Lighthouses of Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory at the northeastern entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, which joins the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is dominated by the famous Rock of Gibraltar (see the photo below), a giant monolith 426 m (almost 1400 ft) tall. Its name comes from the Arabic Jebel Tariq, Tariq's Mountain, after Tariq ibn Ziyad, the general who led the Moslem conquest of Spain in 711 CE. More important today is the conquest of Gibraltar by British and Dutch marines during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1704. As a result of that war, Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, and it has remained in British hands ever since. Spain asserts a claim to the territory, but Gibraltarians rejected Spanish sovereignty by large majorities in 1967 and again in 2002.

The territory has a population of about 28,000 and is self-governing except for defense and foreign relations. Tourism is a major industry; Gibraltar is a popular stop for cruise ships and attracts day visitors from nearby resorts in Spain.

Except for the historic lighthouse at Europa Point, aids to navigation in Gibraltar are maintained by the Port of Gibraltar. The Europa Point Light has always been maintained by Trinity House, the English lighthouse corporation.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume D of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Gibraltar
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Leuchttürme.net - Gibraltar
Photos and historical information posted by Malte Werning.
Lighthouses in Gibraltar
Photos available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - British Territories in Europe
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Weitere europäische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.


Europa Point Light, Gibraltar, July 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Terry Hassan

Lighthouses
* Europa Point
1841 (Sir Alexander Woodford). Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); white light occulting once every 10 s; also a continuous red light and second red light on 5.8 s, off 4.2 s, displayed at a focal plane of 44 m (144 ft). 19 m (62 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with one red horizontal band in the middle of the tower. Fog horn (one blast every 20 s). Terry Hassan's photo appears above, Trabas also has a closeup photo, Wikimedia has an excellent photo by Allie Caulfield and more than 40 additional photos, C.W. Bash has a view from the sea showing a mosque that has been built near the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. Huelse has a historic postcard view in which the lighthouse is unpainted and another postcard view in which it is painted white. This historic lighthouse, typically British in design, is operated by the English lighthouse agency Trinity House. Located at the extreme southern tip of the Gibraltar peninsula, with the Mediterranean to the east, the Bahía de Algeciras to the northwest, and the Strait of Gibraltar leading southwest to the Atlantic Ocean. Very few lighthouses can claim such a dramatic and strategic location. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Trinity House. Site manager: Government of Gibraltar. ARLHS GIB-001; Admiralty D2438; NGA 4220.
Gibraltar South Mole ("A" Head)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); one quick white flash every 2 s. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal cast iron skeletal tower with gallery and central cylinder; the lantern has been replaced by a square skeletal tower with a second gallery as a means of raising the light. Lighthouse painted black. Trabas has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Gibraltar harbor, on the west side of the Rock. Site and tower closed, but there's a good view from the waterfront. Operator/site manager: Port of Gibraltar. ARLHS GIB-002; Admiralty D2442; NGA 4224.
Gibraltar North Mole ("D" Head)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); quick-flashing red light. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal cast iron skeletal tower with central cylinder; the lantern and original gallery have been replaced by a square skeletal tower with a new gallery as a means of raising the light. (This lighthouse differs from the south mole tower in that the original gallery was removed.) Lighthouse painted black. Trabas has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the extreme end of the L-shaped north breakwater of Gibraltar harbor, on the west side of the Rock. Site and tower closed, but there's a good view from the waterfront. Operator/site manager: Port of Gibraltar. ARLHS GIB-005; Admiralty D2448; NGA 4236.
Gibraltar North Mole Elbow ("E" Head)
Date unknown. Inactive since 2013. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower with a circular harbor control room, gallery, and watch room; the light is displayed from a tall skeletal extension of the original tower mounted in front of the control room. Lighthouse painted gray. Google has a satellite view. Located at the elbow of the L-shaped north breakwater of Gibraltar harbor. Site and tower closed. Operator/site manager: Port of Gibraltar. ex-Admiralty D2449.2; NGA 4240.
[Gibraltar Aerobeacon]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 405 m (1329 ft); the red light flashes the Morse Code for GB (two long flashes and a short flash, followed by one long flash and three short flashes) every 10 s. Square skeletal tower with a large platform topped by a round radar structure. Trabas has a photo. The Directory does not list aviation beacons as a rule, but this one demands an exception. Located atop the Rock of Gibraltar, it has a range of 30 nautical miles (55 km or 34.5 mi). Site and tower closed. Operator/site manager: Government of Gibraltar. Admiralty D2456; NGA 4256.


The Rock of Gibraltar from the west, with the Europa Point Light at the tip of the cape on the right. Photo courtesy of Capt. Paul Breslin, USN, commander of the USNS Altair; used by permission.

Adjoining pages: East: Eastern Andalusia | West: Western Andalusia | South: Ceuta

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Posted January 24, 2006. Checked and revised December 9, 2013. Lighthouses: 4. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.