Europa Point is the southernmost point of Gibraltar. On a clear day, views of North Africa can be seen across the Strait of Gibraltar including Ceuta and the Rif Mountains of Morocco; as well as the Bay of Gibraltar and the Spanish towns along its shores.
There are five notable buildings, Harding's Battery, the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque, the Roman Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Europe, the Europa Point Lighthouse and the Nun's Well. Europa Point is also the location of Gibraltar's only dedicated cricket oval where the Gibraltar national cricket team play and since 2013 Europa Point has been the location of the Sikorski Memorial.
Europa has been the site of Spanish and Moorish fortifications as well as those constructed by the British which added to the cliffs which were part of Gibraltar's natural defences. Additions included walls, the scarping of the rocks to remove foot and handholds and a large number of batteries supported by a local barracks. Today, Harding's Battery is central to the land at the end of the point. Built in the 19th century, this battery shows the scale of guns that could fire 800 pound projectiles over a foot in diameter over to the other side of the Straits of Gibraltar. The Europa Sunken Magazine that contained this ammunition is now a visitor centre.
The Europa Point Lighthouse was built by Governor Sir Alexander Woodford between 1838 and 1841. It was fully automated in 1994. It is the southernmost lighthouse for which Trinity House is responsible, and the only one outside the UK.
The mosque, also known as the King Fahd bin Abdulaziz al-Saud Mosque, was a gift from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and took two years to build at a cost of around £5 million. It was officially inaugurated in 1997.
On 20 August 1462, on St. Bernard of Clairvaux's feastday, the Spaniards under Don Rodrigo Ponce de León, recaptured Gibraltar from the Moors. They found a little mosque at Europa Point and converted it into a Christian shrine in honour of Our Lady as Patroness of Europe, with devout intention of consecrating to God, through Mary, the whole continent, from a place of prayer and worship at its southernmost point.
They built a large chapel at right angles to the mosque's east wall and the whole area became the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe. A statue of the Virgin and Child was installed in this shrine. The statue was quite small, carved in wood and polychromed in royal red, blue and gold. The shrine prospered in fame and popularity, for well over two centuries. Ships passing through the Strait saluted Our Lady as they passed Europa Point and mariners often came ashore with gifts to the shrine. Provisions were made by them for a constant supply of oil so that a light could be kept burning not only in front of the image but also in the tower.
Nun's Well is an old underground water store opposite the end of the Keightley Way Tunnel. The water was used in the nineteenth century to make beer. In 1988 the buildings were repaired in order that it could be used by visitors to Gibraltar.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.