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La Línea de la Concepción


La Línea de la Concepción

La Línea de la Concepción (Spanish pronunciation: , more often referred to as La Línea) is a town in Spain, in the province of Cádiz in Andalucia. It lies on the eastern isthmus of the Bay of Gibraltar, north of the Gibraltar-Spain border, which lies north of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, with which it has close economic and social links. It is situated on the sandy isthmus which unites the Rock of Gibraltar with the coast in the eastern flank of the Bay of Gibraltar, between Sierra Carbonera and the Rock of Gibraltar.

The town derives its name firstly from the línea or boundary line separating Spain from Gibraltar, and secondly from the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Its people are called in Spanish linenses.

The first dwellings, which date back to the 18th century, were behind the Spanish lines, being part of the Spanish municipality of San Roque until 1870, when La Linea became separate.

The people of La Línea have traditionally found work in Gibraltar, from the days in the 18th century when Gibraltar was an important naval port. This stopped with the total closure of the border by the Spanish government between 1969 and 1982 as a result of the dispute between Spain and Britain regarding the sovereignty of Gibraltar. The border was fully reopened in 1985.

La Línea is a major supplier of fruit and vegetables to Gibraltar; other industries include the manufacture of cork, liquor, and fish paste. It also had an important military garrison with substantial fortifications and a port.


  • History 1
    • The War of Spanish Succession and the British occupation of Gibraltar 1.1
    • The Contravallation Line or La Línea de Gibraltar 1.2
    • Confrontations with modern Gibraltar 1.3
  • Monuments 2
    • Strongholds of San Carlos, Santa Bárbara and San Felipe 2.1
    • The Military 2.2
    • The Municipal Guards Building 2.3
    • Torrenueva 2.4
    • Bullring 2.5
    • Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 2.6
    • The Three Graces 2.7
    • Monument to the Spanish workers in Gibraltar 2.8
    • Monument to Camarón de la Isla 2.9
    • Conservatorio Profesional de Música "Muñoz Molleda" 2.10
  • Museums 3
  • Geography 4
    • Beaches 4.1
    • Environment 4.2
    • Climate 4.3
  • Demographics 5
  • Famous people 6
  • Facilities 7
    • Hotels in the city 7.1
  • Entertainment and Nightlife 8
  • Local Cultural Festivals and Events 9
  • Transport 10
  • Upcoming Projects 11
  • Mentions the City 12
  • References 13
  • Notes 14
  • External links 15


The War of Spanish Succession and the British occupation of Gibraltar

When Charles II died in 1700 without an heir to the Crown of Spain, the War of the Spanish Succession broke out between the two main pretenders to the Spanish throne: Philip of Anjou and Charles, Archduke of Austria (later Charles VI of the Holy Roman Empire). Philip was the grandson of Louis XIV of France, and had the support of France. Austria, England, and the Netherlands feared a possible alliance and/or a hypothetical union between the French and Spanish royal houses, and so favoured the Habsburg Charles.

In August 1704, while returning to Gibraltar from about 400 defenders, on behalf of Archduke Charles. The terms of surrender of the Spanish authorities of Gibraltar provided certain assurances, but commanders lost control, and sailors and marines engaged in rape and pillage, desecrating most Catholic churches; townspeople carried out reprisal killings.[1][2] By 7 August, after order was restored, almost all the population felt that staying in Gibraltar was too dangerous and fled across the area of modern La Linea to San Roque and other nearby areas of the Campo de Gibraltar. Most hoped that they would shortly be able to go back to their homes, but this never happened, British control of Gibraltar became firm, and in 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht was signed, by which Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain. The municipality of San Roque still has as its motto "La Muy Noble y Más Leal Ciudad de San Roque, donde reside la de Gibraltar " ("the Most Noble and Most Loyal City of San Roque, where reside those [the people] of Gibraltar"). The town lands included the area of the modern La Línea de la Concepción.

King Felipe V, the name by which Philip of Anjou was crowned, ordered the Marquis de Villadarías to besiege the Plaza de Gibraltar. This first attempt to regain the city was unsuccessful and the Spanish army lifted the siege. However, to monitor the isthmus and to oppose a possible invasion of the rest of the territory, a permanent garrison was established in the area, under the military government of Campo de Gibraltar.

The Contravallation Line or La Línea de Gibraltar

Gibraltar was under constant surveillance and subjected to the unsuccessful Siege of Gibraltar 1727 and the Great Siege of Gibraltar 1779-1783. After the 1727 siege, the Spanish government began the construction of a line of fortifications, the "Contravallation Line" or "La Línea de Gibraltar" thus eventually giving rise to the town La Linea De La Concepcion. This would isolate the British outpost from the Spanish mainland.[3]

An order was issued on 2 November 1730 to the Director of Engineering Prospero Jorge de Verboom, for the construction of two strongholds, one located to the east and the other at west of the isthmus, both united by a line of fortification, with the aim of preventing the movement and to assert rights over the isthmus, in addition to consolidate the Spanish presence in the area.

Construction began in 1731 on the two major strongholds, known as Santa Bárbara and San Felipe. The first was named in honor of the patroness of the Artillery, located at the east beach, where their remains are still visible. The second took its name to honor King Felipe V, and is situated on the beach at sunset. Between these two strongholds a large wall was built with various central square tip diamond shaped bulwarks with their respective bodies, running from Santa Bárbara to San Felipe. All of them were located at equidistant distances and were called Santa Mariana, San Benito, semi-square and body guard of San José, San Fernando and San Carlos.

Construction of this formidable defensive line was completed in 1735; described now as 'Contravallation Line' or La Linea de Gibraltar.

Thus, La Línea originated from a provisional camp made by artisans and merchants who supplied the military and their families in the vicinity of the fortifications erected to besiege Gibraltar, because as a territory in dispute, a civilian population was not allowed to settle.

The bastions of The Line of Gibraltar would remain intact for twenty years, serving the purpose for which they were built. In the early 19th century the Iberian peninsula was invaded by the Napoleonic troops, leading to the Spanish War of Independence and the Peninsular War.

Fearing that the French troops of Napoleon Bonaparte, which had already arrived in the Campo de Gibraltar, might take over the fortresses of La Linea, the Gibraltar Commanding Royal Engineer Charles Holloway decided to blast an opening through them on 14 February 1810.[4] Gibraltar, supported by La Linea, became an important base for Spanish fighters against Napoleon's troops.

After the destruction of the physical line that blocked the passage through the isthmus, the city continued to grow with a strong dependence on Gibraltar, covering all sorts of services to Gibraltar (supply of food, meat, fruit, vegetables and physical space for housing nearby and a labor force in the service of an expanding port, etc.).

In due time, traders, merchants and workers wanted the simple line of buildings to become an independent municipality of San Roque, controlled by the military, landowners and aristocrats. On January 17, 1870 the segregation of La Linea from San Roque was approved.

Some 300 inhabitants were located at Gibraltar Line, the place being named therefore, in Spanish, La Línea. The new municipality included the current Plaza de la Iglesia, Plaza de la Constitución, calle Real (Royal Street), Jardines Street and España Avenue. It had a cemetery, the command, a customs duty, guards and soldiers barracks being located beyond the neighborhood and Espigón far east on the beach.

Properly speaking, The Atunara or Tunara, should not be considered as a contemporary part of the line because its origins date back to some 640 years before the city itself.

On July 20, 1870 La Línea got its first mayor, Lutgardo López Muñoz, chosen by a committee of residents appointed by the provincial council. At the first meeting of the new city hall, it was unanimously decided the name should be La Línea de la Concepción, as the Immaculate Conception was deeply rooted in Spanish army tradition of the time. The name is recorded from 1883.

King Alfonso XIII gave the title of "town" to La Línea de la Concepción in 1913.

Confrontations with modern Gibraltar

Monument to the Spanish Worker in Gibraltar.
  • Spanish dictator Francisco Franco ordered the closure of the border gate on June 8, 1969, in response to the new Gibraltar Constitution. Thousands of people from La Línea lost their jobs in Gibraltar with a heavy social and economic toll in the city.
  • Protests were undertaken against the presence of the nuclear submarine HMS Tireless in Gibraltar for repairs in 2001.
  • In 2010, the People's Party mayor of La Línea, Alejandro Sanchez, attempted to impose a so-called "congestion charge" on people entering or leaving Gibraltar, despite having been told by the Spanish Government that such a charge would be a breach of national and international EU law.
View of La Línea from the mainland, with the Rock of Gibraltar in the background.


Strongholds of San Carlos, Santa Bárbara and San Felipe

18th century military buildings. Built during the siege of Gibraltar as part of the so-called Contravalación Line of Gibraltar, a group of fortifications whose goal was to besiege Gibraltar checking on any UK further expansionist ideas.

During the War of Independence, Peninsular War, Spain had initially been allied to France while trying to invade Portugal, but France shortly after turned on its ally, Spain. Forcing the Spanish to ally itself with Great Britain and Portugal against Napoleonic France to regain control of Spain from the French, these fortifications were blown up by the British to avoid falling into the hands of France. Currently, the Ruins of Fort St. Barbara is in a recovery phase, while the Fort San Felipe remnants have appeared recently. Fort San Carlos does not seem to have left preserved evidence.

The Military

Currently it hosts the Museum of the Isthmus but was once the military command associated to the Halls Head Officers garrison. It is the oldest building in town that exists, whose Officers' pavilions date from 1863 to 1865.

The Municipal Guards Building

In 1944 it was demolished in the old "Carabineros Barracks" at the Explanada (now, the Constitution Plaza). There was a single floor building located in the left corner of it. This building was for many years, the Municipal Guards Building and next to it, the first Police Station of this city lasting till about 1936. The Santa Mariana Guard was responsible for checking the San Benito Guard, by the sidewalk near the fountain of Santa Barbara on the beach of Levante.


This tower is part of the 44 towers of the same characteristics that outlined the coast from the river Guadiaro to the border with Portugal. All of them were built during the reign of Felipe III, along others located throughout the Mediterranean coast, from Malaga to Catalonia.

The purpose of these towers was to warn the coastal population on the presence of the Berber pirate ships. In these watchtowers, smoke signals and bonfires warned one another of the presence of the pirate ships. At the top of the building, there was always a bundle of dry wood to be burned immediately in case of danger, transmitting the alarm signal on the towers nearby.


The Bullring was built on the old Plaza del Arenal and took 3 years to build and was completed in 1883 with capacity for 6000 people. It is considered to be one of the oldest buildings in La Linea along with the former Military Command, now the Museo del Istmo [1], which are good examples of architecture in Andalusia in the late 19th century. Various fights have taken place in the bullring including a fight between a lion and a bull in 1887. During the 1970s and 1980s the upper part of the bullring was unsafe and was demolitioned. The last fight to take place in the bullring was on 21 July 2012 featuring Juan José Padilla.

Luis Ramírez Galuzo was undoubtedly one of the neighbors of the city with more economic means of the century, and the mayor on several occasions, submitted to the council for permission to build on own property, a bullring, to celebrate the Spanish festival, other festivals such as acrobatic, and other celebrations in the year 1880, the project being led by the provincial architect Adolfo del Castillo, author among other works, of the Abastos market, today Concepción market and the former Municipal Slaughterhouse now disappeared.

Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The main Parish church was built in the 19th century colonial style. Notable features are the 17th-century reredos and the image of St. Mary made by the Andalusian sculptor Luis Ortega Bru. The church became a shrine at the end of 2005. The Church of the Immaculate Conception has three naves. The exterior of the building echoes the interior layout, with a remarkable simplicity and beauty.

Inside the parish church of the Immaculate Conception there are images of Jesús del Gran Poder, and others belonging to four religious guilds.

The Three Graces

The Three Graces is a Monument at the Plaza de la Iglesia that is based on the Greek mythology of the three Charites, which represent charm, beauty, and creativity. This work by Nacho Falgueras is based on that by the local painter José Cruz Herrera. The recently opened monument is a tribute to the "linense" women.

Monument to the Spanish workers in Gibraltar

Work also of Nacho Falgueras. It is a tribute to the thousands of "linenses" and "campogibraltareños" who spent their lives working in Gibraltar. Because of difficult times in this part of Spain they crossed the border every day to work and support their families. It is a tribute by the town of La Línea to all those who worked and continue to work in Gibraltar.

Monument to Camarón de la Isla

Monument located on the west access of the city, between the Paseo Marítimo de Poniente and the Casa de la Juventud. It is a historical monument dedicated to the figure of the famous flamenco singer José Monge Cruz, Camarón de la Isla, who lived much of his life in this city. The sculpture is also the work of Nacho Falgueras.

Conservatorio Profesional de Música "Muñoz Molleda"

It takes its name from the "linense" José Muñoz Molleda, who gave music lessons to many young people, aged between 9 and 35 years, both "Linenses" and from other nearby cities, as this Music Conservatory was the only one in the Campo de Gibraltar area awarding a "Grado Medio"—intermediate degree.

A stepping stone for learning music in the city for many years, together with the "Linense" Municipal Foundation of Culture and the Félix Enríquez Musical Society, particularly its most recent director Ignacio Ábalos Nuevo.

Currently under reform, there is still teaching going on. On the underground parking just below the extension of the Conservatory, archaeological remains of the 18th century Contravalación line were found and are now displayed nearby.

Plans for introducing soon the area of professional Opera Singing were put forward in December 2006 by famous International Opera soprano Singer Montserrat Caballé.


  • Museo Cruz Herrera
  • Museum of the Isthmus [2]. Located at the former Military Command of the city.
  • Municipal Historical Museum.

It stores files documenting the city since 1887.

  • Museo Taurino—Bullfighting Museum.

It stores a large collection of bullfighting posters, costumes, herds, stamps, photographs of bullfighters, and so on. Composed of four rooms and a chapel, Manolete hall, El Gordito hall, Antonio Duarte "Pota" lounge, El Marinero hall and the Frascuelo hall. With thousands of photographs, bullfight posters, marking irons, torero costumes, trophies, capes, flags, stocks, etc.. With over 50 years of history, it can be considered one of the most important ones in the country. Founder: José Cabrera Duarte, a great fan of bullfighting, and a keen collector of all kinds.



Beachgoers at Playa de Poniente.

La Línea has 14 kilometres (9 miles) of beaches, named Playa de Levante, Playa de La Atunara, La Alcaidesa, Playa de La Hacienda, Playa de Poniente, Playa de Santa Bárbara, El Burgo Sobrevela, Portichuelos, Playa de Torrenueva, some of which are awarded each year a Blue Flag beach award by the Coastal European Authorities. In 2007, the beaches of La Alcaidesa and Sobrevela obtained this recognition.


In May 2014 a report by the PM10 and PM2.5 Pollutants in the air, which could only have come from the nearby Gibraltar-San Roque Refinery.[5] [6]


La Línea de la Concepción receives nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, but air dampness is frequently around 74% only and the influence of a cold sea water current at some 3 kilometers off the coast. Therefore, it has a temperate climate, mild in winter and hot in summer.

Climate data for La Línea, Spain
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 16
Average low °C (°F) 11
Average precipitation mm (inches) 93


Historical population of La Línea de la Concepción
(Source: INE (Spain))
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2010
Population 59,828 59,993 60,565 60,951 61,892 61,875 62,682 64,645

Famous people


  • Congress and Exhibition Hall: opened in 2005 with a floor area of over 5300 , the palace is built around two main areas, the main auditorium and the conferences auditorium. It also has a scene of 200  surface and 10 m in height, which allows not only the holding of congresses, but also events such as theater, concerts and even opera. The conference auditorium seats 354, and although it is totally unrelated to the first so they can develop different activities simultaneously, the facilities are interconnected to support each other if necessary. In this palace are very frequent theater companies and concerts given by such people as Montserrat Caballé, Raphael, or other well known artists. The Palace also has a four star hotel from the Iberostar chain.
  • Menéndez Pelayo International University headquarters is located in one of the most emblematic buildings of the town, given its rationalist architecture: Villa D'Amato, family home of a prestigious Maltese trader since 1939, formerly a popular theater where people came to enjoy the most famous moment. The writer Mario Vargas Llosa gave a keynote address opened the university.
  • Real Club Náutico de La Línea : the Real Club Náutico de La Línea is located in Av/ del Mar, principally the sport of sailing, with this support have been distinguished sailors as Rafael Trujillo Villar. Diving is also practiced, with beginner and advanced courses in these two sports.
  • College of Teachers
  • Theater the Evening
  • Office of the General Directorate of Transport
  • Has a large commercial: CC Gran Sur
  • Bus Station
  • Polideportivo municipal swimming pool
  • Estadio de Fútbol Real Balompédica Linense
  • Casa de la Juventud

Hotels in the city

  • 4 Stars: Azur (was Iberostar) Hotel.
  • 3 Stars: Rocamar Hotel, Mediterranean Hotel, Hotel AC La Linea, Aparthotel Golf & Beach Vista Real

Entertainment and Nightlife

  • The Path Bunkers.
  • Reina Sofia Park: A place where hundreds of young people congregate every Friday and Saturday is winter or summer, in the mythical stands, which allows botellón in the city.
  • Pubs are located in Calle Lopez de Ayala y Herrera Cruz in the Plaza and close at 4:30. In summer, in the Levante beach tents are for the enjoyment of citizens (La pija, La Suite, La Bambudha and The Circus) is now given today's Coastal Act are due to move slightly more inward and in winter the city has two discos for young people "Portobello" and "Metro" and an adult audience "Las Palmeras", which corresponds to closing hours of the morning 7-8.

Local Cultural Festivals and Events

  • Feria de Julio "The Salvaora" Fiesta declared of National Tourist Interest in Andalusia, is celebrated in mid-July.
  • Rocieros Sunday, the first Sunday of Fair.
  • Easter.
  • Medieval Fair in July and November
  • Certamen Andaluz de Música "Muñoz Molleda".
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8, patron saint of the city)
  • Noche de San Juan.
  • Carnaval de la Concha Fina, held in February / March each year.
  • Top Fair in early May, in the Complex Ballesteros.
  • National piano.


By Road:

By air:

By Train:

La Línea is one of the few cities in Spain with a population above 50,000 not to be served by a railway line. A project to link the city with San Roque by rail was aborted in the 1970s.[7]

Upcoming Projects

Puerto of La Linea de la Concepcion with expansions planned.
  • Construction of an access building adjacent to the border to link with the new terminal of the Gibraltar Airport

This will be on the site previously used by the La Linea fair.

  • A new marina in the area west of La Línea de la Concepción

The facility will have 777 berths and will have an extension of a plot of 59,898 m2 and a sheet of water of 239,947 m2 for the construction and operation of facilities nautical-use sports and recreational commercial. The total duration of the works is estimated at 3 years and the project is justified by the high demand for moorings for yachts, especially in the area of the Rock of Gibraltar. An ambitious project called the Marina Line will develop the area using three acres of land reclaimed from the sea, aiming to meet a need for service, recreational and trading activities.

  • New marítimo walk from Levante Beach

Currently under construction. Possible redevelopment of the Ruins of Fort St. Barbara.

  • New Hospital for the Campo de Gibraltar
  • New Musical Conservatory Grade Medium

Pending the Board of Andalusia permission for its opening. Because the ruling party on the line is of a different political signal to the ruling on the Board of Andalusia, but the building is fully constructed and empowered from time to teaching, the Board of Andalusia takes three years to block its opening, damaging the music community linens

  • Boulevard Avenue April 20

The six million visitors a year who come to Gibraltar to visit 62 stores that generate wealth for the city. Currently at an advanced stage of construction, together with the refurbishment of the tourist office.

  • Plaza remodeling Cruz Herrera

Completed in 2008.

Mentions the City

  • 2002 Award of Silver Broom
  • Golden Broom Award 2004 Given to cities at least as clean as Santiago de Compostela Vigo


  • La Línea. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2006.
  • La Línea. The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004


  1. ^ Andrews, Allen, Proud Fortress The Fighting Story Of Gibraltar, p32-33:
  2. ^ Jackson, Sir William, Rock of the Gibraltarians, p100-101
  3. ^
  4. ^ R. H. Vetch, ‘Holloway, Sir Charles (1749–1827)’, rev. Alastair W. Massie, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 25 May 2013
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links

  • and surrounding areasNews from La Linea
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