Thursday, January 15, 2009
Known as the the 'Rock', Gibraltar contains 143 caves, over 48km (30 miles) of road and miles of tunnels. From rock touring, to sailing, diving, fishing and birdwatching, visitors will be pleasantly surprised with the diverse range of attractions on offer in Gibraltar.Located at the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, where Europe meets Africa, visitors are also assured of breathtaking scenery, wildlife and architecture, that captures the unique flavour of this Mediterranean city. As a VAT-free jurisdiction, Gibraltar's popularity with visitors is further enhanced by its value added shopping experience in famed Main Street. Gibraltar derives from Gibel Tariq (Tariq’s Mountain) which is named after Tariq Ibn Zeyad who led the eighth-century conquest of Spain by a combined force of Arabs and Berbers crossing from Africa. Gibraltar’s unusual status was not acquired until almost 1,000 years later, long after the Islamic invaders had been driven out by the Spanish, as a consequence of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht which brought to an end the War of the Spanish Succession and gave the territory to Britain.The British interpretation of the treaty moreover holds that the territory was ceded to them indefinitely. The presence of a foreign-owned mini-state on the Spanish mainland has been an irritant to Anglo-Spanish relations ever since.In response to the latest round of talks between London and Madrid which began in 2001 and explored in detail possible joint sovereignty models, the Gibraltar government led by Peter Caruana organised a referendum in November 2002 to assess the popular mood. As expected, it returned a huge majority in favour of the status quo.