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The STON SALTWORKS (Solana Ston) is located in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County in southern Dalmatia, 23 km north of Dubrovnik.The small town of Ston, with the longest medieval fortification walls in Europe, lies in close proximity to the mainland on a narrow isthmus that connnects the longest eastern Adriatic peninsula of Pelješac.
The saltworks is located between the fertile fields of Ston and the deep Bay of Ston. It has an exceptionally long history. The archaeological findings in the region have revealed human activity as far back as the Neolithic period. It is assumed that salt began to be refined in this area in classical antiquity. There is no doubt that it was the reason trade increased, which brought both Greek and southern Appenine archaic culture by way of the Adriatic Sea, and the Iron Age culture from the hinterland regions near Sarajevo in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. Of course, there are no sure remnants of a salt refinery from these times, but the fact remains that the interest of the first states in the region were drawn towards this place. Since 2000 B.C., the Illyrian tribes headed by the Plereians and the Ardaeans established the great province of Dalmatia from the Adriatic to the Balkans, as did the Romans in the last century of the old era when they conquered Illyria.
As salt was always a highly important and valuable commodity, a more stable salt refinery was most probably established in this place, in the shallows that were protected from the waves from the deep marine bay. They also attracted other political powers throughout the region, as salt was already a monopoly controlled by the state. It was continuously exported into the hinterland regions, especially into Hercegovina, where the mountainous cattle spreads showed a multiple need for quality salt.
The Ston saltworks owes its present appearance to the arrival of the people from Dubrovnik, who bought these lands from the ruler of Bosnia and Serbia at the beginning of the 14th century. They raised an exceptionally strong system of defense alongside the newly established town of Ston. They built a Great Wall that was more than 5,5km in length, with 40 towers and 5 fortresses across the hill next to Prevlaka, whose strategic purpose was to protect the land and the saltworks.
Since 1333, they have been systematically planned in a suitable area that has survived up until today. They almost reach the town of Ston, which was settled mainly because it offered a permanent workforce for the saltworks nearby. The saltworks stretches over 400,000 m2 of flat surface, and is made up of 7 groups of pools for the evaporation of seawater, which flows into a carefully planned canal system of 5 rows with 8-10 square crystallization pools each. Their size and exemplary tidiness have ensured a high production level for a long time. The saltworks was the greatest source of profit for Dubrovnik, which grew into a small free republic from the 15th century onwards, and whose economy was tied to trade.
This is why they were planned with great skill, and built and maintained with great financial investment by its one and only powerful owner, so becoming the largest on the eastern Adriatic shores. They stretch right along the old harbor in Ston, where larger vessels docked for loading salt. There were large functional warehouses, which alongside the geometrical network of fenced-in pools, allowed for the excellent handling of salt, from collecting to drying, to warehousing, and finally, the transfer to other means of transport. Such salt works, as a whole, represent a priceless monument to the past economic activity of mankind. As they are still in use, they bear witness to the exceptional continuity of human labor under the best ecological conditions. The qualities of the Ston saltworks are: it is the only salt that is not bitter and that does not require any additives against clotting. Today, due to age, war damages and earthquakes, the saltworks produces mostly industrial salt
The pricelist for visiting STON saltworks
1. – Paying visit to Ston saltworks – ticket for groups amounting to EUR 1,40 EUR per person,
2. – Paying visit to Ston saltworks with a story about technological process of obtaining sea salt,history of the Ston saltworks and Ston walls – ticket for groups EUR2,80 per person
3. Paying visit Solana Ston and the showing of film of salt on Video projector in stock salt EUR 4,20 per person
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