Functional beauty: Ibiza and Formentera

Progress has been unable to wipe out the image of Ibiza full of legends, traditions and mystery, ancient beliefs which still today survive. The magical and mysterious Tanit, Goddess of love and fertility, also known as the lady of the moon, maintains her influence on the island of Ibiza.

The ancient Greeks called Ibiza and Formentera ‘Pitiuse’ because they were covered in pine trees. Bearing in mind their geographical location, it would be logical to suppose that they were a stopover point in all Mediterranean voyages. It was the Phoenicians who named it "Ibosim". Ebusus was later founded by the Punics. Later still, the Carthaginians came. They were followed by the Romans, the Vandals, Byzantines, the Arabs who called it “Yebisha”. In the year 1113 came the Christian reconquest and in 1235 King James I occupied Ibiza and Formentera. It was on the 8th August that the Catalonian troops entered Ibiza.

In the case of Formentera, the relationship between the history of Formentera and the history of Ibiza must be taken into account, above all after the tenth century. Formentera was practically uninhabited for two long periods of time, with a very small or even non-existent human population. The first of these periods was previous to the Roman invasion and corresponds to the Carthaginian era of Ibiza. The second goes from the beginning of the XV century to the beginning of the XVIII, the time when the re-population of the island started.

Very few Mediterranean islands can compare themselves with Ibiza when it comes to popularity which has become known all over the world: bohemians, artists and representatives of the international glamour scene have populated the island, attracted by the functional beauty of these small Pitiusan islands. Most of the typical Ibizan houses have the same cubic footage, Moorish appearance, the porch, a small rectangular chimney, oven, well, all of which is covered with a characteristic and popular whitewash marked by a tenacious white which comes and goes on the disperse hamlets.

If something stands out about the Pitiusan architecture that must be the churches, overlooked by a humble belfry and containing a portico where the neighbours get together for a chat. Before visiting the island some people investigate a little and they must know that Ibiza and Formentera are islands where the construction work is spread out, where townships are practically non-existent and where the people live in the countryside. That is why the churches were built, to provide a place to get together on holy days. Ibiza and Formentera live at a rhythm with low rainfall, where peace and quiet reign, this probably being the reason why the inhabitants of the islands enjoy the highest life expectancy in the whole of Europe.

If something catches the eye of the visitor to these Pitusian islands it must be the local celebrations, maintained with a pride for their inherited traditions. Dances are organised where the people all dress up using traditional costumes. Women wear scarves, shawls, aprons with embroidered thousands of flowers and around their necks, on top of their outer shawls they wear their ‘emprendada’ jewellery which has been passed down from generation to generation, made up of priceless broaches and gold pendants. Music is never missing from these celebrations and is played on local instruments: flutes, drums and some large castanets which are etched using fire. The ‘ball pagès’ (Country folk dance) starts with the music played on these instruments, this typical Pitusian dance also turns out to be the most interesting regional dance in the whole of the Balearic islands.

With respect to the weather, Ibiza and Formentera are characterised by high temperatures and an extremely dry summer time. Because of the islands’ low lying countryside and their small extensions the climate is almost the same all over the islands.

The Pitiusas, the white isles, have today become a cosmopolitan and fun place which is extremely attractive for tourists. As in the past when the islands sprang to fame because of the hippie movement and for its nudists beaches, it still offers today many possibilities for other types of public. However some hippie colonies still exist, in addition to the fact that a large number of young people have chosen the island because of its extraordinary nightlife, which does in fact start out in the evenings in one of the beautiful coves or in the city itself where friendships start, ending the night in one of the many fashionable bars and discos.

The isles of peace and light also seem like a paradise with their Mediterranean pines and their African palm trees. Their spring climates are inviting and far from maddening crowds. One feels surrounded by a magical atmosphere here, where the typical Balearic and Mediterranean aspects mix with African memories. This is not only coincidental, because the distance that separates this island from Algiers is less than that between the island and Barcelona.



Places of interest to visit in the city of Ibiza: Dalt Vila, Sa Penya, The Marina, Markets, Pereyra Theatre , Vara de Rei way, Eixample, Puig dels Molins (Punican necropolis ) , Passeig Marítim (promenade).

Excursion 1: Sant Llorenç de Balàfia, Sant Joan de Labritja, Portinatx del Rei, Sant Vicent de Sa Cala, Sant Carles de Peralta, Santa Eulària del Riu.

Excursion 2: Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera, Sant Miquel de Balasant, Sant Miquel Port , sant Matéu d’Aubarca, Santa Agnès de Corona, Sant Rafel.

Excursión 3: Sant Antoni de Portmany, Es Cubells, Cala d’Hort, Es Vedrà, Sant Agustí, Sant Josep de Sa Talaia, Ses Salines, Sant Jordi de Ses Salines, Sant Francesc.


Excursion 1: La Savina, Sant Francesc Xavier, Cap de Barbaria.

Excursion 2: Punta Trocadors, Salines, Estany Pudent, Es pujols, Sant Ferran.

Excursion 3: Arenals de Migjorn, Es Caló, El Pilar, Far de la Mola

More information on Ibiza and Formentera in the Illes Balears Tourist Information Official Site: Ibiza and Formentera.

Photos :  
Sergio Traveling and Europäisches Segel-Informationssystem

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