The Hamlet of Balàfia

The hamlet of Balàfia in Ibiza is a small complex of houses with Moorish origin. It is a charming, quiet spot very close to Sant Llorenç village in the north of the island.

The Balearic Islands were conquered by the Moors in the year 902, and became part of the Ommiad emirate of al-Ándalus. Later they were assigned to the Denia faction and finally they became an independent state.

That conquest took its time and according to Arabic chronicles it had its origin in a storm. Apparently a long time before, ëIsam al-Khawlani from Cordoba had left his native city to make the pilgrimage to the Mecca but a storm had forced his ship to take refuge in the port of Palma.

He remained there for several days, a period of time he made use of by collecting information about the island of Mallorca. On his return to Cordoba, he advised the emir ëAbd Allah to conquer the entire archipelago, with himself at the head. With that began an era of Moorish dominion that was to last for more than three hundred years.

The mark of this culture can still be seen today in the monuments and old neighbourhoods of towns like Eivissa, with their sinewy streets and organic urban layout. In other smaller towns the essence of Moorish Ibiza can also still be felt; the Balàfia hamlet is an instance of this.

The place consists of a collection of seven houses and two very distinctive towers, one of which has the classic cross to put flight to bad spirits that dates from posterior times. The houses are surrounded by stone walls closed up with austere-looking gates made of sticks or planks of wood but run over with trees, flowers and climbing plants.

This hamlet is very close to Sant Llorenç de Balàfia, one of the villages belonging to the Sant Joan de Labritja region and the only one that has no coastline. Its 18th Century church stands out, dominating part of the valley.

It is a most enchanting, very peaceful place where it is still possible to taste a delicious homemade sobrasada (a type of sausage) accompanied by a good vi pages (country wine).