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The financial resources that were acquired through the project tasks successfully renew and maintain Sečovlje pans.

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Salt works and salt harvesting

For centuries, the Northern Adriatic salt-pans exerted a great impact on the economy of states and city-states of this region. They were often the subject of political disputes and wars, for due to its applicability salt was a valuable raw material and a strategic commodity, important for the canning of food and for the production of gunpowder.

In the Gulf of Trieste and Istria, there used to be, apart from the Old Piran salt-pans at Sečovlje, Lucija and Strunjan, several smaller and larger pans (such as at Muggia, Koper and Izola). They were marked not only by political and economic interests, but also by the whimsicality of nature, which at times totally prevented salt-making for longer periods of time, or endowed it with superabundance at some other time.
The Sečovlje and Strunjan salt-pans are the only pans in this part of the Adriatic, where salt is still produced and where the traditional method of salt-making with its daily gathering has been preserved. Today, the economic role of the pans is subjected to the nature conservationist and cultural roles: the salt made here is a delicacy for gourmets; the preservation of salt-pan customs is sustaining the conscience of cultural heritage; the salt-pan area is giving a shelter to the rare or special animal and plant species and is at the same time a reserve of ecologically precious residential environment and a reminiscence of once rich Mediterranean cultural heritage and the rapidly disappearing landscape.
Salt is made in salt-fields, consisting of evaporation and crystallisation basins. Seawater is led from evaporation to crystallisation basins according to the principle of gravitation, or is aided by pumps. At Fontanigge, they used to be driven by wind wheels, while at Lera the Austrians introduced, about a hundred years ago, a modernised procedure with the use of motor pumps.
About one fifth of all basins are crystallisation basins, in which salt is finally made, once seawater has travelled there through evaporation basins, evaporating gradually. In crystallisation basins, the petola is cultivated (a few mm thick layer of algae, gypsum and minerals), which prevents the mud mixing with salt.
During salt-making, the salters use some very traditional tools. Salt is raked with special scrapers in large heaps. The strained salt is stored in special warehouses.

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