Shrine of Our Lady Europe, Gibraltar
In 1309 the ancient mosque at the southernmost tip of the Rock into a Christian Shrine and it is believed that a statue of Our Lady, sculptured in limestone, was venerated here. In 1462, Henry IV, grandson of Ferdinand IV, recaptured Gibraltar and restored the devotion initiated by Ferdinand to Our Lady of Europe in 1309. Since the original stone statue could not be found, he commissioned a new one, this time depicting the Virgin sitting on a chair holding the Child Jesus. This statue was to be venerated at the Shrine. The Shrine was ransacked by Barbarossa’s Turkish pirates in September 1540 and badly mutilated the statue of Our Lady of Europe. It was eventually restored in Seville and brought back to the Shrine. In 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Anglo-Dutch troops captured Gibraltar. The civilian population, once again left Gibraltar, taking with them the statue of Our Lady which had once again been mutilated. It was not until 1864 that the statue was returned to Gibraltar, thanks to the efforts of Bishop Scandella, after 160 years ‘in exile’ in Algeciras, Spain. Visit Gibraltar.
Gibraltar Epic Route © Monika Newbound