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Formentera's Heritage

Formentera is an island with a hugely rich and varied heritage. This is quite remarkable, as despite its small size, the island has a wealth of ethnological, historic and architectural treasures.

To understand the scope of its heritage, it's easier to describe it terms of area. So, Formentera has outstanding:

Posidonia meadow: Posidonia oceánica is a marine plant that is endemic to the Mediterranean. It forms meadows that protect the coastline from erosion and produce large amounts of CO2, which makes the area a major reserve for biodiversity. The Posidonia Meadows were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

Parque Natural de Ses Salines: Situated between Ibiza and Formentera and occupying some 2838 hectares. The largest representation of the Mediterranean's biodiversity and ecosystem. It is famous for being a resting stopover for migrating birds and for its abundance of bird species (with flamingoes living here all year round, for example).

Imagen cedida por la Conselleria de Turisme de Formentera

Ca na Costa megalithic tomb: Funerary site discovered in 1974 and dating back to about 2000 B.C. This is the oldest megalithic tomb in the Balearic Islands and was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1994.

Can Blai Roman castellum: Archaeological site consisting of the remains of a fortified construction from the Lower Roman Empire period. Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1994, the castellum is in a setting where it could control the sea, both to the north and to the south. After excavation work was carried out it was thought that it may have been built to protect and provide shelter for the local population.

Cap de Barbaria prehistoric sites: A set of archaeological sites dating from between 1600 to 1000 B.C. and an extremely highly valuable source of information about the island's first settlers.

The island's traditional houses are part of this group, as they define its landscape. There are different types of dwellings depending on how old they are. From the 18th to the late 19th century the building style was predominantly influenced by traditional Ibizan architecture. From the late 19th through to the mid-20th century, flat-roofed houses were replaced by pitch roofed homes and windows gradually became larger.

Formentera's ethnological heritage also includes flour mills, water cisterns and tanks, wells, waterwheels and 'escars' (a local boat slipway system with wooden rails for launching boats).

The island has a number of defence towers dotted along the coastline, serving as watchtowers to guard against possible threats coming from the sea. The oldest, Sa Guardiola tower, was built in 1749. La Mola lighthouse is the oldest on the island and was built between 1859 and 1861. It set the standard for the other constructions that make lighthouses a key part of Formentera's landscape.

This is a brief summary of Formentera's rich heritage, all of which is highly valued by the local people and correctly preserved.