The city of Eivissa faces both the sea and the acropolis. Dalt Vila’s fortification is integrated into the locals’ everyday life. This is where they have breakfast, go shopping, and enjoy nightlife. It is also a magnificent place for important artistic social and cultural events. Its Renaissance defensive walls are composed of seven bastions. One of them, Sant Pere, located next to the Reina Sofia Park, is one of the gates to the fortification, where soldiers used to stand to fight against their enemies in the past. Nowadays it is used for outdoor concerts.
Another gate to Dalt Vila is the Portal de ses Taules, with a stunning outer bailey. Next to it, the visitor will find the Plaça da Vila, a square crammed with pretty restaurants, art galleries and handicrafts shops, all of them surrounded by a stone frame that gives the visitor a feeling of being part of History. If you keep on going through the Calle Sa Carrosa, you will be able to enter Santa Llúcia’s bastion, which houses a XVIII century powder magazine. Wonderful views of the Eivissa Harbour and the Bay can also be enjoyed from here. Halfway to the bastion, there is a bronze statue seated on a bench. It is Don Isidor Macabich, a priest and Historian who was the first person who study the island’s past in real depth.
There are signposts all along the route. On your way to Sant Jordi’s bastion you will find the Ronda Calvi, where archaeological remains of an Islamic defensive wall can be observed. The next bastion is Sant Bernat, which offers an amazing view to Formentera and Ses Salines. It was in this bastion where the artillery was prepared in order to defend the city from sea attacks. Just below there is a tunnel called Es Soto Fosc that leads outside the enclosure. Beyond the bastion of Santa Tecla, East of the Cathedral, a short part of the fortification curtain disappears into the cliff. It served both as a natural defensive wall and a beautiful vantage point overlooking the sea. There is a tunnel just below the ravelin which leads to the Council of Eivissa.
The next bastion is Sant Joan, which was refurbished in the 1960s to create a new gate so that locals could enter Dalt Vila by car. In fact, only residents are allowed to use it as long as they have a card issued by the Council.
Eivissa’s Renaissance defensive wall was erected as part of a plan to modernise the defence of the Meditarranean coast line. This strategic plan, created by Charles V (I of Spain) and Philip II of Spain, aimed at maintaining and defending Spanish Crown’s territories against France and the Ottoman Empire in times of war.
When the Turkish and Berber pirates attacks decreased and the island ceased being the target of new assaults, the acropolis remained as a vestige of those times and was later declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In fact, it is the only fortification in Europe which is preserved as a whole, together with La Valetta’s enclosure in Malta.