Dalt Villa (Castle) – Place to see in Ibiza
You’re better off on foot, in sensible shoes, exploring the narrow, winding, steep cobbled streets and magnificent views from the breaks in the high ramparts and the vast terraces at each level (Dalt Vila actually means ‘Upper Town’). The dramatic main entrance is up a slope, crossing a drawbridge through the Portal de Ses Taules, flanked by mighty statues in roman stone, entering into an ancient cobbled stone courtyard, giving immediately on to the Plaza de Vila or main square.
The other entrance, Portal Nou (reached from behind the Plaza del Parque) has a more gradual ascent. Take your time as there’s so much fascinating detail. Traditionally black clad Ibicencos, untouched by time or change, go about their lives in the ancient, Gothic Catalan buildings overhanging the streets.
Sturdy wooden doors ajar reveal spacious stone courtyards and private chapels. The gift shops and art galleries on the walk up to the cathedral are treasure troves of the unusual and unique works of talented local crafts people.
One of Ibiza’s most spectacular hotels, La Torre del Canonigo, with uninterrupted views of the harbour and the surrounding castle, can also be found in Dalt Vila, as well as the renownedMirador de Dalt Vila opposite the town hall.
There are many first class restaurants in Dalt Vila like La Oliva “Candlelit dinners in a Medieval castle under the Mediterranean stars” – can you imagine anything more romantic?
Looking down from the battlements by the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows, their are some wonderful panoramic views. Look down on the red tiled cupolas of the 16th century church ofSanto Domingo. From here you can also spot the statue of General Joaquin Vara de Rey, the Ibicenco hero of the Cuban War, standing proudly at the centre of the Main Square which bears his name.
Here is also the archaeological museum with many collections from the Carthaginian era. The museum Museo Puig des Molins set in the Carthaginian burial grounds is to be recommended – Ibiza is home to one of the world’s most impressive Roman museum collections, with artifacts on display which have been found exclusively on the island.
A room which contained an exit to the outside of the old castle in Ibiza Town was discovered (2002) full of pottery, armaments & other objects used in everyday life in Ibiza from Phoenician times right up to the 13th Century.
The room connected 2 towers of the castle during the Arab occupation of the island & would be used as a way for the population to retreat into the castle in times of attack. As a way of stopping the attackers following them, it was the custom to fill the room with earth to block securely the entrance from the outside. It is thought that when the castle was overrun by the invading knights from mainland Spain this room remained buried full of earth & was forgotten about until it was discovered just recently. This is the reason why all the objects that have been found are in such a good state & are really giving the archaeologists an insight into life in Ibiza at this time.