Christmas And New Year Events

in Community Insight

Owing to the current COVID-19 situation, many traditional events of the Festive period in Gibraltar have been disrupted.

The Christmas Festival of Lights, the Christmas Attractions at John Mackintosh Square and the New Year’s Celebrations at Casemates will not be held this year in their usual format.

Gibraltar Cultural Services is working on an online offering for both the Christmas Festival of Lights and the New Year’s Celebrations. Further details will be announced in due course.

Discussions are also being held with the Cavalcade Committee to decide whether the 2021 Three Kings’ Cavalcade will be able to proceed.

These arrangements will be held under constant review in order to allow a return to normality in line with the prevalent public health guidelines, as the time approaches.

Minister for Culture, John Cortes commented, “It is indeed sad that we have had to take these decisions. But it is important that our celebrations this Festive Season don’t become a cause for regret later. We will find other ways to enjoy ourselves, responsibly, as we did on National Day, as we await better times.”

Those wanting further information should contact the Gibraltar Cultural Services Events Department on 200 67236 or

Parliament Restoration

HMGoG has announced that Parliament House on Main Street will be subject to a major restoration works. This follows the decision to take back the commercial premises on the ground floor and return the area to its original use.

The building which houses the Gibraltar Parliament was completed in 1817 as the seat of the Exchange and Commercial Library. This had been established to rival the military-only Garrison Library. The Exchange building later housed the Gibraltar Legislative Council which was established in 1950. This was followed by the Gibraltar House of Assembly when this was established under the 1969 Constitution, and it became the seat of the Gibraltar Parliament since the 2006 Constitution.

The Gibraltar Heritage Trust has warmly welcomed the news, noting that any restoration should also take into consideration as much future-proofing measures as possible so that it continues to serve the community in times ahead.

The historically significant property known as “Fortress House” has recently been put up for sale.

This building has great importance to Gibraltar, being at one time the home of Lieut. General Sir Robert Boyd, whilst he was Governor of Gibraltar between 1776 and 1777. Succeeded by General Elliott, Boyd remained in Gibraltar throughout the Great Siege and together with William Green was responsible for the works on the King’s Bastion which proved to be a critical defence during the Siege. Boyd then became Governor for a further term from 1790 to 1794. Upon his death he requested to be buried within the walls of the King’s Bastion, where he remains to this day.

Fortress House, which has fallen into a particularly poor state in recent years, is of typical Georgian architecture with strong Gibraltar vernacular features such as a verandaed corridor overlooking a courtyard garden. Although part of the original garden was reduced decades ago for the provision of a pavement, the style and proportions of this building have remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

The Gibraltar Heritage Trust has been pushing for this property to be listed for many years and encourages any interested parties to engage with them as early as possible.

Image: detail from a map of 1799 by Jean-Denis Barbie du Bocage showing ‘Maison de Gouvernour Boyd’ on Fortress House.

World Alzheimer’s Day

Mount Alvernia, the home of many residents living with Dementia – and the largest residential care home for the elderly – was floodlit in purple to mark World Alzheimer’s Day.

Bayside Wins

Bayside School has won the incredibly prestigious UK Cyber School of the Year Award.

The Chief Minister met with the teaching team behind the success that has put Gibraltar at the forefront of cybersecurity education, and has earned consistent success at the annual Cyber Centurion competition.

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said, “Wow. I am extremely proud of this fantastic achievement by a dedicated team of teachers and their talented pupils. This is excellent news for education in Gibraltar and for all our students who have a very bright future ahead.”

Enrolments at the University of Gibraltar have increased significantly from the last available statistics last year.

This year over 200 students have been welcomed to the Rock’s academic family.

The University of Gibraltar’s Vice-Chancellor said, “I am delighted to welcome our 2020/2021 cohort of students to the University of Gibraltar. It has been a unique year and seeing the excitement of so many new and returning students on campus during our welcome week highlights our purpose; the pursuit of shaping personal and professional futures through education, training and research.”

Acknowledging some of the challenges faced across the higher education sector as a whole, Professor Bachleda added, “Despite all the challenges affecting higher education institutions globally as a result of the pandemic I am pleased to say that our enrolments have more than doubled and we have the largest number of international students to date.

Local students will this year learn alongside learners from Canada, Guatemala, Germany, Nigeria, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Morocco, Spain and the USA – some of whom will be staying in the student accommodation. In order to welcome everyone on campus and settle them into life in Gibraltar, the University hosted a number of events which included beach volleyball and a walking tour of the Rock.

In the five years since its launch, the University has been developing its portfolio of courses and programmes. Learning opportunities include professional and short courses, undergraduate degrees such as BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing, BSC (Hons) Maritime Science, BBA (Hons) Bachelor of Business Administration and postgraduate programmes that include PGCE, the MBA, MSc in Marine Science and Climate Change, MA Leadership & Management and PhD research. MA Leadership & Management and PhD research.

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