Ses Salines, world heritage

19 March, 2018
Ses Salines, world heritage | La Brise Charter

The territory of almost 2,838 hectares of land and more than 13,000 hectares of sea that includes Ses Salines or Las Salinas was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 and a Natural Park in 2001. It extends from quite a big part of the south of Ibiza to the northern part of Formentera, including the arm of islets that lie between them (with Espalmador as its maximum exponent) as well as the sea strait that separates them (Es Freus), where the greatest marine treasure of the Pitiusas, the Posidonia, responsible for the purity of its waters (for the functions of oxygenation and filter that it exerts) and its beautiful and infinite tones of navy blue to turquoise green.

Its name comes from the sea salt ponds that the Phoenicians, already in the 7th century BC, began to exploit to trade with it. This is how this ancestral trade has been practically unalterable for millennia with the passage of time, passing through Carthaginian, Roman, Muslim and Christian hands to the present day. In the past this element had a key importance, since it was the quintessential product used for the conservation of food, and because of that it was known by the nickname of "white gold". Also, the word salary, derived from salt, because it was used in Roman times as a payment system. Today, the salt obtained from Ses Salines is exported to northern European countries mainly for the fish salting industry, although there is a part that is also refined for domestic use. Just where the great and wild beach of Ses Salines ends, we can find the small port of Sa Canal, where the salt of Ibiza is shipped. Although the port remains the same, as for decades the extraction process, it has been modernized and compared tp the thousand people who worked manually, at present all this process is carried out only by twenty.

One of the best samples of Mediterranean biodiversity is undoubtedly found in the Ses Salines ponds. Undoubtedly the largest wetland in Ibiza, covers an area of four hundred hectares and houses 178 kinds of plants and more than 210 birds, which make this territory their home, because they build their nests and also use it as a resting place in its long, sometimes almost endless, migratory journeys. Likewise, the immense variety of ecosystems is unparalleled: ponds, rocky and sandy beaches, dune cords with centuries-old junipers and cliffs watched over by raptors. The bird that stands out most among all is flamenco, which inhabits the ponds most of the year. They are easily identifiable by their plumage of pink color, responsible for the crustacean called Artemia salina, favorite food of the flamingos, and found in the ponds of higher salinity.

The beautiful and immense natural park of Ses Salines, not only houses the aforementioned ponds of the salt mines, but also numerous beaches such as Ses Salines, Es Cavallet, Es Codolar, the cove of Sa Sal Rossa as well as the centenaries watchtowers of Ses Portes and its Carregador. The Ses Salines Beach (or Las Salinas) is located in the Top 3 of the beaches of Ibiza. It is a long and wide beach of white sand in the form of half moon with a wild touch that gives the being surrounded by a forest of pines and junipers where fortunately has not burst the tourist construction. In its crystal clear waters it is a pleasure to enjoy a bath while contemplating the exuberant nature around us. It is also advisable to practice snorkeling with fins and goggles, as the background and marine wealth that can be seen here is a just amazing. Undoubtedly, the best way to admire the beauty of Ses Salines is from the sea, aboard a sailboat or a yacht, it is only from them that we have the privilege to contemplate all its immensity.