On the Rock’s eastern side you will find one of Gibraltar’s geological miracles, evidence the Mediterranean was once a desert.
Water Catchment / Catalan Bay
Catalan Bay is a small fishing village on the eastern side of the Rock. It was named after the Catalans that escaped the perils of the Napoleonic wars and settled in the area. The best way to view this area is from the Cable Car Top Station’s north platform. It is a great bird’s eye view over the village and water catchment. The Caleta Hotel is located here as are a number of restaurants and a small sandy cove. Above the village is a huge slope resting against the side of the Rock. Stripped of the corrugated sheeting that once covered this huge expanse, the slope made of sandstone is now clearly visible as it was millions of years ago. It is accepted fact that the Mediterranean has been both desert and sea several times over the millennia. Not totally drying out but almost, sand from areas around the lower sea levels was blown against the Rock as drift sand to form the slope. This sand eventually joined together into sandstone and was a natural catchment area for rain water during the times when Gibraltar had no water of its own. All Gibraltar’s water is now desalinated so the water catchment, as it is known, was dismantled although you can still see a few sheets left on one corner to give visitors an idea of what it looked like. Another interesting note is that Gibraltar has two water systems; a salt water system that is used for flushing and taking waste away and the clear desalinated system for consumption. Many of the older houses still have their original salt water pumps although often now used as a place to hang flower baskets.
How to get there:
The Water Catchments are located on the East side of the Rock. Bus no 4 is the one that goes that way but we recommend you get a birds eye view of the area from the terraces of the Cable Car. Go to the Cable Car page to find out more…