Ibiza is renowned for its spiritual side. Through the centuries it has been home to many cultures and faiths including Greeks, Romans, Moors and Catalans which left their stamp on the island. The name itself references Bes, the Phoenician god of music and dance. To experience the spiritual life of Ibiza, pay a visit to these five sacred spaces.
Looming out of the sea, Es Vedra stands by Ibiza like a sentinel. The limestone rock islet is reputed to be the third most magnetic place on earth and to be the centre of spiritually significant ley lines. Regardless of whether you believe all this, it is hard to deny there is a special feel about Es Vedra. Some of our team reported seeing lights moving in the sea nearby, late at night. They were pretty sure it was a guided swim group, but that’s not to say there aren’t mysterious forces at work!
Cova d’es Cuieram, near St Vicente
The oldest house of worship on Ibiza is Cova d’es Cuieram, a cave temple high on a hill between the village of St Vicente and Cala Sant Vicente. It was dedicated to the Phoenician fertility goddess Tanit and re-discovered in the 1970s. Experts believe it was used from around the fifth century to second century BC. They found more than 600 clay statues of Tanit, along with a rock altar that was used to make animal sacrifices. The short hike to the cave is beautiful and if you continue down the trail it takes you through peaceful forest to the main road.
If you walk the full length of Salinas beach you will come to flat, rocky headlands that lie between it and Es Cavallet. In this area there are many small coves, the largest of which is filled with ornately carved sandstone. The carvings resemble tribal art but it’s not clear how long they’ve been there or who carved them. Passers-by have built rock cairns of various sizes in the cove, adding to its somewhat mystical air. Whether or not it is intended as a place of worship, it is certainly one of the unique sights of Ibiza!
Sacred Heart Statue, outside Sant Antoni
One of the lesser-known aspects of Ibiza’s history is what happened during the Spanish Civil War. The island was not immune to the conflict. When Republicans won control several Catholic priests were killed. However, Ibicencos protected the clergy as best they could. Antonio Cardona Reiera was a priest who survived because the local community gave him sanctuary. In gratitude and remembrance, he commissioned a statue called Sagrat Cor de Jesus (Sacred Heart of Jesus). The statue resembles the famous Christ the Redeemer outside Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. It stands as a reminder that the true spirit of Ibiza is to respect and defend the rights of everyone, regardless of their beliefs.
What’s your “sacred space” on Ibiza? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments!