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:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.