The Historic Centre of San Roque & Borough

Thursday, 19 June 2014

San Roque has a collection of listed historical buildings that are the oldest and best preserved in the Campo de Gibraltar area. The most important monuments in the City of Gibraltar in Exile are Saint Mary the Crowned Parish Church, the Governer's Palace and the Bullring.

San Roque (Vistas)

SAN ROQUE: A town steeped in history

The so-called "Very Noble and Most Loyal City of San Roque, Gibraltar in Exile" was officially founded in 1706. In spite of the fact that this typical white-washed town was actually established by the Spanish inhabitants of Gibraltar on 4th August 1704.

The foundation was a historical event of enormous significance: a powerful Anglo-Dutch fleet, commanded by Adiral Rooke took the Fortress of Gibraltar and hoisted the Union Jack during the Spanish War of Succession.

Five thousand proud Spanish Gibraltarians rejected the British offer to remain in the city, leaving en masse. They settled on this hill where the old Saint Roque Shrine, built in 1508, was situated, overlooking the usurped city.

The inhabitants of the Rock brought their most precious belongings with them as well as priceless relics. Examples of the legacy of Spanish Gibraltar are proven by the Standard of Gibraltar (1502), which is said to have been embroidered by Juana la Loca (Joanna the Mad), or the Royal Warrant (1502) granted by the Catholic Monarchs in which the city was given its titles, authorities and coat of arms. In addition, Saint Mary The Crowned Parish Church houses numerous religious images from the 15th until 17th century which were also brought from Gibraltar. The Rock's church records from 1556 until 1704 are preserved at the temple as well. The Historical Archives contain the municipal records from Gibraltar City Council from 1502 until 1704.


iglesia-sta-ma-coronadamodificado.jpgThe old quarter of town was declared a collection of listed historical buildings in 1975. The most notable monuments in the city are Saint Mary The Crowned Parish Church (1735), the Governor's Palace (18th century) and the Bull Ring (1853), the second oldest one in the province of Cádiz and one of the oldest ones in Andalusia. The most picturesque streets are San Felipe (ancestral homes with typical patios), San Nicolás and Historiador Montero. The most emblematic square is Plaza de Armas in which the Red Cape and Sword Technique, the modern form of bulfighting, was invented in 1720.

The city offers three museums at present: the Municipal Museum featuring the Carteia exhibit (archaeology) and Luis Ortega Brú exhibit (sculpture & iconograpy), the Bullfighting Museum and the CB Museum, the only one of its kind in Europe.

The highlight of the festival season is Holy Week, declared an Event of Andalusian Tourist Interest. The Magna Procession on Good Friday is the most eye-catching parade. This procession is unique in Spain because it is the only one held annually and includes fourteen different statues. The other key festive date is the Royal Fair in August, which comes to an end with the "Toro del Aguardiente" Bull Run, dating back to 1649.

San Roque is the Historical Centre of the Campo de Gibraltar area. Therefore, a city tour is a must on your first visit to the area. For more information consult the Tourism or Culture sections of the website.


Towns and villages of San Roque

Puente Mayorga



In 1540 a Turkish fleet raided the district of Puente Mayorga, where they destroyed 200 full wineskins from the tithe and killed 300 pigs who were grazing nearby. Even in this epoch there were small centres of population. Until the 1930s there was a customs post and it may have been the most natural port for the Bay of Gibraltar. The bridge over the Río de los Gallegos, which gives the town it's name, dates from the 18th century.


This village came into being with the Great Siege of Gibraltar. It was here that an important camp of Spanish forces was established, which would give the area its name. The first racecourse of the Andalusian Horseracing Society was built here as the Spanish soldiers had links to societies in the area. It was constructed in 1916, which coincided with the building of the duel carriageway between Campamento and La Línea. In this era there was already a golf course, polo field and greyhound park.

Estación de San Roque



The district of Estación de San Roque was officially founded in 1909 due to a resolution adopted in December of the previous year. A new centre of population had emerged because of the creation of a trainline between Algeciras and Bobadilla, the first section of which had been opened in June 1890 and went as far as Jimena. The new village began to grow up around the train station, originally called El Loro.


This old fishing village takes its name from the river, which meets the sea next to this district. The origins of Guadarranque are close by: the ancient city of Carteia, established in the second half of the 7th century B.C. in the area known today as Cerro del Prado. Diverse cultures passed through Carteia, which was the first free latin colony outside of Italy. It also played a role in the Second Punic War and the civil war between Julius Ceasar and Pompey in the final years of the Roman Republic. Strabo, Pliny the Elder and Pomponius Mela all wrote about this city, that came to have its own coins.


San Enrique


This village originates from the nearby Roman settlement of Barbésula, which was established in the lower area of the río Guadiaro. Some have interpreted the name Guadiaro as a latin version of the Greek name Chrysus combined with the Arabic prefix Wadi (wadi-aúreus). In the 4th century B.C. the river Chrysus is mentioned as a resupply post and a point of contact for trade East of the Straits of Gibraltar. In the 17th century there were many country estates in the region, such as the popular Guadiaro Inn, which was on the land of the Cortijo Grande. When English and Dutch forces occupied Gibraltar in 1704, some of those who fled the Rock came to this area. In 1709, the council of "Gibraltar en el Campo de San Roque" established the price for travel by boat along the river Guadiaro.


The poweful Larios familiy created this village, that included the Los Álamos and Las Bóvedas estates, in 1887 through the family company: the Industrial and Agricultural society of Guadiaro. In this period agricultural colonies were created that developed into small settlements. This was how San Enrique came into being. It followed the tradition of the Larios familiy and took the name of one of it's members; Enrique Crooke Larios.



taraguillamodificado.jpgThe name Taraguilla appears for the first time in 1582. It can be found on a document certifying that Constancia Rodríguez, widow of Bartolomé Carrillo, donated "the rental of Taraguilla, with it's vegetable gardens, vineyards and lands" to the Hospital of our Lady of the Orphaned in Gibraltar. One of the roman roads from the so-called "Itinerary of Antonino" may have passed through this place. This village has a history of flooding, as the Estación de San Roque area was frequently flooded before the building of the Guadarranque reservoir. In the 1960s some of the victims of the floods were given shelter in stilt houses by the board of military housing.


This area formed part of the defensive fortifications along the coast that were in use from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The watch tower here was constructed at the either the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century. It served as a shelter for travellers, cattle breeders and timber merchants from the area. In 1976 there was a canon and sentry guards. The current settlement sprung up by virtue of the concentration of fishermen in the area, who came from different parts of the coast of Málaga and the Campo de Gibraltar area.

Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro

Sotogrande Marina

pueblonuevomodificado.jpgPueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro was founded as a residential area for the workers tasked with the construction of Sotogrande in the mid-1960s. The land was granted to the Ayuntamiento by the developers of Sotogrande and was within the area earmarked for development. The first houses were built by the Caja de Ahorros de Jerez. The Gloria Fuentes state secondary school was also one of the first buildings.


The marina was opened in July 1987. From the very beginning of the Sotogrande project, there were plans to construct a marina with artificial islands. It was with this goal that Sotogrande S.A. purchased suitable land on the left bank of the river Guadiaro estuary. In the early 1990s the decision was taken to build a small lakeside town with luxury apartments nestled on islands and riverbanks, which is what can today be admired in the Marina. Currently it is one of the two most important marinas in Spain with the best facilties and services for sailors, tourists and residents alike.




In 1964 a Northamerican citizen living in the Philippines, Joseph McMicking, developed what we know today as Sotogrande. His exceptional plans came to fruition as one of the foremost luxury resorts in Europe and a world-class Golf Course, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande. A year later in 1965, his nephew Enrique Zobel opened the first Polo field of the Sotogrande Polo Club close to Guadalquitón beach, next to what is now the El Cucurucho Beach Club. At the beginiing of the 1970s, Sotogrande was an enormous and largely unpopulated estate dotted with various country houses with names such as "Paniagua", "Valderrama", "El Conchudo", "Los Cano" and "La Higuera". Upon visiting the area McMicking formulated a plan that would give future property-owners two options: a peaceful getaway and an ideal location for excursions along the Costa del Sol.


This village is located next to the Miraflores inn. Founded in 1916, it was once one of the most famous settlements in the Campo de Gibraltar area. During World War II it was frequented by German and Italian spies who were operating in the region. It was also the recreational centre for the instructors of the Academy of Provisional Sergeants of San Roque,
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