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Ibiza (island)

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Ibiza (island)

This article is about the island. For the town, see Ibiza (town). For the car, see SEAT Ibiza. For other uses, see Ibiza (disambiguation).

Native name: Eivissa
Flag of Ibiza
Balearic Islands
Location Balearic Sea

Coordinates: 38°59′N 1°26′E / 38.98°N 1.43°E / 38.98; 1.43

Archipelago Balearic Islands, Pine Islands
Area 571.6 km2 (220.7 sq mi)
Highest elevation 475 m (1,558 ft)
Highest point Sa Talaiassa
Country Spain
Autonomous Community Balearic Islands
Province Balearic Islands
Capital city Ibiza Town
Largest city Ibiza Town (pop. 49,516)
Population 132,637 (as of 1 January 2010)
Density 231.6 /km2 (599.8 /sq mi)
Additional information
Official languages:
Catalan, Spanish

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Ibiza, Biodiversity and Culture
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List

View of the port from the ramparts
Type Mixed
Criteria ii, iii, iv, ix, x
Reference UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1999 (23rd Session)

Ibiza (Catalan: Eivissa [əjˈvisə])[p] is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, 79 kilometres (49 miles) off the coast of the city of Valencia in eastern Spain. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain. Its largest cities 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.

While it is one-sixth the size of nearby Majorca, Ibiza is over five times the size of Mykonos (Greece), or ten times the size of Manhattan Island. Ibiza has become famous for the association with nightlife and the electronic music that originated on the island. It is well known for its summer club scene which attracts very large numbers of tourists, though the island's government and the Spanish Tourist Office have controversially been working to promote more family-oriented tourism. Noted clubs include Space, Privilege, Amnesia, Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, Pacha, DC10, Eden, and Es Paradis.

Ibiza is the home of the noted "port" in Ibiza Town, a popular stop for many tourists and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[1]

Ibiza and the nearby island of Formentera to its south are called the Pine Islands, or "Pityuses".


The official name of the island is in Catalan "Eivissa" (pronounced: [əjˈvisə]). Iys name in Spanish is Ibiza (pronounced: [iˈβiθa]). In British English, the name is usually pronounced in an approximation of the Spanish /ɪˈbθəˌ ɪˈvθə/,[2] whereas in American English the pronunciation is more anglicized, or closer to Latin American Spanish (/ɪˈbzə/,[3] /ˈbsə/[4]).[5][6]

The origin of the name of the island is in the Phoenician language: יִבּוֹסִים Yibosim.


In 654 BC, Phoenician settlers founded a port in the Balearic Islands, as Ibossim (from the Phoenician "iboshim" dedicated to the god of the music and dance Bes).[7] It was later known to Romans as "Ebusus". The Greeks, who came to Ibiza during the time of the Phoenicians, were the first to call the two islands of Ibiza and Formentera as the Pityûssae (Greek: Πιτυοῦσσαι, "pine-covered islands").[8] 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, where numerous Balearic mercenaries hired on, no doubt as slingers,[9] to fight for Carthage.

During the Second Punic War, the island was assaulted by the two Scipio brothers in 209 BC, but remained loyal to Carthage. With the Carthaginian military failing on the Iberian mainland, Ibiza was last used by the fleeing Carthaginian General Mago to gather supplies and men before sailing to Minorca and then to Liguria. Ibiza negotiated a favorable treaty with the Romans, which spared Ibiza from further destruction and allowed it to continue its Carthaginian-Punic institutions well into the Empire days, when it became an official Roman municipality. For this reason, Ibiza today contains excellent examples of late Carthaginian-Punic civilization. During the Roman Empire, the island became a quiet imperial outpost, removed from the important trading routes of the time.

After the fall of the Roman empire and a brief period of first Vandal and then Byzantine rule, the island was conquered by the Moors in 990, the few remaining locals converted to Islam and Berber settlers came in. Under Islamic rule, Ibiza 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.

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 Mallorca and the mainland Levant. New Christian colonists were brought in 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, Minorca, 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 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).


Ibiza is administratively part of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands, whose capital is Palma, on the island of Majorca. Ibiza comprises 5 of the community's 67 municipalities. Clockwise from the south coast, these are:

Municipality Area in
square km
Census population
1 November 2001
Estimated population
1 January 2010
Sant Josep de sa Talaia 159.4 14,267 22,871
Sant Antoni de Portmany 126.8 15,081 22,136
Sant Joan de Labritja 121.7 4,094 5,477
Santa Eulària des Riu 153.6 19,808 32,637
Vila d'Eivissa (Ibiza) 11.1 34,826 49,516
Totals 572.6 88,076 132,637

These municipalities had a total population of 88,076 inhabitants (as of the 2001 census), which had risen to an estimated 132,637 by the start of 2010, and have a land area of 572.56 km2 (221.07 sq mi).


The summer climate of Ibiza typically ranges in the upper-20s °C (70s-80s °F), rarely reaching 30.0 °C (86 °F), with overnight lows below 21.8 °C (71 °F). The winter, off-season temperature reaches lows of 8.1–14.2 °C (46.6–57.6 °F), with highs in the upper-teens °C (60s °F).

Climate data for Eivissa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 15.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.8
Average low °C (°F) 8.1
Precipitation mm (inches) 38
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 5 5 4 4 3 2 1 2 4 6 5 5 46
Mean monthly sunshine hours 161 167 207 243 277 297 335 302 237 198 164 148 2,732
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[10]


Demographically, Ibiza displays a very peculiar configuration, as census agencies diverge on exact figures. According to the 2001 national census, Ibiza had 88,076 inhabitants (against 76,000 in 1991, 64,000 in 1981, 45,000 in 1971, and 38,000 in 1961). However, two years later, this figure jumped to 108,000 (Govern de les Illes Balears - IBAE 2004), and by the start of 2010 had reached 132,637. This rapid growth stems from the amnesty which incorporated a number of unregistered foreign migrants. In terms of origin, about 55 percent of island residents were born in Ibiza, 35 percent are domestic migrants from mainland Spain (mostly working-class families from Andalusia, and the remainder from Catalonia, Valencia and Castile), and the remaining 10 to 15 percent are foreign, dual and multi-national citizens of the EU and abroad (Govern de les Illes Balears - IBAE 1996). In decreasing order, foreigners are Germans, British, Latin Americans, French, Italians, Dutch, in addition to a myriad of other nationalities. This mosaic reflects the fluidity of foreigners living and moving across the island, in ways that render impossible to exactly quantify the expatriate population (Rozenberg 1990).

The Spanish composer and music theorist Miguel Roig-Francolí was born in Ibiza,[11] as was the politician and Spain's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abel Matutes.[12] Notable former residents of Ibiza include: English punk musician John Simon Ritchie (Sid Vicious),[13] the psychedelic rock band Philiac, comic actor Terry-Thomas,[14] Hungarian master forger Elmyr de Hory,[15] American fraudster Clifford Irving, and film director/actor Orson Welles.[16]


Eivissenc is the native dialect of Catalan that is spoken on Ibiza and nearby Formentera. Catalan shares co-official status with Spanish.[17] Additionally, because of the influence of tourism and expatriates living in or maintaining residences on the island, other languages like German, English and Italian, are widely spoken. Polylinguality is the norm, not the exception.



Ibiza is considered to be a popular tourist destination, especially due to its legendary and at times riotous nightlife centred around two areas: Ibiza Town, the island's capital on the southern shore and Sant Antoni to the West.[1] Well-known nightclubs are Privilege, Amnesia, Space, Pacha, Eden, Es Paradís, Underground and DC10.[1] During the summer, the top producers and DJs in dance come to the island and play at the various clubs, in between touring to other international destinations. Some of the most famous DJs run their own weekly nights around the island. Many of these DJs use Ibiza as an outlet for presenting new songs within the house, trance and techno genres of electronic dance music. The city has achieved renown worldwide fame as a cultural center for house and trance in particular, with its name often being used as a partial metonym for the particular flavor of electronic music originating there, much like Goa in India.

Since 2005, the live music event, Ibiza Rocks, has helped to redefine the Ibiza party landscape. Bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, The Prodigy, and the Kaiser Chiefs have played in the courtyard of the Ibiza Rocks Hotel. And from 2013 Ushuaïa Ibiza "will be turned into a giant ant colony to coincide with the new ANTS dance music events every Saturday".[18]

Elsewhere on the island, underground music parties are common and enjoyed by the many international musicians, artists, and travelers that are drawn to the unique creative environment of Ibiza.

The season traditionally begins at the start of June with Space and DC10's opening parties and finishes on the first weekend of October with the Closing Parties. A typical schedule for clubbers going to Ibiza includes waking at noon, early evening naps, late night clubbing, and "disco sunrises." Due to Ibiza's notable tolerance toward misbehaviour from young adult tourists, it has acquired the sobriquet "Gomorrah of the Med." Also well-known is Café del Mar, a long-standing bar where many tourists traditionally view the sunset made famous by José Padilla, who has released more than a dozen eponymous album compilations of ambient music played at the location. That and other bars nearby have become an increasingly popular venue for club pre-parties after sunset, hosting popular DJ performers.

The island's government is trying to encourage a more cultured and quieter tourism scene, passing rules including the closing of all nightclubs by 6 a.m. at the latest, and requiring all new hotels to be 5-star.[19] The administration wants to attract a more international mixture of tourists.[20]

World Heritage Site

Though primarily known for its party scene, large portions of the island are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites,[21] and thus protected from the development and commercialization of the main cities. A notable example includes "God's Finger" in the Benirràs Bay as well as some of the more traditional Ibizan cultural sites such as the remains of the first Phoenicians settlement at Sa Caleta. Other sites are still under threat from the developers, such as Ses Feixes Wetlands,[22] but this site has now been recognised as a threatened environment, and it is expected that steps will be taken to preserve this wetland.

Because of its rustic beauty, companies and artists alike frequently use the island for photographic and film shoots. A monument ("The Egg") erected in honour of Christopher Columbus can be found in Sant Antoni; Ibiza is one of several places purporting to be his birthplace.


Since the early days of mass tourism on the island, there have been a large number of development projects ranging from successful ventures, such as the super clubs at Space and Privilege, to failed development projects, such as Josep Lluís Sert's abandoned hotel complex at Cala D'en Serra,[23] the half-completed and now demolished "Idea" nightclub in Sant Antoni,[24] and the ruins of a huge restaurant/nightclub in the hills near Sant Josep called "Festival Club" that only operated for three summer seasons in the early 1970s.[25] In 2013, Ibiza property prices generally remained above market value, and many of the development projects on the island have now been completed or continue, as well as some new projects announced at the end of 2012. Since 2009, Ibiza has seen an increase in tourist numbers every year, with nearly 6 million people traveling through Ibiza Airport in 2012. The summer season has become concentrated between June and September, focusing on the "clubbing calendar"[26] which is currently booming. In recent years, the luxury market has dramatically improved, and with new restaurants, clubs, and improvements to the marina in Ibiza Town, this looks set to continue in 2013.


Ibiza is served by Ibiza Airport, which has many international flights during the summer tourist season, especially from the European Union.

There are also ferries from the harbour of Sant Antoni and Ibiza Town to Barcelona, Majorca, Dénia, and Valencia. There are also ferries to Formentera leaving Sant Antoni Harbour (normally every Wednesday), and daily from Ibiza Town, Santa Eulària, and Figueretes–Platja d'en Bossa.

Several public busses also travel between Sant Antoni and Ibiza Town—every 15 minutes in summer and every half hour in winter. In addition, there are buses from Sant Antoni to Cala Bassa, Cala Conta and Cala Tarida, and to the Airport. From Ibiza there are buses to the Platja d'en Bossa, Ses Salines, the Airport, and Santa Eulària.


Ibiza's local cuisine is typically Mediterranean. Of the most common culinary products of the island are sweets known as flaons. Other savory dishes include sofrit pagès, bollit de peix (fish stew), arròs de matança (rice with pork) and arròs a la marinera.

Cultural references

A number of novels have been written using Ibiza as the setting, including Joshua Then and Now by Mordecai Richler, Soma Blues by Robert Sheckley,[27] Vacation in Ibiza by Lawrence Schimel,[28] A Short Life on a Sunny Isle: An Alphonse Dantan Mystery by Hannah Blank,[29] They Are Ruining Ibiza by A. C. Greene,[30] and The Python Project by Victor Canning.[31] The 1960 novel Out of the Red into the Blue, by the English novelist Barbara Comyns Carr, is based on the island. Part of The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher takes place on Ibiza.

The song "We're Going to Ibiza" by Vengaboys also featured the island's notorious nightlife as the ideal location for vacations. In Jennifer Lopez's song "On the Floor", the lyrics include, "Brazil, Morocco, London to Ibiza". In LCD Soundsystem's song "Losing My Edge" the lyrics say "I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988". In JoJo's song "Sexy to Me" the lyrics state, "We gon rock the party like we up in Ibiza". Also the song "One Night In Ibiza" (by Mike Candys) gives the island a central role. Swedish House Mafia has a song called "Miami 2 Ibiza". Approaching Nirvana has a song named "I Dream of Ibiza". The Midnight Beast put out a song about Ibiza called "Pizza in Ibiza". The 1969 film More was filmed on location in Ibiza, and the soundtrack by Pink Floyd features a song titled "Ibiza Bar". The 2004 film It's All Gone Pete Tong was filmed in Ibiza. Also the 2000 film Kevin and Perry Go Large was filmed on location in Ibiza. In addition there is the 1995 French hit Mélissa, métisse d'Ibiza by Julien Clerc. The 2011 video game Test Drive Unlimited 2 is set upon two islands: Ibiza and Oahu (one of the Hawaiian Islands). Both islands have been modeled mostly accurate by using satellite data but Ibiza in the game has a desert added to it to replace cropland north-west of Ibiza Town. "The Cool Kids" member Chuck Inglish references the island in the song "Gas Station". British-Irish boy band The Wanted filmed the video for the hit single "Glad You Came" in and around Ibiza. German luxury fashion house Escada had a fragrance called Ibiza Hippie (in 2003 but now discontinued).[32] Pop superstar Christina Aguilera mentioned the island of Ibiza in her song "Around the World" from her album Lotus stating, "We're making love worldwide, Brazil to Ibiza, baby just wanna please you". Rap superstar Nicki Minaj also makes reference to the island of Ibiza in her song "Pound the Alarm" stating, "Skeezer please I'm in Ibiza, Giuseppe Zanotti my own sneaker".

In the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle mentions Ibiza and Bruce Wayne corrects her on the pronunciation (although the correction is still wrong). In The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack, there is a bonus song called "Bombers over Ibiza".

One of Ibiza's arguably biggest contributors to the lavish club scene came in mid-2007, from world-renowned electronic artist Tiesto. After a string of successful releases from his famous In Search Of Sunrise compilation CDs, he released In Search of Sunrise 6: Ibiza.


See also



External links

  • (local government) (Catalan)
  • The Guardian

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