STON'S SALT - SALTY TREASURE OF DUBROVNIK REPUBLIC

Did you know that the salt from Pag and Ston saltworks is the purest salt in the Mediterranean? Have you ever heard of "salt harvest"? From sea to salt - from a drop to crystal

Salt is obtained from nature in two ways: high-quality sea salt results from evaporation of sea, and lesser quality stone salt is attained from underground salt mines. Still, sea salt is healthier because it is rich with microelements and minerals and is thus listed by the WHO as a recommendable foodstuff for human usage.

Harvesting salt from the saltworks in Ston is said to date back to Roman times; it is very simple if basic conditions are met. First of all, the sea from which one obtains salt has to be pure and has to have increased salinity. Secondly, temperature of water and climate have to cause increased evaporation of water, and finally, saltworks require a shallow and spacious bay, isolated from sea flows, in which the procedure of evaporation will run its course without disturbance.

Ston Bay area makes it a perfect place for the harvesting of salt which is why saltworks were built there in the 13th century already. The saltworks operates to the present day, producing salt in the same way as eight centuries ago. Ston Bay is divided into shallow, separate pools filled with seawater, which is heated with sun energy and which gradually evaporates due to constantly high temperature. Shiny-white sediment of crystal salt remains at the bottom of the pools, which is then dug out, or better "harvested", with wooden shovels, and loaded onto mine cars. Compared to sea salt of some other countries, Ston salt, already at first sight, presents its excellent characteristics which more than anything witness the pureness of sea it is derived from: complete whiteness and shine.

Salty treasure of Dubrovnik

In agricultural activities of the town of Dubrovnik harvesting salt was so important that it was already mentioned in 1272 in the Statutes' "regulations concerning salt" which set strict rules for production, sale and transport of Ston's salt. The profit made from selling salt was bigger than the profit made by selling any other foodstuff listed in Dubrovnik's trading fleet. Salt was also a state monopoly, and the duke of Dubrovnik founded a "Salt office" whose task it was to monitor the quality of salt and to run good trading politics.

Production of salt as well as its collection took place during a defined working season; during that time collecting, storaging and transport was compulsory for all residents of Ston and nearby areas. Main collection times lasted from April to October while the production itself took place from May to September. For orientation purposes, the quantity of produced salt amounted to 6.040 tons in 1611, while today, the saltworks produce mere 3000 tons.

Although salt is not the most profitable agriculturale branch anymore, all visitors who come to Dubrovnik and Ston, are welcome to come and visit saltworks and see how salt sediment is collected from salty pools in an oldfashioned, natural way.

Saltworks on Pag

Beside Ston saltworks, Pag saltworks, the biggest saltworks in Croatia today, also enjoys an excellent reputation. Its specialities like cheese and lamm are unique because of its saltiness. The grass, grazed by the cattle on Pag, is of increased salinity of soil, so milk and meat have uniquely recognisable "Pag aroma". So, if you happen to travel near Pag, be sure to taste cheese and lamm from the island of Pag.
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