Salt museum

This site was created under the OPRD EU

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In Pomorie, ancient Anchialos, salt has been obtained since time immemorial. According to Bulgarian historians the salt pans existed even before the establishment of the town (around the 5th c. BC). Salt became a livelihood and the technology has been handed down from generation to generation. The museum represents the ancient technology of Anchialos used in the production of sea salt. It consists of an exhibition hall and 20 decares of active salt pans. The salt pans at the museum produce salt in the same way as it was done in Antiquity.
Although salt is abundant today due to modern production, it used to be a rare commodity in the past. It was the very reason why in some parts of the world it had the same value as gold. As early as Antiquity it was the subject of economic and commercial transactions, a means of economic exchange, a cure or a symbol of well-being.

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During the Ottoman period a state monopoly was imposed on salt trade. At various times the salt produced in Bulgaria satisfied the needs of the country in various degrees. The market for the salt obtained at Pomorie has always been mainly the territory of modern Bulgaria – both in the past and at present. However, at various times salt was mostly exported to the lands of present-day Turkey, Greece, Romania and even Georgia. The export to countries known as salt producers could be explained by the specific properties of the salt of Pomorie.
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By 1947 the salt pans at Pomorie were mainly private property. During the period between 1947 and 1949 their nationalization was carried out, which did not alter the essence of the production technology. Those were salt pans with multiple collection of salt. This kind of production existed until the end of 1981. After that the salt pans located outside the town were reconstructed and the production switched over to entirely industrial salt pans. Meanwhile the salt pans from the late 1960s, located in the immediate vicinity of the town, were abandoned and their site was gradually developed.
In the years following 1989 the reverse process of restitution began – restoring the property to the former owners. From the point of view of production the salt pans outside the town are the ones that attract interest because the urbanization of the salt pans in the town is irreversible. Here there are various possibilities both in the field of technology of salt production and in property organization.
Today the museum has a collection of specialist books. The modern building of the museum has up-to-date audio and video equipment and provides excellent conditions for meetings and conferences. It has a rich collection of photographs from the beginning of the 20th century and copies of documents from the period between the 15th and 16th centuries revealing the history of salt production and trade in the lands of Bulgaria. Besides, visitors can take a close look at authentic tools and equipment such as wooden wheel barrows, shovels and other appliances. And outdoors is the restored part of the narrow gauge railway used for transporting salt, which complements the museum exhibition.

image 4Today the museum salt pans still produce salt using the authentic technology of Anchialos which has been applied for over 25 centuries now. It involves the passing of sea water from the sea through the lake and then through several smaller ponds with the purpose of evaporating the water increasing the concentration of salt. The process ends with crystallization in the small pans measuring 80-100 sq. m. There the sun, wind and the skills of the salt workers, who have inherited the craft for generations on end, turn the salty water into white crystalline salt - “the white gold of the Black Sea”. Visitors can watch all technological operations live, can talk to the salt workers about the subtleties of the craft and feel the authentic atmosphere of the past. 

One of the tasks of the Museum of Salt is to conserve the tangible and intangible culture related to salt production, to preserve and hand down to the next generations the knowledge and skills of the ancestors

The museum at Pomorie is the only museum in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe specialized in the production of salt through evaporation of sea water by the sun’s heat.