Ibi Costa Blanca
Ibi, overview of the inland town of Ibi, located in the Alicante province of Spain.
Ibi - Alicante - Spain
Ibi - Famous mostly for its production of toys, the small town of Ibi lies just to the north of Alicante on the Costa Blanca, Spain. A mountainous town surrounded by hills and ravines, Ibi has a rich history stretching back to the Iberian civilization (7th to 1st Centuries BC). The name Ibi is thought to be derived from the Iberian for "zone or place between rivers", those rivers being the now dried up channels of the Caixes and Gavarnera.
Occupied by the Moors during the Arab Conquest (8th - 13th Centuries) Ibi was re-conquered by Jaime I of Aragon in the 13th Century and control given to Eiximén Perez d'Arenós. Though the area around Ibi was generally unsuitable for agriculture, Ibi had to survive for many centuries on the production of almonds, olives and grapes until the 17th Century when a new industry was begun - the ice industry. Local villagers went up into the surrounding mountains and collected ice for the purpose of refrigeration. This later developed into the making of ice-cream for which the town is still renowned today.
Today, Ibi is most notable for its toy industry, begun in around 1902 when a local tinsmith made a toy carraige for his children and realised the potential in his work. His family (the Payás) began collecting and producing toys and the industry grew until there were 37 different companies producing toys in Ibi - together contributing 40% of Spain's toy production.
The toys collected from around the world by the Payá brothers now form the basis of the famous Valencian Toys Museum of Ibi with over 400 samples on show. Be sure to visit this very interesting museum whilst in the town.
Ibi celebrates some grand fiestas including the Romeria a San Pascual, the Nits de Ball, the Fiesta de Geladors and the Moros y Cristianos.
The old area of the town around the church is known as "El Costeretas" comprising a series of quaint narrow streets and alleyways which leads up to the hermitage of Santa Lucia.
Ibi is a charming and charismatic town with an interesting history and is certainly worth a visit if you are in the Costa Blanca area