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Salinas De Pedra De Lume

Sal, Cape Verde

Salinas de Pedra de Lume, located in the NE part of the island of Sal, with an area of ​​40 hectares, is an exceptional site formed in the crater of an extinct volcano 39 meters above sea level and 1500 meters from a sheltered cove. In times past, the crater was in contact with the sea on its north side, through natural channels, allowing water to infiltrate, which, due to evaporation, left a deposit of local rock salt in more than fifty million tons.

Around this salt mine an industrial society was formed with basic infrastructures such as chapel, school, maternity and social canteen. From this, the type of human settlement is visible, based on the socioeconomic industrial divisions, manifesting itself in the different functional housing estates to the workers in the salt pans, to the engineers and to the chiefs who lived there.

The extraction of salt was the driving factor for the occupation and realization of the island, having as mentor the wealthy merchant Manuel António Martins who, around 1796, with families from Boavista and enslaved men from the west coast, settled in the locality of Pedra de Lume. Since then, the island has come to be sought by ships of various nationalities, mainly from Brazil, to supply themselves with “white gold”.

This golden period, in which the export of salt marked a figure of 30 thousand tons before, was interrupted in 1887, when Brazil taxed foreign salt as prohibitive rights. After this pause and due to a new conjuncture (African markets, availability of capital), the saline industry experienced a new leverage recommended by Salins du Cap Vert, which left an indelible mark on the local landscape.

However, in 1963, the Democratic Republic of Congo became independent, compromising Cape Verde's salt industry, as a result of the nationalization of trade in this country. Currently the extraction of salt is mainly used for making beauty products and for thalassotherapy, while the crater receives a large number of tourists annually.

Pedra de Lume salt pans have an exceptional scenic beauty, conferred by the polychromatic mosaic of the crater, which ranges from various shades of the marinas, highlighting the white, red, orange, blue and purple as a result of its chemical composition and the green, which comes from surrounding plants.

Taking into account, the values ​​that the Property holds was classified as a protected landscape, through Decree-Law 3/2003, of February 24, with the objective of maintaining the natural and cultural elements related to the existence of a salt exploration boiler and that adjusts to a landscape of singular beauty and ecocultural value. In this sense, it was also classified as a Natural, Historical and Cultural Heritage through Resolution No. 21/2012, of April 24th.

Since 2004, it has been part of an Indicative List of Cape Verde at UNESCO.

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