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The actual construction of the Lighthouse at Europa Point was begun in 1838, by the Governor Alexander Woodford, who with his own hand laid the foundation for the lighthouse, setting the first stone of what would be the Lighthouse of Europa Point into place. There was a brief ceremony there, to commemorate it, which was covered by the local newspaper of Gibraltar, but actual opening of the lighthouse didn’t take place for about three more years, when it opened in August of 1841.
The opening of the Trinity Lighthouse at Europa Point was quite a spectacle, drawing in more than 2000 people from the area who came to watch its first emission of light out over the waterways. Not surprisingly, the Lighthouse was a welcome addition to Gibraltar to the sailors both local and from a distance. The Rock of Gibraltar was well known for the difficulties that could present themselves when navigating Gibraltar Bay, and any means to light the path was welcomed.
The light house at Europa point was called Trinity Lighthouse because the Trinity House was employed to manage the maintenance that the lighthouse required over the years of its existence. Prior to that time, the only light in the area that could possibly be used to navigate came to the sailors from the chapel that was known as our Lady of Europa.
Grateful sailors left supplies of oil at Our Lady of Europa so that the lights could continue burning, in the towers as well as the windows, offering them a beacon of sorts to navigate by, making the Lady of Europa in actuality the first Lighthouse at Europa Point.
The opening of a more proper lighthouse, designed to offer better and more safe navigation of the waters made it far easier for the sailors to navigate what could be a treacherous stretch of waterway.
The Lighthouse at Europa point provided a light that was was so much brighter and far higher raised than that of the chapel, so it did of course replace that first beacon.
The Trinity Lighthouse stands about 50 metres above the sea, and the light that the lighthouse on Gibraltar emits can reportedly be seen more than twenty miles, or 27 Kilometers away from its origin.
From its opening in 1841, until about 1894, the lighthouse at Europa Point was deemed sufficient, but in 1894, improvements were made to the lighthouse that increased the power of the lighthouse and its ability to assist sailors in their navigation, changing out the single wicking and mirrors, to a burner that included eight different wicks, and a much improved lantern.
There was also a fog horn installed that would provide the ships with two short harsh blasts. In 1956, the Europa Point Lighthouse again had some positive changes to its lighting and its surface, with the installation of the more modern methods of lighting. With these additions, the lighthouse at Europa Point became more electrical in nature, and additionally the advances permitted full revolutions and had far more power and visibility than the lighthouse could previously manage.
The Lighthouse at Europa Point began as a way to save lives and property, and to safeguard the travelers of the area, and continues to do so, yet it has evolved also to be one of the main tourist attractions of Gibraltar, has offered a means to navigate the area, to the seafarers of Gibraltar for more than a hundred years. While you’re in Gibraltar, make sure that you navigate up to Europa Point and take a look at the Lighthouse of Europa Point.