the Gibraltar constitution of 2006, Gibraltar governs its own affairs, though some powers, such as defence and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of the UK Government.
Above: An adult Barbary Macaque on the Gibraltar Rock.
Most of the Rock's upper area is covered by a nature reserve, which is home to around 230 Barbary Macaques (commonly confused with apes), the only wild monkeys found in Europe. This species is listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List and is declining. A superstition analogous to that of the ravens at the Tower of London states that if the monkeys ever leave, so will the British.
Above: A baby Barbary Macaque looking for food. Tourists are not meant to feed the creatures but many do anyway!
Also at the top of the Rock was St Michael's Cave, a natural system of caverns with impressive rock formations and even a natural concert hall inside.
Above: St Michael's Cave, taken from the top of the concert hall.
We also visited the lighthouse at Europa Point which commanded views over the Strait of Gibraltar and the Bay of Gibraltar, the Spanish mainland and, on a clear day, the African continent which we were lucky enough to see.
Above: The Europa Point lighthouse.
Above: The African continent!
Also at Europa Point is the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque which was a gift by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.
Above: The Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque with the Rock of Gibraltar in the background.
I hope you enjoyed this very brief glimpse at Mallorca and Gibraltar. Thanks for reading!