Tanit was the Carthaginian mother goddess of sexuality, fertility and death. Ibiza was her island until the Roman Emperor Vespasian suppressed her cult in AD74. The Romans named her Dea Caelestis and worshiped her as Juno. To this day Tanit is still worshiped in Ibiza and her cave Temple, at Cova Des Cuieram on the road to Portinax, still remains as testament to her memory and spirit.Ibiza city was founded on her “Holy Mountain” by the Carthaginians around 600BC. Legend has it that a spring of red liquid bubbled up from the earth at Sa Caletta (the Phoenicians first settlement on the island) and flowed to the site at Dalt Villa where the ancient city was built in her honour.
The Island was considered a sacred place, so much so that Carthaginian nobility buried their dead in Puig des Moulins on the slopes of the city, as it was associated with healing, rebirth and resurrection. The necropolis at Puig des Moulins is regarded as the finest example of a Carthaginian burial site in the world today. Even the Romans laid their dead to rest there. Today, many people still come to Ibiza to live out their days before they move on to the next life.The healing and rejuvenation powers of her waters, springs and fountains are said to posses purification, fertility, life and magnetic balance.
Punic ritual dances are still practiced today around her waters which folklore associate with spirituality and magic. During her time of worship, the Island of Ibiza was rich with the produce of earth and became a bountiful land. A secret sect still worship her on the Island today. 600 clay statuettes of Tanit were discovered in her cave temple at Cova Des Cuieram and they are housed in the Museum of Archaeology in Ibiza. The caves are located in a remote and wooded area on a hill in Sant Vincent and are open to the public from 9am – 1pm. A car is essential if wanting to visit the caves which have a strange and eerie presence about them.