Grand Prix in Conservation presented to Salt Valley of Añana, Spain

The Local Award Ceremony at the Salt Valley of Añana in the Basque Country, Spain, a Grand Prix winner of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2015 in the Conservation category, assembled around 150 people on the afternoon of 3 October 2015. Europa Nostra’s Council Member José-Maria Ballester and Hispania Nostra’s President Araceli Pereda praised this ambitious rehabilitation project and presented the plaque and the monetary award of €10,000 to Ramiro González, President of the Board of Trustees of the Añana Salt Valley Foundation.

2015 Local Award Ceremony at Salt Valley of Añana, Basque Country, Spain
“In representation of all the generations of salt workers who have built this unique cultural landscape for more than six millennia, and also on behalf of the Añana Salt Valley Foundation, it is with great pride that I receive the Grand Prix of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2015 for the exemplary recovery of the Añana Salt Valley”, stated Ramiro Gonzalez, who was accompanied at the event by several members of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation.

Representatives from local and regional Governments, operators in the culture and heritage sectors, and many members of the local community participated in the event. The attendees included Elena Lete and Imanol Agote, Directors for Environment and Culture of the Basque Government, Igone Martínez de Luna, Member responsible for Culture, Cristina González, Member responsible for Employment, Trade and Tourism, Pilar García de Salazar, Assistant Deputy General, Pedro Elosegui, President of the General Assembly, Juan Carlos Medina, Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation and Mayor of Salinas, and Andoni Erkiaga, Director of the Salt Valley Añana Foundation.

After the presentation ceremony, the participants were given a guided tour of the striking Salt Valley by Dr. Alberto Plata (PhD in Archaeology) who showed them the recovery, maintenance and salt production works which have been performed in Añana.

Recent archaeological research has confirmed that salt has been continuously produced here for over 6,500 years. Covering an area of 13 hectares, the valley is notable for its impressive structure, based on evaporation terraces built of dry stone, wood and clay, with wooden channels that transport the salt water by gravity from the springs to the wells; for its salt stores; and for its wealth of saline biodiversity. During the second half of the 20th century, as a result of the rise of modern industry, the decline in production led to the progressive deterioration of this cultural landscape.

The Awards’ Jury was somewhat bowled over by the sheer scale of this project. It concerns not only the landscape, architecture and environment of an entire valley, but also its related economic, social, cultural and tourism activities, which are making a strong contribution to the development of the municipality of Añana and the Province of Álava. The Jury noted that the salt exported from the Valley is renowned in the most prestigious kitchens in the Basque Country and, indeed, around the world. The skilled employment of restoration techniques, particularly in timber, was also commended.


Latest articles about Awards

Message by Executive President and Secretary General

Europa Nostra Board and Awards Jury have meetings and engage with the vibrant heritage scene in Potsdam

Europa Nostra joins the 2024 European Summit of Regions and Cities

More Articles +