Former salt loading bay

Heritage and culture

Cargador de Sal is the name given to the area designated for storage, transport and loading the salt, which in Ibiza was carried by barges. The salt loading bay is the final link in the long chain of salt production that stretches back for centuries. In fact, this ancient industry of salt manufacture in Ibiza is well documented and as early as 1300, an Arab geographer (Al-Himyari) wrote that in Ibiza “there is a salt works there, where the salt is never ending”. However, it was with the Christian reconquest in 1235 that the salt pans became an important industry and salt extraction was intensified. As part of this commercial dynamic, the salt loaders were a key component of the transport infrastructure.

Throughout their history, the Ibizan salt pans have used three docks designed for this purpose, two of which have now fallen into disuse (La Xanga and Es Cavallet) and another where the industry, which is now mechanised, boasts a fully operating loading dock. Set in the heart of the area known as Sa Canal, the salt industry base is equipped with numerous industrial facilities, one of which was the former salt loading bay, a platform which was used to load the barges with the cargos of between 25 and 125 tonnes of salt which was then transported to the vessels moored to a buoy out at sea, about a hundred metres or so from the dock. During industrial times, small wagons driven by a little steam engine facilitated the task of transport to the area, but the work of the operators and salt workers continued to be vital to the job. Once it was brought to the dock, the salt was washed and sieved prior to embarkation. With the emergence of tourism, these operations became an attraction for visitors and school children alike, who would watch the busy activity close up, something that would be unthinkable today with our current, and logical, safety standards and regulations.

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