Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

The Agricultural System of Valle Salado de A?ana, Spain

GIAHS since 2017
?A?ana Salt Valley Foundation

Valle Salado is located in the town of Salinas de A?ana (Alava, Basque Country), approximately 30 km from the capital city, in northern Spain. It is crossed by two small rivers which join at the centre of the valley and sits on a giant salt bubble from a sea that disappeared millions of years ago.

Thanks to the existence of a geological phenomenon called Diapir and to the injection of fresh water into the bubble, a number of salt water springs emerge at the highest part of the valley. This salt water is channeled by means of an ingenious system of canals to the wells and salt pans, by the force of gravity, where it evaporates to form salt.

The ancient cultivation techniques have been carefully preserved, with the gradual introduction of changes required to preserve the livelihood of the local community, but respectfully preserving the basic conditions that experience has shown are the key to the system.

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GIAHS in the media: Agricultural System of Valle Salado de A?ana (only in Spanish)

Edorta is a "salinero" by family tradition. His entire family has worked in this industry. In fact, when he was 8 years old, he helped his parents collect salt. From May to September, he is in charge of producing salt, while the rest of the months, he dedicates to the maintenance and rehabilitation of the 5,000 threshing floors throughout the valley. He argues that being a master salinero is not only stirring the ages and collecting the salt but that it goes much further: control of the wells, control of the valley and teach those who come to work in the salt works.

Salt Valley of A?ana is already a Globally Agricultural Heritage System (only in Spanish)

The Valle Salado de A?ana system (álava) has been recognized today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as the first Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) in Europe, together with the Malaga Raisin Production System in La Axarquía, Andalucia.