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 Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.