Great Siege Tunnels

Gibraltar, United Kingdom

The Great Siege Tunnels in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, also known as the Upper Galleries, are a series of tunnels inside the northern end of the Rock of Gibraltar. They were dug out from the solid limestone by the British during the Great Siege of Gibraltar of the late 18th century.

The Great Siege of Gibraltar was an attempt by France and Spain to capture Gibraltar from Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. Lasting from July 1779 to February 1783, it was the fourteenth and final siege of Gibraltar.

The impetus for the construction of the tunnels came from the garrison's need to cover a blind angle on the north-east side of the Rock. The only solution found to cover that angle was via a gun mounted on a spur of rock known as The Notch. There was no possibility of building a path there due to the vertical cliff face, so Sergeant-Major Henry Ince of the Military Artificers suggested digging a tunnel to reach it. His plan was approved and construction work began on May 1782.

The entrance to the Upper Galleries is dominated by a Victorian 64-pounder cannon.  There are other Victorian guns in the Galleries dating back to 1850, as well as an original 18th century cannon.

During the Second World War, the Royal Engineers including a Canadian contingent, achieved wonderful feats of engineering, adding some 52km of tunnels.

The Great Siege Tunnels can today be accessed as part of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.



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Gibraltar, United Kingdom
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Founded: 1782
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


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User Reviews

Michel Puconja (5 months ago)
I had the incredible opportunity to explore the Great Siege Tunnels in Gibraltar, and it was nothing short of a mesmerizing experience. These tunnels, carved into the rock during the 18th century, are a testament to human ingenuity and determination. The historical significance of this site is awe-inspiring. Walking through the labyrinthine tunnels, I couldn't help but imagine the bravery and resourcefulness of the soldiers who built and defended them during the Great Siege of Gibraltar. The audio-guided tour provided a wealth of information, making the history come alive with vivid details. The views from the tunnels overlooking the bay are breathtaking. It's the perfect spot to capture some stunning photographs and take in the strategic importance of Gibraltar throughout history. The staff were knowledgeable and friendly, adding to the overall experience. I highly recommend visiting the Great Siege Tunnels to anyone interested in history, architecture, or simply seeking an unforgettable adventure. It's a historical gem that shouldn't be missed when in Gibraltar.
Sheryl M (7 months ago)
Fascinating! Enjoyed the exhibits with informative signage along tunnel walls. Learned a lot about Gibraltar history and the tunnel construction in the 1700s. Great views from the cannon ports. Long walk inside the caves. Path was well lit. Admission is included with the Nature Preserve ticket.
Ms_Eternal _Traveller. (10 months ago)
Enjoyable- lots of walking up and down hill. About 20 mins from city center up a steep hill. Not well sign posted. The pass to St Michael's Cave let's you into the tunnels and also the Moorish castle
Marshall Williams (11 months ago)
The tunnels are super cool! My kids loved being in the tunnels and going into all the side channels. The climb down is pretty easy but it is steep coming back out.
Ingo Mrosewski (11 months ago)
Highly recommend for history buffs ?. The Tunnels were very important to Gibraltar's history. There are many chambers, signs, audio stations, original cannons, and more to explore. Entry is included in the Upper Nature Reserve fee.
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