Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

The Agricultural System of Valle Salado de Añana




Site location:  Añana, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain

Area of GIAHS: 21.79 km2

Population working for this system: -

Topological Characteristics: -

Climatic Classification: Transitional climate between the oceanic and the Mediterranean climate

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: -

Primary Income Sources: Salt production and agriculture


Valle Salado is located in the town of Salinas de Añana (Alava, Basque Country), approximately 30 km from the capital city, in northern Spain. It is crossed by two small rivers which join at the centre of the valley and sits on a giant salt bubble from a sea that disappeared millions of years ago.

Thanks to the existence of a geological phenomenon called Diapir and to the injection of fresh water into the bubble, a number of salt water springs emerge at the highest part of the valley. This salt water is channeled by means of an ingenious system of canals to the wells and salt pans, by the force of gravity, where it evaporates to form salt.

The ancient cultivation techniques have been carefully preserved, with the gradual introduction of changes required to preserve the livelihood of the local community, but respectfully preserving the basic conditions that experience has shown are the key to the system.