Opening remarks by Minister
In 2016, after a six-year period of hard work, the Gorham’s Cave Complex was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is of particular importance to me as it is a part of my own personal heritage. It is a site which I visited over forty years ago in search of crag martins, birds which use the caves as a winter roost and which have done so for millennia. How wonderful that the site’s natural, as well as archaeological, values are now recognized as part of humanity’s patrimony. Its key Outstanding Universal Value relates to the use of the site by Neanderthals but its history, like much of Gibraltar’s, is not limited to our ancient relatives. Neolithic people from the fertile crescent, later Phoenicians and Greeks, Carthaginians, and even Muslims in the medieval period stopped at these caves. Later still, some of the caves within the World Heritage Site were used during the Second World War, including the governor’s secret escape route from the tunnels to sea via Boat Hoist Cave.
The Gorham’s Cave Complex has been included as part of the Gibraltar National Museum’s website until now but I was keen that the site should have a website of its own. It is with a sense of privilege, in the context of the vastness of time and the peoples who have found significance in the caves at the base of the northern Pillar of Heracles, that I write these introductory words to this new website.
The Hon. Prof John Cortes MP, Minister for the Environment, Sustainability, Climate Change, Heritage and Culture.