The Minister of Culture fulfilled his promise, returning to Sal five months after a previous visit with a diploma making Pedra de Lume an official National Cultural Heritage Site. The document was handed over to mayor Jorge Figueiredo, who in turn gave it to a representative of the village’s residents.
The event moved all Sal natives, given that Pedra de Lume, the salt marsh where the history of the island of Sal began, has now seen its historic and cultural role acknowledged.
The representative of the local residents, Jorge Fernandes, highlighted the satisfaction and contentedness of the population of Pedra de Lume with the classification, but nevertheless expressed sadness at the abandonment in which the salt marsh has fallen.
In Fernandes’ opinion, it was high time for this “just homage to the men and women who work arduously in the salt mines,” and warned that “this classification must not remain on paper alone. Work must be done to preserve our history.”
Sal mayor Jorge Figueiredo also spoke of the historic and cultural value of Pedra de Lume and reminded those present of his “battle” with Cabo Verde Investimentos and real-estate investors to preserve the site. “Pedra de Lume was handed over to foreigners, but today, with this classification, a new history has begun for Pedra de Lume,” he said.
In the mayor’s opinion, the salt mines, if preserved, could even become a World Heritage Site, given that Pedra de Lume is “the only salt marsh in the world that is inside a crater.” “Whoever wants to see it will have to take a plane to come here and enjoy this natural beauty,” he stressed.
Minister of Culture Mário Lúcio Sousa, who was applauded by the local population, called attention to the need for all to make a commitment to preserve this heritage. “This issue of heritage cannot be politicized. Culture is the only thing that unites us all. So all of us have to join together to preserve this wealth,” he affirmed.
This preservation work is to be guaranteed by a committee to be made up of representatives from the Ministry of Culture, the Sal municipal chamber and the local population, and will decide that projects will be implemented at the historic site.
Sousa explained that “from now on, no one can come here and demolish a rock, take home a salt crystal, or put down even one cement block without the authorization of the state.” Questioned about the tourist and real-estate projects that have already been approved for the village, the cabinet minister said that “those that go against the protection and preservation of this heritage will be rejected.”
“But this is something we’ll have to discuss with investors, because nothing that goes against the preservation of this heritage much move forward,” he said.
A large portion of the land plots in Pedra de Lume belong to the Stefanina business group, which has various tourist and real-estate enterprises in the works for the zone, and is also responsible for the administration of the salt mines.