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History, ancient and modern, in Sa Caleta

Spanish Civil War and ancient history in Ibiza.

One of Ibiza's World Heritage Sites, the Phoenician settlement at Sa Caleta, is to get a new information centre whose own history is just as fascinating. If you've ever been to the area, perhaps to visit Bol Nou beach and its vertiginous red cliffs, you'll have seen the ruins of the Phoenicians' little town which dates back to around 650 BC but was only discovered in the 80's.

You also may have seen some rather strange cylindrical structures sunk into the ground like abandoned swimming pools covered in graffiti and with interconnecting tunnels. You can see them circled in red on the map.

They are actually the housings for anti-aircraft batteries which were constructed during the Spanish Civil War in 1936/37 and are the best preserved of a whole series of installations along the south coast built to protect Ibiza Town and the airport, then a military airfield, from aerial attack.

Now, the Consell of Ibiza has declared the batteries as 'Good Cultural Interest' (BIC) because they are a 'palpable testament to our past history' and should be preserved. Their very presence tells a tale of the terrible civil war in Spain when there were some pretty nasty things went on here in Ibiza, and also the Second World war, when the batteries were fully manned and on alert throughout the conflict. Even though Spain was ostensibly neutral during the war, Hitler tried to persuade his great admirer Franco to enter the conflict on the Axis side, hence the preparation for possible allied bombing attacks.

Now that they've been declared as BIC, there are plans to turn the batteries into an information centre for the settlement, whose full size and scale is not yet known as excavations are still taking place and new discoveries still being made.

Sounds like a good idea to me as there isn't much information to be had at the site itself which is enclosed by a protective fence. What do you think?

PHOTOGRAPHY | Sobrassada (Wikipedia)

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