The history of the location and space which houses SALPOENTE mixes with the history of the people of Aveiro and their relationship with the natural resources which characterise the city and which make it unique in the country.
“From among the unique characteristics experienced in Aveiro, the salt pans of Aveiro stand out, absolutely inseparable from its people, having contributed to the consolidation of the main centre in the late sixteenth century, at a time when sedimentation resulted in some negative effects in the local shoal and, as a consequence, in foreign trade as well, of which the transaction of the salt extracted from the Aveiro salt pans was an integral part and which was indispensable to the to the growth of the Portuguese expansion policy. Whenever it was not possible to sell the salt after its harvest, it was maintained in great pyramids, whose surface was carefully struck with an instrument, specially developed for that purpose, to guarantee its perfect smoothing and compression. This protection was also reinforced with a sedge covering (harvested from the Ria of Aveiro itself) and with pieces of grass sod. These were the only materials which seemed to sufficiently minimise the harmful effects of rain and wind.
Despite these protection measures, some of the salt pyramids still suffered the effects of these natural agents, which, on the rare occasions which they did occur, created fissures on their surfaces leading to salt loss. And this was the main reason that some of the wealthier salt producers in Aveiro started building wooden structures in front of their own salt pans (sometimes at only a few metres distance), used as salt warehouses. And if the primary reason for their construction was the need to physically preserve the marketable product, the control of its prices and markets was no less important. In Aveiro today, there is a reduced number of these warehouses or “palheiros”, essentially used for the collection and sale of salt. Although some have been recently converted into social meeting places, such as is the case of Salpoente, others have remained in an undesirable state of abandonment and degradation.” Direção Geral do Património Cultural – República Portuguesa (Cultura) [General-Directorate for Cultural Heritage – Republic of Portugal (Culture)]
The two warehouses which comprise Salpoente are the only ones in Aveiro which maintain the original layout, making them one of the city’s heritage sites. In this way, SALPOENTE pays homage and dignifies the space, as well as Aveiro, restoring its former nobility.