Ibiza LandmarksNicole Torres
In 1992 this sculpture was built to commemorate the 500th annyversary of the discovery of America and because of a legend that says Christopher Columbus was born on this part of the island. Createt by three men: Antoni Hormigo, Julio Bauzá and Julio Ojeda. It is built of reinforced concrete and stands six metres tall in the centre of the roundabout on the way in to San Antonio. Representing the egg Columbus supposedly used to convince Queen Isabel of Castilla to finance his voyage, an iron replica of the Santa María – the head ship used on the first voyage – with its prow pointing west, towards America.
As you stroll down Vara de Rey in the centre of Ibiza Town, you find a huge statue of a man sword in hand, around which children play and people have their photo taken. This man was General Joaquín Vara de Rey y Rubio, born in the castle of Ibiza and who later died fighting the American Army during the Independence of Cuba, at the battle of El Caney. It was built with donations given by the people from Ibiza and its inauguration was in 1904, was attended by King Alfonso XIII.
As you drive towards the port of Ibiza, in the middle of one of the roundabouts there is a huge hand with seven dogs in different hunting positions on top. This monument is in honour of the Ibizan hound or Podenco Ibicenco and is an idea of Andreu Moreno. This dog is typical to the island, it has been used to assist hunting thanks to its great sight and hearing. It is thought this dog was introduced to the island in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians or Carthaginians.
The Sant Antoni Shouting man – as he is commonly known in the British community – is a representation of an Ibicenco shouting an uc. This uc shouting is a very old tradition in Ibiza and Formentera and was used to communicate with neighbour as houses were far from each other and because it the message was received quickly. Nowadays this practice has died out and is usually only heard at folk displays – I say usually because I used to hear it at home, Granddad taught me!
As a shout, the uc depends a lot on the person shouting and for what reason. It was used to call a meeting / party, to say hi, and to alert from a danger, sometimes even to laugh at a rival. The sound would be something close to Iatuuuuuuuuuu Iaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Ajajajai! Imagine walking around the fields in Ibiza and hearing that, thank goodness for mobile phones!
The Familiar or Fameliar (it can be found written both ways has to be kept inside a dark bottle to bring good luck to the home. If you do let it out its bottle, you have to activate its imagination, you might have some trouble if you don’t! The Familiar’s motto (and the only thing they know how to say apparently) is “feina o menjar” which means “work or food”, the little spirit wants to be fed or given work to do. But, beware! There is a catch, the Familiars are very hard workers and great eaters. If you leave your Familiar at a job, you might come back to find he has eaten your whole garden or all your furniture. Some stories tell us the trick is to give them an impossible job to finish like asking them to grab a fart with its hand (that’s Ibicenco humour for you!)
The Familiars live below the old Roman bridge in Santa Eulalia. There, according to ancient lore, on the night of San Juan on the 23rd of June, if there is a full moon in the sky, you have to pick a special/mythical type of grass or flower that only grows at midnight and last minutes before it dies, put this into a dark bottle and you have captured a Familiar. Recently, in the renewed Passeig de S’Alamera in Santa Eulalia, three little statues representing these fantastic creatures have been placed. There are more of these statues around the river area.