(view to Es Vedra)
(Catalan: Eivissa) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain. It is 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the city of Valencia. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain. Its largest settlements are Ibiza Town (Catalan: Vila d’Eivissa, or simply Vila), Santa Eulària des Riu, and Sant Antoni de Portmany. Its highest point, called Sa Talaiassa (or Sa Talaia), is 475 metres (1,558 feet) above sea level.
Ibiza has become well known for its association with nightlife, electronic dance music that originated on the island, and for the summer club scene, all of which attract large numbers of tourists drawn to that type of holiday. Several years before 2010, the island’s government and the Spanish Tourist Office had been working to promote more family-oriented tourism, with the police closing down clubs that played music at late night hours, but by 2010 this policy was reversed. Around 2015 it was resumed.
Ibiza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Ibiza and the nearby island of Formentera to its south are called the Pine Islands, or “Pityuses”.
In 654 BC, Phoenician settlers founded a port on Ibiza. With the decline of Phoenicia after the Assyrian invasions, Ibiza came under the control of Carthage, also a former Phoenician colony. The island produced dye, salt, fish sauce (garum), and wool.
A shrine with offerings to the goddess Tanit was established in the cave at Es Cuieram, and the rest of the Balearic Islands entered Eivissa’s commercial orbit after 400 BC. Ibiza was a major trading post along the Mediterranean routes. Ibiza began establishing its own trading stations along the nearby Balearic island of Majorca, such as Na Guardis, and “Na Galera” where numerous Balearic mercenaries hired on, no doubt as slingers, to fight for Carthage.
During the Second Punic War, the island was assaulted by the two Scipio brothers in 217 BC but remained loyal to Carthage. With the Carthaginian military failing on the Iberian mainland, Ibiza was last used, 205 B.C, by the fleeing Carthaginian General Mago to gather supplies and men before sailing to Menorca and then to Liguria. Ibiza negotiated a favorable treaty (Foedus) with the Romans, which spared Ibiza from further destruction and allowed it to continue its Carthaginian-Punic institutions, traditions and even coinage well into the Empire days, when it became an official Roman municipality.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and a brief period of first Vandal and then Byzantine rule, the island was conquered by the Moors in 902, the few remaining locals converted to Islam and Berber settlers came in. Under Islamic rule, Ibiza (Yabisah) came in close contact with the city of Dénia—the closest port in the nearby Iberian peninsula, located in the Valencian Community—and the two areas were administered jointly by the Taifa of Dénia during some time (11th century).
Ibiza together with the islands of Formentera and Menorca were invaded by the Norwegian King Sigurd I of Norway in the spring of 1110 on his crusade to Jerusalem. The king had previously conquered the cities of Sintra, Lisbon, and Alcácer do Sal and given them over to Christian rulers, in an effort to weaken the Muslim grip on the Iberian peninsula. King Sigurd continued to Sicily where he visited King Roger II of Sicily.
The island was conquered by Aragonese King James I in 1235. The local Muslim population got deported as was the case with neighboring Majorca and elsewhere, and Christians arrived from Girona. The island maintained its own self-government in several forms until 1715, when King Philip V of Spain abolished the local government’s autonomy. The arrival of democracy in the late 1970s led to the Statute of Autonomy of the Balearic Islands. Today, the island is part of the Balearic Autonomous Community, along with Majorca, Menorca, and Formentera.
Ibiza is a rock island covering an area of 572.56 square kilometres (221.07 sq mi), almost six times smaller than Majorca, but over five times larger than Mykonos (in the Greek Isles) or 10 times larger than Manhattan in New York City.
Ibiza is the larger of a group of the western Balearic archipelago called the “Pityuses” or “Pine Islands” composed of itself and Formentera. The Balearic island chain includes over 50 islands, many of which are uninhabited. The highest point of the island is Sa Talaiassa, at 475 metres (1,558 ft).
FAUNA & WILDLIFE
Marine fauna and birds constitute the majority of wildlife on the Island of Ibiza. With great natural diversity from the open ocean to the rocky coast areas you can find anything from migrating sea birds to sea turtles, and of course an abundance of crustaceans and fish. The salt flats of Les Salinas host an abundance of marsh birds and amphibians such as frogs and toads. Inland you will find endemic species of invertebrates and lizards.
FLORA & VEGETATION
Despite heavy development over the years, the island is still rich in rural areas, mainly in the north. There are however National Parks and Nature Reserves in the south to protect the indigenous land, in particular the salt flats of Ses Salines in the south east of the island. The land is rich in pine trees, the asset which inspired the Greeks
to give the name of the “Pitiusas” to Ibiza and Formentera.
Amongst other Ibizan flora you will find juniper trees, kermes oak, clematis, rock rose, white heather, oleander, and herbs such as thyme, rosemary and lavender. You will find an abundance of cactus all over the island, ranging from the obviously furry and spiky to the more subtle (but lethal when you get caught in them!) varieties. There are many delicate flowers to be found inland as well as by the sea with yellow, red and orange flowers line some of the coastal areas.
As with many of the Mediterranean islands bougainvillea is a common site and stands out particularly strongly against the white washed buildings of Ibiza. Other blossoms to be seen are the almond blossoms which cover the west part of the island in the early Spring months, a real site to behold!(*seeibiza)
HIPPIES of IBIZA
In the long and varied history of Ibiza, the hippy period, which really took off in the 1960s, was probably the most revolutionary not to mention influential time. The island had already become notorious for its free thinking, liberal attitude before the hippies invaded, since many artists and political liberals had fled to Ibiza during the fascist rule of General Franco, which began in 1936. Following its discovery by the beatnik crowd in the late 1950s, however, it was the tourist boom in the 1960s that brought the hippies in their masses. Ibiza became the European equivalent of San Francisco full of artists, writers, and what were known locally as peluts (‘hairies’). All manner of international hippies joined the party, from Bob Dylan to Joni Mitchell.
The main hippy hangouts were Ibiza Town, Sant Joan, Sant Carles and La Mola, and the big clubs that sprang up in the 1970s including Pacha and Amnesia had a vibrant hippy character at first, hosting wild parties that attracted hippies from all over Europe and even the United States.
A considerable number of hippies actually moved to Ibiza in the 1960s and are still on the island today. Sant Joan in the north of the island has been a particularly popular spot since the 1960s, and, although the hippy scene as a whole is less evident these days than it used to be, there are still occasional (illegal) trance parties in the hills around the village.
There are two principal hippy markets on the island; one in the northern town of Es Cana which is held each Wednesday between 10am and 7pm – and one in San Carlos, also in the North, which trades every Saturday. Both markets are considered a must see, especially for bargain hunters looking to pick up interesting jewellery, clothing and gifts to take home with them.
Another major New Age hangout that still persists today is Benirras beach in the north west, which is largely undeveloped and hidden from view behind cliffs and pines. The best time to visit Benirras for some New Age fun is on Sunday afternoons during the summer, when people bring their bongo drums to beat as the sun goes down over the sea. Benirras is the scene of the annual Day of the Drums, which occurs at the time of the full moon in August. There was a time when bonfires dotted the beach during this event, but these have now been banned; indeed, the event itself has been threatened with an outright ban. What you can expect if you make it to Benirras for this hippy/ New Age spectacle is a totally non commercial gathering of people, with candles, veggie food and plenty of music mainly drums but also guitars and other instruments.Whereas hippies have almost become historical legend in many parts of the world, the scene is still as vibrant in parts of Ibiza as it is in any of the few remaining hippy hangouts. It takes a bit of looking, but is totally worth the effort.