Salt has played an important role in Lanzarote since the late 19th century, accounting for a large percentage of the island’s industrial income and even making its mark on local culture – during the traditional Corpus Christi festival, brightly-dyed salts are used to decorate the street with large colorful artworks. Today, the salt industry has fallen into decline, but a number of the island’s traditional salt pans remain in use – manmade flats where the sea water is channeled and left to crystalize, allowing the sea salt to be harvested.
The Janubio Salt Pans are the island’s most famous, created in the early 20th century by Victor Fernandez and consisting of over 440,000 square meters of pans, making it the biggest salt refinery in the Canary Islands. Today, the area is a protected National Heritage site and produces up to 10,000 tons of salt each year, harvested by hand during the summer months. The historic site has also become a tourist attraction, and the gigantic patchwork of salt pans makes for a unique view, set against a backdrop of the black sand Janubio beach and attracting an array of native birds.