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The Castilians maintained control of Gibraltar until 1333, resisting a Moorish siege in 1315, but relinquished it in 1333 after the third siege of Gibraltar. [He] strengthened the wall of the extremity of the mount, which is the most formidable and useful of its walls.
The Rock itself is asymmetric, with a moderate slope on the west side and a very steep (and in places near-vertical) slope on the east side.
The peninsula's occupants – Moors, Spanish, and British – have built successive layers of fortifications and defences including walls, bastions, casemates, gun batteries, magazines, tunnels and galleries.
At their peak in 1865, the fortifications housed around 681 guns mounted in 110 batteries and positions, guarding all land and sea approaches to Gibraltar.
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The fortifications of Gibraltar have made the Rock of Gibraltar and its environs "probably the most fought over and most densely fortified place in Europe, and probably, therefore, in the world", as Field Marshal Sir John Chapple has put it.
The southern end of the town is guarded by the South Land Front.
Few fortifications exist on the east side, as the sheer cliff of the Rock of Gibraltar is a virtually impassable obstacle.
The sheer cliffs on the north and east sides of the Rock block access from those directions and the sea cliffs around the southern end of the peninsula make landings there difficult, especially if opposed. Galley House The refortified city occupied the north-eastern part of the present-day city, reaching from the area of Grand Casemates Square up to Upper Castle Road.
Writing in 1610, the Spanish historian Fernando del Portillo commented that Gibraltar was "a stronghold from its very topography which with a little art could be made impregnable," and so it has proved. It was divided into three main quarters which functioned as a series of baileys through which troops could fall back in stages.
A couple of small settlements, originally fishing villages, occupy the east side.
These features have made Gibraltar a naturally strong defensive position.
The densest fortifications are in the area where historically Gibraltar was under the most threat – at the north end of the peninsula, the North Front, facing the isthmus with Spain.