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Geography and Landscape


Ibiza (Catalan: Eivissa) is an island that belongs to the Balearic Islands. The Balearic Islands are an archipelago and consists of four main islands, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, two smaller islands, Dragonera and Cabrera, and hundreds of smaller islands.

Ibiza Satellite photoPhoto:Publlic domain

The Balearic Islands lie to the east of the Spanish mainland in the Mediterranean Sea; the Spanish city of Barcelona is approximately 300 kilometers as the crow flies. Alicante at about 185 kilometers. The capital of Algeria, Algiers, is only about 280 kilometers away. The water between Ibiza and mainland Spain is called the "Ibiza Canal" by the inhabitants of the islands.

Ibiza and Formentera are the two southernmost islands, located close to each other and separated by the seven kilometer wide strait "Es Freus". In this strait lie the uninhabited islands of Isla Espalmador, Isla Espardell, Islas de los Ahorcados and Islas Negras. In the bay of Cala d'Hort is the 381 meter high island of Es Vedrà, which some say is a reference point for UFOs.

The islands of Ibiza and Formentera are also called the "pine islands" or Pityusen, after the Greek "Nesari Pitoussai". Ibiza is also called "Isla Blanca" because of the many white houses.

The total area of Ibiza is 541 km2, Mallorca (3640 km2) and Menorca (702 km2) are larger. The island is 41 kilometers long from north to south and 20 kilometers wide from east to west. The coastline is approximately 210 kilometers long and scattered over fifty beaches. The coast of Ibiza also has a number of high cliffs.


Cova de Can Marçà, IbizaPhoto:Phil Guest CC BY-SA 2.0 no changes made

Little can be found in Ibiza from geological antiquity. During the Mesozoic Era (220-65 million years BC), sea levels rose and Ibiza was submerged. Lime deposits from the Cretaceous period can still be found on the surface. In the Tertiary, Ibiza was once again submerged and from this period there is still sand, clay and limestone to be found.

Approx. 8 million years ago, mountains such as the Alps and the Pyrenees were created and Ibiza (Els Amunts mountains) was also raised above sea level. Ibiza was then still connected to the Spanish mainland by a land bridge, but after the last ice age the water rose again and the Balearic Islands were created.

Due to the mainly limestone soil of Ibiza, many so-called karst phenomena can be found. Particularly to be mentioned are karst pipes or "aven" (funnel-shaped holes), karst caves, dolines (chain or funnel-shaped floors in karst plateaus) and uvula's (series of contiguous dolines). All these phenomena are caused by the combination of water and cracks and fractures in the rock. Rain and river water seeps down, dissolving the lime. Special are the underground water supplies or "aquifers", which are created by the water that penetrates through the porous limestone and flows to these places with an impenetrable surface.

The most striking appearances are of course the dripstone caves. The most famous stalactite caves in Ibiza are the Santa Cova, the Es Cuieram and especially the beautiful Cova den Can Marça. The Cova den Can Marça is a fossil dripstone cave, which means that no more water flows through the cave and therefore no more calcification takes place. All waterfalls and lakes are therefore artificial.

Platja d'en Bossa, beach in IbizaPhoto:Alex Harries Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Genericno changes made

Over the past two thousand years, the coniferous and deciduous forests, fields and orchards have all been created by human hands.

The mountain ridge Els Amunts is very defining for the landscape of Ibiza. The highest mountain in Ibiza is 475 meters high Atalaya or Sa Talaiassa de Sant Josep. Other high peaks are the Llentrisca (414 m) and the Furnás (409 m).

Some important bays are Eivissa Bay and Portmany Bay. Here are also the main ports of Ibiza. The hinterland is protected in some places by a row of dunes. The coast is further dotted with inlets or "calas", where mostly sandy beaches can be found. The longest sandy beach in Ibiza is Platja d’en Bossa.

Ibiza has one river, the Riu de Santa Eulària, which is dry most of the year and is 11 kilometers long.

Climate and Weather

Ibiza has a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers inland. However, due to the influence of the sea, it almost never gets warmer than 30°C in the shade. Most rain falls in the months of March, May, September, October, November and December. The humidity is always between 60 and 85%. In winter, especially in the hills and on the coast, it is a lot cooler than elsewhere. Temperatures below freezing, however, hardly occur and the sun shines on more than 300 days. The water in the sea is warm until November

Characteristic of the climate in Ibiza is that throughout the year the average sea temperature is approximately equal to the average air temperature.

Sunset IbizaPhoto:Alex Kulikov Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

maximum temperaturesaverage temperatures
Hours of sunshine per dayaverage water temperature

Plants and Animals


Poppy IbizaPhoto: Dary Houston in the public domain

Ibiza has a great diversity of plant and flower species. Large parts of the island are protected areas, in total more than 40%. It is also special that there are many different landscapes, each with their own, often special vegetation.

Plants live on cliffs and rocks that can withstand the harsh sea wind and salt. This creates a very dry climate for plants, so most of them are quite small with small fleshy leaves. Some examples are yellow mountain chamomile, dwarf shrubs, samphire and poppies.

In the dunes, plants have the same problems and, moreover, must be deeply rooted to obtain water. Some examples are beach grass, juniper and daffodils.

On the mountains there are plants that can withstand strong winds. Some examples are hellebore, wild crocus, carob flower and wild violin.

More than 40% of Ibiza is covered with mainly pine forests. Special tree species are tamarind, holm oak and strawberry trees. Among these trees are honeysuckles, wild cyclamen, ferns, gorse and sarsaparillas.

Forests IbizaPhoto:Gottfried Hoffmann Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no chabges made

In the places where many trees were felled bushes or "gariggue" arose. This thicket can withstand the heat very well and is weathered against grazers by means of thorns and hard small leaves. It is remarkable that in this difficult climate about 20 types of colorful orchids grow. Common is the mirror orchid, rare and endangered is the bee orchid. Other plants include Italian arum lilies, broom, rock roses and asters. Furthermore, herbs such as rosemary, mint, fennel, bay leaf, thyme and mallow.

Fields and roadsides are already full of blooming poppies, daisies, clover, pink garlic, morning star, afternoon flowers and borage in March and April. Tree species are fig trees, olive trees, almond trees and carob trees.

During the winter months heather and the bright white flowers of the citrus trees bloom.

Scilla numidica, IbizaPhoto:cultivar413 Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Ibiza and Formentera are the only places in Europe where Scilla numidica, a special hyacinth, occurs, and the only places in the world where Silene cambessedesii, a type of cuckoo flower, occurs. Other endemic plants are the Balearic horseshoe clover, the beach lion beak, the white thistle, the rock rose, the Balearic St. John's wort and the Balearic alpine violet.


Eleonora's Falcon, IbizaPhoto:Jürgen Dietrich Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany no changes made

The animal world in Ibiza is not as diverse as the plant world. Nevertheless, there are some special varieties, such as the Eleonore falcon, the Sardinian wood warbler and the striped hop or "poepoet". Other species that occur are crested cormorants, nightingales, song thrushes, coots, sandpipers, godwits, chaffinch, green finches, bee-eaters, hop birds, shrike and clod clods. Wading birds are virtually absent in Ibiza due to the lack of ebb and flow and the less nutrient-rich warm water. When it gets colder in the north of Europe, about 200 bird species hibernate around the salt pans of Ibiza, including flamingos.

There are no large mammals, but rabbits, hares, weasels, porcupines and bats do. The rarest animal in Ibiza is the genet cat, which is, however, very rarely seen.

Ibizan Wall LizardPhoto: Chixoy in the public domain

Other animal species are frogs, toads, about 30 lizard species (all relatives of the Ibizan wall lizard) and in the sea around the island more than 200 fish species (including grouper, barracuda), almost 100 sponge animals and about 70 shellfish and water animals. Furthermore, squid and three types of dolphins, including the striped dolphin. Off the coast there are seagrass beds (Posidonia oceanica) below sea level, which have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.

Plants like the thorny thistle are sometimes full of snails, protecting themselves against their enemies.

Podenco IbicencoPhoto:Lydie Heritier Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no chabges made

Special is the native dog breed Podenco Ibicenco, which is said to have already been brought to Ibiza by the Phoenicians. This high-legged Ibizan greyhound has a slender last and pointed, raised ears.

Prehistory and Antiquity

Construction of a Talyot, IbizaPhoto:Juan Costa Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Approx. 4000 BC, in the Early Stone Age, the first inhabitants arrived on the islands of the Balearic Islands, who began to live in caves and caves. Many objects from that prehistoric time have been found in Ibiza, including rock paintings in the cave des Vi (Spanish: pintures rupestres de sa Cova des Vi).

Approx. 2000 BC. The pre-Talayotic culture emerged on all islands, which became known through the “navetas”, stone buildings with thick walls in the shape of a horseshoe. The exact meaning of these buildings is still unclear, but no weapons from this period have been found, so they probably did not need these structures to defend themselves. On Formentera is the Ca na Costa, a memorial built with large stones from the period 1900-1600 BC.

Approx. 1300 BC. The Talayotic culture developed in Menorca and Mallorca, famous for its 'talayot', round or square tower-like buildings with a central space and gigantic walls made of stone clumps.

The inhabitants of the Balearic Islands were excellent stone throwers. The Moors called them "baal yarah," which was later corrupted to "baliarides," and evolved over time to its current name, Balearic Islands. Approx. 1000 BC. defenses were built and weapons have been found from this time. Menorca distinguishes itself from the other islands by the so-called “taula’s”, vertically placed flat stones with another flat stone on top horizontally.

Ibiza was founded in 654 BC. completely dominated by the North African (now Tunisia) Carthaginians, or Punic, as they were called by the Romans. They called the island "Ibosim" at that time. Carthage was founded by the Phoenicians, a seafarer people named by the Tunisian descendants after their hometown Carthage.

Remains Carthaginian settlement Sa Caleta, IbizaPhoto:stavros 1 Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

From the port city of Eivissa (Ibiza town) the Carthaginians traded with other port cities in the Mediterranean. The Carthaginians further exploited the salt pans of Ibiza and lead was mined. The forests were used to make ships and they also traded ceramics, salted fish, figs and almonds. The famous Carthaginian general Hannibal used the qualities of the stone throwers. His soldiers included about 1000 “baliarides” from Ibiza and Mallorca. Hannibal often went to war against the Romans, who took over dominion around the Mediterranean in the last centuries before the beginning of the Christian era.

In 149 BC. The Carthaginians were finally defeated by the Romans and the city of Carthage was totally destroyed. In 123 BC. Mallorca and Menorca were occupied and the important trading center Ibiza (Roman: Ebusus) was given a special status as an ally of the Roman Empire. The Romans built the port of Porus Magnus (now: Sant Antoni de Portmany) in Ibiza and several defenses have been found on Formentera. The salt mines in Ibiza were very important to the Romans. The salt was mainly used to keep foodstuffs on the ships of the Romans. Ibiza and Formentera were also called the Pitiusa Islands in Roman times after the many conifers that grew on the islands at that time.

From the 2nd century on, the inhabitants of the Balearic Islands were Christianized and from the 5th century the islands were successively occupied by Vandals, Byzantines and Germanic Visigoths. This was possible because the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century.

Moors and Catalans

Taifa of DeniaPhoto:Tyk Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

As early as the 7th century, the Moors from North Africa tried to annex the Balearic Islands, but their efforts were not successful until 902. The leader of the Moors, Isam al Jawlani of the emirate of Córdoba, appointed an Islamic governor who settled in Mallorca. The Moors called Ibiza Yebisha, a time later Eivissa, a name that the residents still use today. The islands were mainly used by the Moors to carry out attacks on the French and Catalan coasts. Around the year 1000, the emirate of Córdoba fell apart and the Balearic Islands were taken over by the Islamic kingdom of Denia.

In 1077 the Balearic Islands became an independent 'taifa' (taifas were the areas that fell apart after the fall of the emirate of Córdoba. The main source of income at that time was piracy and especially the Pisa's merchant fleet suffered greatly. Together with the Catalans. Pisa undertook a punitive expedition to the Balearic Islands in 1114 and the city of Medina Mayurqa was completely destroyed, but the inhabitants of the islands received help from an unexpected source, namely the Almoravids, an Islamic sect from North Africa. on the run, but in 1203 the Balearic Islands were still occupied, now by the Almohadians from Denia and Algeria.

Some remarkable things in this period were the construction of a still functioning irrigation system and the reasonable degree of religious freedom that was tolerated despite Islamic rule. Architecture, clothing and music were strongly influenced by Arab culture.

Kingdom of Mallorca

Jaume I of Aragon, IbizaPhoto:Public domain

In 1229 Islamic rule came to an end. Mallorca now came under the control of the conqueror Jaume I of the Spanish Aragón. In 1235 Ibiza came under the authority of the Catalan-Aragonese confederation and eventually became a Catalan domain. Catalan was introduced as the official language at this time. In 1276 Jaume I died and his empire was divided between his two sons, of whom Jaume II got the Balearic Islands. At that time the kingdom of Mallorca was independent.

Under Jaume II and Jaume III, the Balearic Islands prospered economically, much to the annoyance of the king of Aragon. In the following centuries, Ibiza and Formentera suffered greatly from the attacks of Berber pirates or “Corsairs” from North Africa. Spain, meanwhile, had turned its attention to the newly discovered areas in America. Many Ibizens were also formidable pirates who even made use of Molotov cocktails (ampolles de foc = fire bottles). As a result, slaves, both Muslim and Christian, lived in Ibiza for many centuries. These practices did not stop until 1824.

In the 14th century the Aragonese came back into the picture and in 1343 parts of the Balearic Islands were occupied by the armies of Pedro IV. King Jaume III was finally defeated by Pedro in 1349, which marked the end of the kingdom of Majorca and the beginning of a very difficult period for the inhabitants of the islands. They had to pay high taxes and therefore lived in great poverty. The rich merchants could continue their comfortable life and that caused a lot of resentment among the common population.

In 1391 and 1450 this resulted in multiple uprisings and social conflicts between the poor rural population and the urban elite. The elite managed to settle this battle in their favor and dared to raise taxes even further. Until the mid-17th century it remained very restless, especially on Mallorca. The noble families and piracy also caused a lot of unrest. Only from about 1650 did the economy begin to recover somewhat.

Spanish War of SuccessionPhoto:Rebel redcoat Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In the early eighteenth century, the Spanish branch of the Habsburg House died out and a war broke out between the heirs to the throne. From this so-called War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), the Bourbons emerged victorious, and Philip V, a cousin of the French king, ascended the Spanish throne. Philip introduced a new administrative-political system, which turned out badly for the Balearic Islands.

For example, Castilian was introduced as an official language and the islands were subordinated militarily and economically to mainland Spain. In the eighteenth century, more watchtowers were built in Ibiza and Formentera to better defend the islands.

Between 1808 and 1812, Spain waged the war of independence against Napoleon's France. The Balearic Islands were protected by the English, so many people fled from the mainland to the islands. Other events on the mainland also left their mark and had a major impact on the development of the Balearic Islands. This was reinforced when a ferry started operating between Mallorca and the Spanish mainland in 1837.

At that time, the movement "La Renaixença" was also born, which mainly stood up for the islands' own identity. With this movement the first steps were taken towards greater autonomy from the Spanish motherland.

Twentieth century to the present

The relative calm between the two world wars came to an end in the 1930s. First of all, of course, there was the global economic crisis that also hit the Balearic Islands, and in 1936 the popular front, a partnership between communists, socialists, syndicalists and liberal republicans, won electoral victory and a popular front government came to power. Their great adversary, General Francisco Franco, was initially "exiled" as military governor to the Canary Islands.

Map of the Spanish Civil War 1938Photo:Booshank at English Wikipedia CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

However, in 1936 he returned to the mainland and joined other rebel soldiers. Civil war broke out from which Franco emerged victorious in 1939. The Balearic Islands were of course also involved in this black period in Spanish history. In this struggle, Ibiza and Mallorca supported Franco from the start, while Menorca sided with the popular front government. It is striking that under the Franco regime, certainly in the 1940s and 1950s, time in Ibiza almost stood still.

The first hippies came to Ibiza in the 1950s, followed by artists and writers in the 1960s. According to the locals, the date of June 1, 1958 was crucial for the development of Ibiza into a true tourist paradise. This was the day the airport was opened. Worthless pieces of land became more and more expensive, especially when the first tourists landed in Ibiza. In barely twenty years, the island changed from relative poverty to one of the richest Spanish provinces.

Hippie market IbizaPhoto:DetFerMai Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

From the 1970s, Ibiza and Formentera were finally discovered by the tourists, who enjoyed the sun and the culture in large numbers. Tragic was the very serious plane crash on January 7, 1972. 104 people were killed when a passenger plane crashed into Sa Talaia Mountain. In 1975 Franco died and Spain turned into a parliamentary democracy under the impulses of King Juan Carlos de Bourbon. This democratization made the provinces of Spain increasingly autonomous. The first island government was installed on April 19, 1979, and Cosme Vidal Juan was its first president. The next election was won by Antonio Mari Calbet, who remained in office for 20 years.

On October 29, 1977, the first 'green' party (GEN) was founded, which opposed the total dependence on the tourism industry with all its serious consequences for the environment and nature on the island. In 1999, the GEN organized a demonstration against the construction of a golf course in Cala d'Hort. 11,000 people took part, the largest demonstration ever held in Ibiza. One consequence of this demonstration was the decline of the Conservative Party. The elections of June 13, 1999 were won by a leftist colaition called Pacto with the first female president, Pilar Costa.

Ibiza Party IslandPhoto:Lim Ashley Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

In the 21st century, dance culture is emerging and Ibiza is mainly known as "Party Island".

See also the history of Spain on Landenweb.

The beach is for residents and tourists in IbizaPhoto:athinaf Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Ibiza has approx. 140,000 inhabitants (2018), of which about 50,000 live in the capital Eivissa. Only half of the residents were born in Ibiza, the rest are Spaniards from the Iberian Peninsula or citizens from other European countries who have moved to Ibiza.

Traditions and customs have largely been preserved despite all the changes. These customs sometimes date back to Punic, Arab or Roman times. An example are the typical Ibizan farms or "fincas", with the rectangular roofs, where several rectangular buildings surround a large living space. They are reminiscent of the architectural style of the Berbers in North Africa.

Traditional costumes are only worn at folkloric festivals and then old so-called "gaites" songs are also sung. These songs also sound African.

From the mid-1950s many writers and painters settled in Ibiza, followed by the hippies in the late 1960s. The hippies mainly lived in the northern part of Ibiza around Sant Charles.

Every year, millions of tourists flood the four largest islands of the Balearic Islands.


Most residents of Ibiza speak a variant of Catalan, namely Eivissenc or Ibicenco. In addition, of course, almost everyone speaks the Spanish that we know, Castillian. Since 1992, most names of places of interest have been indicated in Eivissenc. For example, the name Ibiza town was finally changed to Eivissa.

Dialect map of Catalan, IbizaPhoto:Pepets Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The islands of Ibiza and Formentera were called Pytioussa and Ophioussa by the ancient Greeks. The Carthaginian settlers gave Ibiza the names Ibosim, Aibusim and Ebusim, after the Egyptian god Bes. At that time the abbreviation IBSM was used on coins.

Ibiza in different languages sounds like this:

The differences between Eivissenc, Catalan and Castilian are often significant:



Bijna alle inwoners van Ibiza zijn aanhangers van het rooms-katholieke geloof, al neemt ook in dit eens katholieke bolwerk de ontkerkelijking hand over hand toe. Tradities en oude gebruiken komen tot leven tijdens feesten, festivals en bedevaarten. Veel feesten hebben een religieuze oorsprong waarbij Maria vaak in het middelpunt van de belangstelling staat.

Kathedraal van IbizaPhoto:Magerius Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Famous are the "romerías", processions where the Roman Catholic faithful of the island, watched by thousands of tourists, carry the effigy of a saint through the streets of town or village or to a shrine on top of a mountain. On July 16, some ports host the "Fiestas de la Virgen del Carmen", celebrations in honor of the patron saint of seafarers. On that day people go out to sea with all kinds of boats and take a statue of the saint with them.

The traditional costume of Ibiza includes a necklace of silver, gold and coral with a medallion with an image of Mary. Girls receive the "emprenada" during their first communion.

The first churches were also built with the arrival of the Christians and King Jaume I. The often conspicuously whitewashed churches, which are characteristic of Ibiza, were also reinforced to offer the population a safe shelter in case of danger. These so-called fortified churches usually have a rectangular shape, small windows, a semi-circular barrel vault and are sometimes surrounded by battlements. Religious festivals are still often held in a courtyard or "porxada" or "portxo". It is also striking that almost every church in Ibiza has different altars and the oldest statues were made by Spanish and Flemish sculptors.

Eivissa Cathedral (Mare de Deu de la Nue or Santa María de las Nieves = Mary of the Snow) is Ibiza's largest church, located in the upper part of Dalt Vila, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The oldest foundations date from 1235 and the construction of the church was not completed until 1592. Most of the paintings date from the 15th century. Due to the many renovations, only the apse and the bell tower have been preserved. Next to the cathedral is the episcopal palace, the residence of the bishop.


State structure

The head of state of Spain, the "Rey de España", is the King of Spain. The king is inviolable and the responsibilities lie with the prime minister and his cabinet. Nevertheless, the king can exercise great influence through his powers. He ratifies and enacts laws; he convenes the Houses of Parliament, dissolves them and organizes elections and referendums. He is also commander in chief of the armed forces and appoints and dismisses ministers.

Cortes SpainPhoto:Ben Bender Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The government consists of the Prime Minister or Presidente del Gobierno, possibly vice-presidents and ministers. The Prime Minister can be compared to the British Prime Minister and the German Chancellor.

The parliament consists of two chambers: the Lower House or Congreso de los Diputados with 350 members and the Senate or Senado with 254 members. Each province may delegate two members to the Congreso, except Ceuta and Melilla. The other members are elected per province and the size of the population is decisive in terms of the number of members that are delegated. For the Senado, the 47 mainland provinces each elect four senators. Mallorca can choose three. The Senate represents the population of the provinces as a whole, regardless of their size. This system is on the nomination to be abolished.

For the current political situation of Spain see chapter history.

Administrative division.

Ibiza has five municipalitiesPhoto:Joan M. Borràs Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic no changes made

Ibiza, together with Formentera, forms an autonomous region, one of the Comunidades Autónomas, with its own government and parliament (Spanish: Consells). Each Autónomia has a varying package of powers that is laid down in an Estatuto de Autonomía. Each Autonomía has a regional parliament (Asamblea Legislativa), a regional government (Consejo de Gobierno), a regional president (Presidente del Consejo) and a regional supreme court (Tribunal Superior de Justicia). The regional parliament consists of one chamber from which the regional prime minister is elected.

Spain is divided into 50 provinces, with the main provincial body being the Diputacíon Provincial, the Provincial Council. It contains between 25 and 51 members or diputados. These are elected by municipal councilors. The diputados again elect a daily board, the Comisíon de Gobierno.

In 1998 there were 8 097 municipalities or municipios in Spain. In municipalities between 250 and 100,000 inhabitants, the municipal council or Ayuntamiento has between 5 and 25 members. An Ayuntamiento consists of a mayor or Alcalde, one or more deputy mayors or Tenientes de Alcalde and councilors or Consejales.

There are still many municipalities with fewer than 100 inhabitants. Of all municipalities, 86% has less than 500 inhabitants. Ibiza has five municipalities.


Logo of universitat de les illes balears, IbizaPhoto:Rotger Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The education system in Spain has been changing dramatically since 1990. Primary education already works with the new system. Pre-primary education (Jardin de Infancia and Escuela de Párvulos) consists of a three-year and a six-year system that is not compulsory.

Primary education from 6 to 12 years old (Educación Primaria) is compulsory and free. This phase in education consists of three cycles of two years each. This is followed by compulsory secondary education (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria) from 12 to 16 years old. After this, compulsory education ends. The ESO has two cycles of two years, after which one receives a certificate with which one can, among other things, go to vocational training.

After compulsory education, students can continue studying for the Bachillerato, which gives access to the university.

Secondary vocational education (Formación Profesional Grado Medio) is not much appreciated in Spain. It will take an average of about two years and train directly for professions.

Higher professional education (Formación Profesional Grado Superior) and the university (Universidad) form the final part of the education system. Spain currently has 62 state universities and some twenty private universities. The University of Salamanca dates back to 1218, making it one of the oldest universities in the world.

The Balearic Islands also have a university, the Universitat de les Illes Balears, with an annex in Ibiza. A special feature is the Morna International College, whose study program is based on English education and teaches in English. The children learn Spanish from the age of three and German from the age of five. Most of the teachers and educators have studied in England.


Shipping and fishing

Ibiza PortPhoto:David Sim Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Balearic Islands used to be a transit area for ships bound for Africa or returning to Europe. The port of Palma de Mallorca in particular was very important in this, and grew into one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean. The ports of Eivissa and Sant Antoni are much smaller and therefore less important. They currently play a major role for transport between the islands, especially for tourists. There are numerous pleasure boats in the harbors. Although completely surrounded by the waters of the Mediterranean, fishing is also of little economic importance. It used to be a very fish-rich area, but because of overfishing there is almost nothing left of it.

Agriculture and animal husbandry

Carob tree, IbizaPhoto:SuperJew Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Agriculture and livestock farming are of secondary importance to the economy and are really only aimed at the domestic market. There are some dairy farms and some farmers who keep goats, sheep, poultry and pigs. Approx. 40% of Ibiza's surface is used for agriculture. The products are often sold to restaurants and hotels. Characteristic of Ibiza are the "paredes", stone walls that must prevent the earth from washing away in the winter, during heavy rain showers. The total length is estimated at about 10,000 kilometers, their age at about 1,000 years. The yields of the carob trees have increased in recent years; the cores of the fruits are a raw material for the chemical industry. Other agricultural products are potatoes, apricots, figs and almonds.

Industry and fashion

Salt pans IbizaPhoto:Matthias Princk Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic no changes made

The only industries that provide some extra income are the salt extraction in the salt pans and the cement industry. The salt pans or "salines" of Ibiza produce approximately 60 tons of salt annually. Furthermore, traditional products are made for the tourists and some musical instruments. Part of the required energy is generated by means of solar energy.

Ibiza's second largest source of income is the so-called adlib mode (ad libitum = as you like it). Adlib fashion has been marketed by contemporary fashion designers since the 1970s and is characterized by the great freedom to design your own style.

Ibiza Old townPhoto:Xaviduran Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The economy of the Balearic Islands has grown tremendously due to tourism, making it the richest province in Spain. Annually about 10 million tourists visit Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca. In the 1960s it slowly became clear that tourism would become a gold mine for the economically ailing island. From the 1970s onwards, Europeans came to the island in large numbers and the areas around the famous beaches were filled with hotels, restaurants and apartment complexes. In the 1980s, the share of tourism in the Ibizan economy became increasingly important and the number of jobs also increased sharply, especially in construction, hotel and catering. That this "monoculture" is dangerous became clear in the late 1980s. The growth of tourism slowed down sharply, causing many companies to close their doors.

Quiet beach IbizaPhoto:Mr Pepanos Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Due to the many tourists, nature and the environment came under increasing pressure. Fortunately, more and more attention is being paid to this. To preserve nature, about a third of Ibiza was protected. These include green areas and a 100-meter-wide coastal strip, which may not be built on. In addition, historic sites were restored and embellishments were made. The ports were given new promenades and the villages car-free zones.

The hippie market of Santa Eulària des Riu is a happening that attracts tourists and locals alike. The old town center of Ibiza town is known as Dalt Vila. Here is the cathedral and pieces of the 16th century wall can still be seen.

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Mallorca & Ibiza, Menorca & Formentera
APA Publications

Mischke, R. / Ibiza, Formentera
Het Spectrum

Rokebrand, R. / Reishandboek Ibiza en Formentera

Sale, R. / Ibiza & Formentera

Schmid, N. / Ibiza, Formentera

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated September 2021
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