History & Culture in Ibiza Town
With a history dating back some 2500 years the town of Eivissa thought to be one of the oldest towns in Europe. The official name of the island is in Catalan "Eivissa" but its name in Spanish, Ibiza, is probably better known to most of us. The Dalt Vila, or Old Town, is now a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Upper Town is the oldest area, which emerges above the port facing the sea. The architecture and layout have not been changed since the fortifications were built in the 16th century, and the defensive walls and bastions have incorporated those which existed before.
The local economy was originally based on the collection of salt from the pans, wool, and figs. After a period of alliance with Rome, the island came under the control of the Arabs in AD 902. In 1235, the town was dominated by Christians, who built the Catalan castle, visible from the inside of the present building, the medieval fortifications, and the Gothic cathedral. From 1530 to 1540, Philip II drew up a strategic plan to defend communications between Spain and Italy. In 1584-85, new fortifications were erected with the help of specialized Italian architects: Giovanni Battista Calvi and Jacobo Paleazzo Fratin.
The town now offers a fantastic walk through history with narrow cobbled streets lined with gift shops and art galleries as you walk up to the cathedral. These treasure troves of the unusual and unique sell the work of talented local crafts people.
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Also see: History of Ibiza, Spain