After crossing the frankly uninspiring, albeit historic, car park that is the Grand Parade (where the troops mustered for the famous Night Sortie that ended the Great Siege) the Alameda Gardens come as a stark contrast.
They were founded in 1816 on the instructions of Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Don as pleasure gardens for the inhabitants of Gibraltar. For many years they served this purpose until they fell into disrepair in the 1970s.
In June 1991 the Government of Gibraltar employed a private firm, Wildlife (Gibraltar) Ltd, to implement the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens Project. The aim of this was to restore the gardens and convert them into a botanic garden. And a jolly good job they have done too
On display at the main entrance to the gardens are two Russian Guns.
These guns were taken as trophies by the British during the Crimean war of 1854-1856, and four of them were donated to the people of Gibraltar.
The second pair are can be seen at the War Memorial Steps on Line Wall Road.
The Eliott Memorial
The memorial to General Sir George Augustus Eliott who led the defence of Gibraltar during the Great Siege of 1179-1782,
was originally a "colossal" statue carved from the bowsprit of the Spanish man-o-war San Juan.
This was replaced in 1858 by a bronze bust of the General on a marble pillar, which was presented to Gibraltar by one of his descendants.
It is surrounded by three 10 inch howitzers made in 1783 and one 8 inch howitzer dating from 1778.
Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park
Situated in the top South-East corner of the Alameda is the grandiosely named Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park. It is actually a small zoo, with the animals housed in compact enclosures; adequate, but hardly park-like, surroundings
It was started in 1994 from a collection of animals and birds that had been
confiscated by the local customs authorities from illegal animal traders who were passing them through Gibraltar.
Its scope has now been extended to include unwanted exotic pets and animals, such as the Cotton-topped Tamarins, that are on loan from international zoos to raise awareness of important endangered species.