Most of the residents pass by the statue every week. But not everyone knows the story, yet.
Located only 100 metres from the port, in the heart of the city, stands the monument of the Ibizan war hero that also gives his name to the square, Joaquín Vara de Rey y Rubio, born in Ibiza on August 14, 1841.
The general died fighting against the powerful American army in the Battle of El Caney, during the independence war of Cuba, on July 1, 1898. As described by a Cuban journalist, after seeing the death of his brother and a cousin who were fighting next to him, and being terribly wounded—several times—he kept rising from the ground, screaming and encouraging his troupe in the name of his homeland until he died.
The monument was built thanks to the donations of the Spanish people who wished to honour their hero in his native land, with bronze ceded by the Artillery Park of Barcelona. The relatives of the general and the King Alfonso XIII attended to the inauguration, which was held in 1904, a few days before the same date of his death due to the visit of the king, and to prevent any manifestation of those who were against erecting war monuments in public spaces. There are other monuments in his honour in Madrid, Barcelona, and other Spanish cities.
Later, the “Passeig de Vara de Rey” was refurbished and pedestrianised in 2017 along with the neighboring square Plaça del Parc. As hundreds of parking spaces have been reduced with no replacement, and the change of the traffic direction forces to take a turn of several streets to arrive at the destination, the project is still a bit controversial among the residents.
Enjoy a walk visiting the artisan shops during the popular festivities, make a stop at any of the enchanting terraces of the restaurants that surround the park, or take a look on some of the most luxurious shops in the city. Above them, you’ll find a row of colonial buildings that keep the old postcard sensation alive on this beautiful spot on the island.
The Montesol Hotel, located on the closest corner to the port, witnessed historical meetings between the intellectuals and artists of the time and remains to be a trendy social meeting point, as well as one of the most legendary hotels in Ibiza.
Also published on Medium.