June 13, 2016


I have already spoken before that the oldest churches of the island were originally built as temples but mainly as robust and strong fortresses, where people from the village and surrounding areas came not only for attending the holy mass but also was the place they were gathering in case of threat for moorish invasions.
Invasions came by sea, and here at the Portmany port (Portmany was the name of this bay after the conquest of the Kingdom of Aragon, and comes from its former Roman name "Portus Magnus") was an important target of those invasions of the Turkish and Arab pirates, where the invaders were attacking with mercilessly the farms, villages and especially to their inhabitants that made them their slaves. That´s why were so crucial that the church as main building had to be well defended, so that´s why its square and strong tower (the only square shaped defence tower of the island) had to hold powerful guns, as cannons that protected the population, from the barbarians incursions. 
Undoubtedly this tower located at one side of the church building is looks as that of any other castle. And this was where the population was feeling much safer on attacks. This tower dates from the sixteenth century and from there by sounding a sea conch shell, warned the population of the imminent danger of the incursions that was about to stalk people, making to everyone was running to take refuge here.
The guns had a range of about 4 kilometers, far enough to protect the harbor and able to sink any invader ship. Still at this temple we can see a moat between the bell tower down to the front door of the temple, where the population received the invaders by pouring through it, large amounts of boiling oil when they were trying to go into the temple. and of course helping this way to repel the attempted entry. Anyway the doors were made of iron, in order to prevent be burned and thus destroyed. Today the guns have not anymore the wide visibility that they had then, now great buildings surround this temple, as this town now is an important tourist resort and makes the church to be a real miniature.
Slowly, as the threat of invasions were diminishing, the temple left his defensive character to become gradually in religious and worship temple.
And then after the main steeples were built, in Sant Antoni Abad the bell tower has two bells named after Angela and Mary, the first because it was used to play the Angelus hours, meanwhile the other used to call the Mary prayer during late in the afternoon.
 For this reason in the ancient worship temples of Ibiza most of them that exercised that function do not have windows and if thick white walls (except for the tower is made of stone and was never painted white).