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:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.