(by Pablo Burgués)
In 1235, James I of Aragon asked a couple of Catalan friends, led by Guillem of Montgrí (archbishop of Tarragona and bravo!) to snatch Ibiza away from the Arabs. After five months of hard siege, the city fell into Christian hands on August 5th, and the process was so bizarre, surrealist and folkloric that the event immediately turned into a compulsory study topic in all the serious universities of celebrity journalism. And if you don’t believe me you can check it clicking here.
Well, it’s said that the Christians, who were learned and unresentful people who loved one’s neighbours as themselves (or even more) decided to smooth things over with their prisoners and took them to go for a walk around the island. The idea was to take all of them to watch the sunset at San Antonio and enjoy a deserved snack there, at the wonderful Aperture flat roof of Marina Playa Hotel.
However, at a certain point of the route they got lost and inadvertently they arrived to the top of a huge cliff over the sea. As they were there, and so that the Arabs could have a fancy anecdote to tell their friends when they went back home, the Christian soldiers politely invited them to leap into the void. Don’t ask me why, but that idea didn’t captivate the Arabs very much, and they started to shout with one voice: No, no, no, no! And, according to the legend, this is the reason why that big mountain is now known as Cap Nonó.
OK, there is another theory that tells that the name doesn’t have that origin, and that it’s indeed a tribute to one of the participants of the conquest of Ibiza, called Nunó Sanç… But it’s very sad to prefer this anodyne version instead of the Arabs inventing Balconing.
The next Christian manoeuvre orchestrated by the Archbishop of Tarragona, who was a professed art and historical memory lover, was to turn the major mosque of Ibiza into a beautiful piece of land over which the Cathedral of the city began to be built.
Over the course of the following centuries, the churches of Sant Jordi, Santa Eulària, Sant Miquel and Sant Antoni were built. All of them were fortified churches that were used as refuges by Ibiza people during the constant lootings they suffered at the hands of Berber pirates. The attacks were so frequent and bloody that Formentera even became completely uninhabited. To end with these surprise attacks, the Spanish Crown built the watchtowers that can be seen nowadays along Ibiza coast.
I cannot finish this post without reminding all those who love lush and licentiousness that, every August, as part of the activities of the Festes de la Terra, the authorities of Ibiza commemorate the Arabs expulsion with a mass and a floral tribute to the statue of Guillem of Montgrí (located at Plaça d’Espanya de Dalt Vila). All this is very crazy and wild.
Translation: Dora Sales
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