Gibraltar's new Skywalk rewards the fearless with stunning views
With its unique history, location, and population of monkeys, the Rock of Gibraltar is already an interesting place to visit, but it recently received a new viewing point too, courtesy of local firm Arc Designs. Installed next to a former British WWII anti-aircraft platform, it provides those with a head for heights amazing views of the area.
Commissioned by HM Government of Gibraltar, the Skywalk is located in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve and is part of a larger development of the area, including the construction of a suspension bridge and the restoration of former military batteries.
It's accessed by stairs or glass elevator and takes its place surprisingly well among the rugged landscape. In a nice touch, an old octagonal gun platform belonging to the former anti-aircraft platform has been made into a seating area.
The standout attraction though is a (8.2 ft)-wide walkway that juts out, some 340 m (1,115 ft) above sea level, which is toward the top of the Rock's maximum height of 426 m (1,400 ft). To put that into perspective, the Skywalk is significantly higher than London's Shard, as well as Paris' Eiffel Tower, and is about three times higher than NYC's Statue of Liberty. Those with even mild vertigo will want to steer clear of this one.
Constructing the Skywalk was, as you'd imagine, quite a challenge. Due to poor access, it needed to be fabricated from small easily-transportable pieces. The building materials were then positioned into place using a crane, which was positioned on the former anti-aircraft platform.
The structure weighs over 30,000 kg (33 US tons) in all, and its glazed floor and balustrades consist of more than 750 sq m (8,072 sq ft) of glass panels. It's anchored securely to the rock to ensure it can handle the weight of visitors – up to the equivalent of five elephants, according to Arc Designs – and withstand wind speeds over 150 km/h (93 mph), which are common.
Source: Arc Designs