Where do the Gibraltarians come from?
Gibraltar Culture reflects the Gibraltarians’ diverse origins. While there are both British and Spanish influences, as a result of Gibraltar’s status as a British overseas territory and the proximity to Spain, the ethnic origins of most Gibraltarians are a mixture of British, Genoese, Maltese, Portuguese and Andalusian Spaniards.
Gibraltarians of Genoese origin came to Gibraltar in the 18th century, settling at Catalan Bay, with the Portugese and Maltese following in the 19th century, to trade and work in the British military base.
The main religion is Christianity, the majority group being of the Roman Catholic Church, followed by the Church of England.
There is also a long established Jewish community along with a Hindu Indian community and a Moroccan Muslim population. In this respect Gibraltar is very unique in that several different religious communities live harmoniously together in such a small city.
Gibraltar’s culture is rich and varied, producing many talented people, including artists, musicians, dancers, poets and actors. A couple of very famous Gibraltarians are Sir Albert Hammond (song writer) and John Galliano (designer), to name a few.
The work of local artists can be found on display at The Fine Arts Gallery or at The Arts & Crafts Gallery on the upper level on Grand Casemates Square.
The Government (Ministry of Culture) also has the Exhibition Galleries on this level where various exhibitions are held throughout the year. The John Mackintosh Hall, at the far end of Main Street, also hold regular exhibitions (entrance free).
The musical world also has a great following in Gibraltar and we have many rock groups, poets and jazz musicians.
If you would like an evening out accompanied by live music, the Rock on the Rock Club is great for new upcoming Rock musicians, located at 41 Town Range and featuring live music every Friday night.
If Jazz is your thing, Thursday nights are for you as a live group will be playing at The O’Callaghan Eliott Hotel, Governor’s Parade. These evenings have proved to be very popular with locals and visitors alike.
The Royal Calpe bar in Main Street has a live musician/group every Friday evening from around 7pm to entertain all you hard workers on ‘Poet’s day!
Later in the evening on Friday and Saturday night, Casemates Square comes alive with a choice of live music at either the Lord Nelson (mostly Rock), Latinos (great for dancing the night away) and Salsa Fuego.
Ocean Village is the latest of Gibraltar’s leisure areas, with cool restaurants, a Gala Casino and The Savannah Lounge night club and restaurant. Savannah provides great dancing to recorded music and sometimes with a DJ or live group.
The Gibraltar Philharmonic Society is always organising fantastic concerts which are usually held in the elegant Governor’s House (The Convent) or in the beautiful, unique location of St Michael's Cave (upper Rock).
Food – Gibraltar Recipes
Gibraltar Culture would not be the same without a mention of the fantastic array of local dishes and recipes.
These are as diverse as the Gibraltarians, ranging from Orange marmalade, Welsh Rarebit, Chocolate sponge Cake to Torta Acerga (Spinach pie), Rosto (macaroni) and Calentina – Gibraltar’s National dish.
Calentita is a kind of moist, flat Yorkshire pudding, made from chickpea flour as opposed to wheat flour, but no eggs.
Calentita originates from the Genoese settlers to Gibraltar in the 18th Century and was consumed during the difficult siege years, when food was scarce and times lean. Calentita resembles the Italian dish Farinata.