The town of Gerri
, in the Pallars region, cannot be understood without reference to what had been its economic driving force since the Middle Ages, salt. The salt basins, historically the most important there has ever been in Catalonia, give a characteristic appearance to the town, which is completed with the Reial Alfolí (Royal Salt Storehouse)
or House of Salt
and the monastery of Santa Maria
, one of the jewels of the Romanesque to be preserved in the Pyrenees.
The storehouse and the salt basins are the two basic structures used from the middle ages to extract
and treat salt
in Gerri. On one side of the Noguera Pallaresa
river, between the river and the town, the salt basins are irregularly shaped structures, with walls made of differently sized stone and covered with mud. The water that comes from a salt water spring close to the village is fed along here. Once it reaches these basins, one only has to wait for the heat to evaporate the water (a process also known as "Ofita mining") and collect the salt deposited on flat surfaces of stone framed with wooden planks.
or storehouse, was where this precious substance was stored, a rectangular building with three levels that currently houses the exhibits explaining the whole of the industrial process. Located in Plaça Major in Gerri, this is the largest civil building
in terms of floor space in the whole of the Pallars region.
Though salt production continued well into the 20th century, currently the alfolí and the salt basins allow the visitor to find out about the process of production, processing, storage and marketing of the white gold, salt.