Ibiza’s famous fortified ‘old town’, Dalt Vila, was officially named a World Heritage Listed Site by UNESCO in 1999 – a stunning example of classic Renaissance military architecture, within which lies the historical remnants of the many cultures who have called Ibiza home over thousands of years.
The Phoenicians were the first to call the hill overlooking what is now Ibiza’s port home, in the seventh century BC, founding the second colony (after Sa Caleta) called ‘Ibosim’. They surrounded themselves by walls to protect themselves from possible invaders. In the second century BC, Ibosim was claimed as a federated city of the Roman Empire, and was abandoned in the fifth century AD. Byzantines and Muslims passed through, rebuilding the walls, but it was in 1229 when the city was taken over by the Catalans.
After this, the imposing city walls that stand today were built in the 16th century as protection from the Berber pirates supported by the Ottoman Empire, and, with six supposedly impenetrable bastions providing our Medieval ancestors with a strong location from which to defend the city. Today, these bastions provide simply stunning lookout points to watch over the city, the sea and across to the mountains.
The main entrance to the fort is flanked by two (now headless) Roman statues and walking through these gates is simply magical – easy to imagine yourself transported back to the time when they’d been appointed guardians. Cobbled streets, high stone walls, dramatic drawbridges and huge wooden fort doors, numerous churches and historical museums are all part of the Dalt Vila attraction – conveniently now also chock full of stylish modern Mediterranean restaurants and cool bars, so you can refuel as you walk up and down the endless streets, hills and stairs. The best of both worlds…