The village of Las Salinas del Carmen in Fuerteventura
|Etymology and toponymy
|The hamlet was probably built around a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel (or Carmen).
|The Salt Museum (Museo de la Sal)
|The Salt Museum has an indoor presentation and outdoor saline visit of Carmen which were partially restored.
In ancient times, salt was a rare and sought-after commodity, to the point that it was used as currency: so, the Roman soldiers were paid in salt grain: this is the origin of the word “salary”. The internal presentation shows, through texts and photographs, the importance of salt in the world and in particular the Canary Islands. The different sections present the salt production site in the world, the salt formation, history (from China in 6000 BC and salted fish discovered in Egyptian tombs), saline ecosystems, salt into the culture (beliefs, customs and medicinal uses), salt of the applications (food preservation and so on), the salt of the Canary islands and the salt of the saline El Carmen.
In the museum shop you can buy - including memories of the island - a sample of the salt produced by the Salinas del Carmen.
| The saline El Carmen
|After the interior visit of the Salt Museum, you can browse the saline, to see in practice the salt obtaining process that lasts several weeks. This process begins when sea water enters the inlet tank (saltadero). From there, it is conducted to the evaporation ponds (calentadores), where the sun and the wind will allow it to reach the proper temperature to the salt concentration. Then, concentrated salt water is channeled through channels to the eyelets (tajos), where the sunlight, will evaporate the water. Finally, the salt is collected and piled in beside camelles Carnation he drips. It is now ready to be stored in the warehouse (almacén). Formerly it was embedded in the dock El Muellito. The different elements are made of clay lined with stone walls.
The walk includes a tour of ancillary buildings, such as the lime kiln (horno de cal), which was produced lime for maintenance of saline, and the cistern (aljïbe), used to collect water.
The saline El Carmen has a total area of 26100 sqm and a heating surface of 11,250 m²; they produce 300 to 400 tons of salt per year. This low production is consumed locally in Fuerteventura, or as a souvenir by the visitors of the museum.
|The inlet basin (Saltadero)
|In most of the salt, wind mills operate that pump water to the various tanks; in Salinas del Carmen there is no mill: the arrival basin is filled when the tide; the wind pushes the waves against the rocks and the impact form the foam, where the highest salt concentration is. The sprayed water enters the saltadero and is then channeled through a channel to evaporation ponds (cocederos). The saltadero is the highest point of the salt.
|The evaporation ponds (Cocederos)
|The water collected in the saltadero happens, by a channel named tajea up to three evaporation ponds. The water passes in succession from one to another, by warming under the action of sunlight. When she reaches the proper temperature, water is supplied to the grommets or tajos.
|Crystallisation ponds or carnations (Tajos)
|When the water reaches the eye, it is ready to evaporate and produce the salt crystallization. The thin layer of salt that forms on its surface is brewed twice a day by dusting, so that the salt is deposited on the bottom.
Once most of the water has evaporated, dusting extract the substance of salt, heaps in camelles the edge of the eye and allowed to drain. Then he picks it up and carries it to the warehouse.
|The labor saunier
|The different tasks within the salt marshes require various tools, often homemade, and have many regional variations depending on available materials. The tools are often versatile and can be used both during the construction phase pregnant, for harvesting salt or equipment maintenance. Utensils adapt to the materials of which were constructed salt marshes, such as clay, lime or stone, and many of them are of great ethnographic value. The construction cocederos and tajos is closely linked to the clay crafts, lime and stone, which were introduced to the Canaries in the fifteenth century, leading to the types of salt marshes with clay bottom, lime or Stone.
|The warehouse (Almacén)
|The clean and dry salt is then packaged and stored in the warehouse. The warehouse is also used to store salt maker’s tools.
Formerly the rails came out of the warehouse to facilitate boarding salt to dock El Muellito. This is the only example in the Canary Islands, where the salt of transportation was used. Salt was transferred to the central islands or factories cured there was to Fuerteventura in the last century.
|The cistern (Aljibe)
|Placed in a small gully, the tank (aljibe) collected the runoff and was the general reservoir area. It is built in stone masonry on irregular plan. The pipe has a filter at its initial end and troughs on each side. The tank with weir is lined inside of a mortar of lime and has a central pillar which supported the timber roof.
|The lime kiln (Horno de Cal)
|Lime is necessary for the construction and maintenance of the salt marshes. Its operation is between October and March, when it does not produce salt. The stone oven on circular plan has a peephole and has two small storage areas related to store the limestone and lime developed.
|A fin whale skeleton (Esqueleto de rorcual común)
|Near the salt warehouse is exposed the skeleton of a fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) who had failed April 18, 2000 at Majanicho, near Corralejo, in the municipality of La Oliva in Fuerteventura. The fin whale is the second largest living animal on Earth, after the blue whale can reach 27 m. The female whale exposed to Las Salinas del Carmen is 19,5 m long. Their snout is narrow, V-shaped, with one median longitudinal ridge forward vents. Each side of the upper jaw carrier 300 to 400 baleen which can measure up to 76 centimeters.
The Council of the Canaries took the initiative to expose the skeletons of stranded cetaceans in the archipelago in order to make these marine mammals. This project, called the “Cetacean Route” (Senda de los Cetàceos) has other specimens in Jandia for example.
|Avifauna of salt carmel
|The Canary Islands are on the migration route between Africa and northern Europe and therefore a migration and wintering area for birds, hence their high ecological value. The most favorable times for bird watching are spring and autumn (steps and pre postnuptiales) and winter, when they come to feed, rest or breed.
Saline birds can be divided into three groups: waders, fishermen and swimmers divers.
Shorebirds birds they feed on invertebrates that live in the mud or water from shallow pools. Flamingos, avocets and storks are best suited to saline birds. Other species are the spotted redshank, black tailed godwit, plover, ringed plover and turnstone. Three species stay longer in the Canary Islands: the Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) and the black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), which nest there, and the Sandpiper, which winters there.
Fishermen birds found especially the gray heron, osprey and gulls. The heron is 90 cm high, with legs and a long neck. The fish eagle flies at very high speed near the surface of the water and when it detects its prey swoops on it, capturing it with its beak and talons. Seagulls fly over coastal areas.
Swimmers, divers birds they feed in water, in deeper areas. Ducks, which are very good swimmers, have been domesticated and therefore also in the rural areas. Grebes are smaller and plunge permanently.
|The history of the salt marshes of the Canary Islands
|The salt mining has played an important role in the Canary Islands. The development of the Canary saline was historically linked to the “prickly fishing” (Pesca en Berbería) in the early seventeenth century and the rise of the canning industry in Lanzarote after the Civil War.
In the Canary Islands are concentrated salt 56 with a successful and profitable business. This enabled the salt industry eastern islands give work to hundreds of people throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth.
Some like salt Janubio (Lanzarote) Fuencaliente (La Palma), Tenefé and Playa de Vargas (Gran Canaria), are the last representatives of this cottage industry of salt.
|The history of the salt marshes of Fuerteventura
|On the coast of Fuerteventura exist several natural reservoirs in which solidified the first salt which was collected on the island.
According to the Chronicle of the Conquest, the Aborigines were not using this resource, although some researchers think otherwise, or they used sea water to promote your conservation dried meat they consumed.
The chroniclers also tell that the island had "... large amounts of salt, Ocean coast, and on the other side, beautiful sites to create salt marshes ... "
The natural salt marsh belonged to the Territorial Lord, although the residents had the right to freely collect salt they needed for their consumption. Island Council dictated standards that protected this right, "he agreed to make public that no one should attempt to embark, or sell it to anyone who would ship it, and can not be sold between the inhabitants, without any of them could benefit from any lien on the salt collected in puddles ... because it is the property of all ... "(1641).
"... Nobody remains several days on the coast to collect salt, but it won only one who may have been harvested in a day and he needs for himself, if another resident arrives and see the salt picked up, he can take it, by paying the one who has collected three reals a fanègue (Spanish measure about 60 liters), and leaving him the salt it needs ... "(1700).
In 1677, the lord of the island, Don Fernando Matias Arias y Saavedra, obtained permission from the King to build the salt marshes. It begins implantation to 1681, in the marshes of Gran Tajal, but apparently they have not been completed, because in 1700 the Commission stated "there have no salt on the island, but only a few basins, not giving little salt ... ".
Subsequently, the Territorial Lord Don Francisco Bautista de Lugo y Saavedra, exercising the Royal authorization which had been granted to his ancestor, opened a saline in La Hondurilla, south of Caleta de Fustes.
In the twentieth century new salt marshes were constructed: those of El Carmen in 1910; those of El Matorral (Jandia) and El Marrajo (south of the island of Lobos) 1935; and those of El Charco (Puerto del Rosario) in 1940.
The only ones who have lasted until today are the salt marshes of El Carmen, which gave the name to the hamlet where they stand.
|The history of Salinas El Carmen
|The Lord of the island, Don Francisco Bautista de Lugo y Saavedra, began construction of the salt marshes in the late 1720s to La Hondurilla, south of Caleta de Fustes. These were the forerunners of the salt marshes of El Carmen. These raw salt, old, using clay, were sold by the heirs of Lord Territorial brothers Velázquez Cabrera. They have donated a portion of salt to one of their nephews, Mr. Manuel Velázquez Cabrera, who later acquired all and was probably built on this land, or near, the current salt marsh El Carmen, around the 1910s.
The construction of these salt marshes is considered to transitional type because we find both simple eyelets, built of clay, that carnations covered with stones.
In 1995, the Municipality of Fuerteventura has acquired the salt marshes of El Carmen, which belonged to the heirs of Mr. Manuel Velázquez Cabrera, to conserve, restore and rehabilitate, in a cultural objective. The historical, ethnographic, ecological and landscape that represent the salt marshes of El Carmen, allowed them to be a “Special Protection Plan” in 1995 and be declared “of Cultural interest” 2002 in the category Monument.
|Las Salinas del Carmen is the terminus of the bus line 3 from Puerto del Rosario.
|With the salt of Tenefé in Santa Lucía de Tirajana on Gran Canaria, the salt of the Carmen are the best equipped, with a museum and above the salt bridge that allows visitors to experience the process of obtaining.
Museo de la Sal
Address: Carretera general Salinas, FV2.Las Salinas del Carmen. Antigua.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 18 pm.
Phone: 00 34 928 174 926
Entrance fee: 5 €.
German tour guides, English, Spanish, French and Italian.