Here’s how we set up the Xwejni salt pans in Gozo for a French group of 300 people on the 6th of May.
The salt pans in Gozo’s northerly coast just up from Marsalforn are a transfixing landmark and of vital importance, upholding an ancient trade and skill, whilst harvesting one of Gozo’s important natural raw materials – Salt. The salt pans are ingrained in the Gozitan tradition of sea salt production, a custom that has been passed down within local families for generations. During the summer months, locals can be seen scraping off salt crystals from the rock face, all collected, processed and packaged by hand!
The Phoenicians formed these salt pans to create the highly coveted salt mineral. The pans were later renovated by the Romans and then propagated by the Gozitans. This site is believed to be the world’s oldest working salt pans. Sea water fills the crevices in coastline and is left to settle for eight days. Then, it is moved to smaller salt pans that are warmer and further away from the sea. The salt crystals give a reddish hue in the beginning of the drying process as they begin to form.
Xwejni’s salt pans chequerboard pattern and shimmering mirrored reflective pools are always a dynamic sight to behold. Spanning several kilometres across Gozo’s northern coast. Today they are divided between 3 salt farmers. The intricate formation of shallow square pools and larger feeder pools.