Named quite similar in most of the world languages, the salt has been essential for the human lives since ever. It is the oldest and omnipresent seasoning that creates the most important of all tastes - saltiness. But it is much more than just a flavouring. It has proven healing properties and extraordinary health benefits. No wonder that the availability of salt has been critical for ancient civilisations. Through millennia, it was connecting different countries and cultures. When it comes to the European soil, the very first salt discoveries thousands of years ago were in the Balkans. One of the most significant salt resources is situated in the city of Tuzla in north-eastern Bosnia & Herzegovina. Known as the European Salt Lakes City, Tuzla tells us the Bosnian Salt Saga.
More than 20 million years ago, the northern Bosnia & Herzegovina was covered by the Pannonian Sea. When the ancient sea dried up a few millennia ago, it left millions of tons of rock salt in this region. For thousands of years, people in Tuzla have been producing it thanks to the extensive saline deposits beneath the city. So, the development of Tuzla throughout the history has been intertwined with its salt reserves. The oldest written records about the salt exploitation in this region belong to some Old Greek documents. During the Ottomans period, the salt production increased fivefold. In the 17th century, even Luis XIV used the salt from Tuzla. In 1876 Bosnian salt was presented at the International Trade Fair in Philadelphia.
What put Tuzla on the world map is undoubtedly the salt. Therefore, this city is called “the cradle of salt”, and it even has a name forever related to salt. In Ottoman Turkish “Tuzla” means a “place of salt”. If you pay attention, at almost every corner of the city, you will find some traces of salt, a reminder of the city’s rich history related to it. If you observe the city from the hills, on the right side, you will notice unusual buildings in the form of wooden towers. These guardians of the city are salt wells that are not operational today, but they once represented the backbone of one society.
In the region of Tuzla, it is all about the Bosnian Salt Saga. One can see many connections with this mineral. For example, the names of locations such as Solni Trg (salty square), Slana Banja (salty spa), as well as rivers Solina and Jala. The name “Jala” actually originates from the Greek language and means, again, “the salt”. Probably the best landmark of this city is Pannonica, a unique Salt Lakes Trio, a perfect example how the salt can be used for health and relaxation purposes. What makes this complex so special is its position in the heart of the city, which makes Tuzla one and only European Salt Lakes City.
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