For over six centuries people approaching Gibraltar from the mainland have been impressed with the sight of a great square tower right up on the hillside. This ancient fortress last rebuilt in 1333 is situated on the north-western slope. Its Tower of Homage dominates the only land entrance to Gibraltar.
The Moorish Castle, as it is commonly known, at one time dominated the surrounding area. The walls of the old castle enclosed a considerable area, reaching almost to the sea, where even today the Moorish Pier is still visible.
Gibraltar - Gebel Tarik or Tarik’s Hill - owes its name to Tarik-ibn-Zeyad. Tarik was Musa-ibn-Nosseyers freedman and commander of the 12,000 Arab conquerors who landed at this district around the 27th April 711 (5 Rayab 92 ).
This very able leader achieved the Arab conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, overrunning a large portion of it in two years - an invasion, which led to Arab domination of part of Europe for over seven centuries.
His successors soon built the first fortifications somewhere near the site of the present tower.
This was replaced about 1160 by a larger castle which gave greater protection to the town which had grown up nearby.
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