The fascinating history behind Ses Feixes wetland

Between Ibiza and Talamanca beach, there is a wetland area, known as Ses Feixes, that offers a fantastic natural haven for wildlife.

Just like the luxurious hotels that attract millions of people to the island every season, Ses Feixes welcomes more than 140 species of birds that migrate to this fabulous “all-inclusive” destination to share the fertile lands with a great variety of flora and fauna including reptiles, and even rare bats. Considering how fast these regions are disappearing in the Mediterranean, it is easy to see why it is mandatory to protect them and keep our environment balanced and safe.

What not everyone knows is that in ancient times, when the Moors were the inhabitants of the island, most of the fruits, vegetables, and grain were cultivated in Ses Feixes wetland, which used to occupy a total area of 600,000 m2 (going as far as the old town and beyond). In these fertile plantations, you could have found cabbages, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, beans, and sweet potato growing in ideal conditions.

The area, which is subdivided into 164 small holdings, is a magnificent legacy of the Muslim community, unique in the world in terms of its irrigation system. Thanks to their advanced and complex agriculture knowledge, they built a fabulous network connecting canals and ditches across the lands to ensure perfect irrigation, taking any excess of water to the sea, and also dividing the properties. Some of the original entrance arches of the plots, known as portals de feixa (‘feixa’ meaning patch or bed), are still there.

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This week I attended the presentation of an incredible new graphic novel bringing to life the history of Ibiza and Formentera. 'La Historia d'Eivissa i Formentera' has been illustrated by Joan Escandell with text written by Lluis Ferrer Ferrer… It is a mind-blowing visual voyage through these islands over the past 2000+ years, including the Carthaginian, Moorish, Roman and other waves of conquest. I particularly love this illustration of the now-barren area of Ses Feixes, on the outskirts of Ibiza town, illustrating the fertile paradise it once was in the times of the Moors… An amazing work, I'd recommend getting your hands on a copy! 🌿 #ibizahistory #ibizaculture #graphicnovel #joanescandell #visualstorytelling #moorishhistory #carthaginian #romanhistory #ibizafolklore #ibizawriters #sesfeixes #eivissacartagena #eivissamedieval #eivissanoesibiza #eivissa #ibiza

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There is hope about building an interpretation centre but nothing has been confirmed. After the intentional fire in which 8 hectares were burnt in 2017, the future of the wetland is unknown. However, the Ibiza Preservation Fund and other organisations are raising awareness of the environmental and cultural significance of this ancient wetland that we should protect.

Photograph of the Visitor Centre model by Mike Deeds

Perhaps, next time you are around Talamanca beach or the port, you can take a little time to walk around Ses Feixes, listen to the birds, enjoy the landscape, and imagine how it was back in the days. Then, you might come to the thought that the beauty of Ibiza has no age, and how good it feels to be able to see it, even if it is just for a glimpse.

Featured image: tourism.eivissa.es

 


Also published on Medium.

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