Europa Point Lighthouse

Until the opening of Europa Point Lighthouse in 1841, the only light to assist sailors in their nighttime navigation came from the lights of a small chapel built on Europa Point and known as Our Lady of Europa. So vital was this fortunate navigational aid that sailors would donate oil to the chapel in order for the lights to be kept continually burning during the nights. First named Trinity Lighthouse and often referred to as the lighthouse at Europa Point, construction ordered by the then Governor of Gibraltar Alexander Woodford began in 1838 and received much fanfare during its opening ceremony which attracted thousands of spectators.

Europa Point Lighthouse
Source: Flickr / Chris Juden

Europa Point Lighthouse

Management and maintenance of the lighthouse was the responsibility of Trinity House, hence the original name, and the fantastic beam it produced was much welcomed by sailors far and wide, although they never forgot the kindness afforded them by the nuns occupying Our Lady of Europa Chapel. Europa Point Lighthouse continued lighting the way for countless ships navigating the difficulties of Gibraltar Bay until in the mid 1890's when it underwent an upgrade to replace the single wick system with eight wicks, a larger lantern and a fog horn.

You could say it was ‘plain sailing' from that point on but technology improves constantly and in 1956 Europa Point Lighthouse was again upgraded to a more efficient electrical system giving it much greater ‘candlepower' and a fully revolving lantern. Such was the power of the new system, on clear nights the light beam could be seen from up to 20 miles away.

 

Nearby Attractions

With the lighthouse being on the far point of Gibraltar it's a good idea to include other nearby attractions with a visit to the area. These include the Shrine of Our Lady Europa, Sikorski Memorial and the Mosque of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, also known by the slightly shorter name Ibrahim al Ibrahim Mosque, the most southerly mosque in Europe. There is also a small museum and for refreshments and snacks, Bar Europa Point Express.

Gibraltar's Moorish Castle

Throughout Gibraltar's turbulent past and occupation by various nations, the importance of securing and protecting the ‘Rock' was vital and led to the construction of Gibraltar's Moorish Castle.