Salina Nature Reserve lies in the Burmarrad valley mouth (limits of St Paul’s Bay in the north of Malta). Originally a harbour, the Salina site consists of 154,000 square metres of saline marshland and a number of salt pans built on a reclaimed island of clay surrounded by garrigue. The site has recently been rehabilitated through a €7 million project partially financed with EU funds under the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development 2007-2013. The site’s potential to attract a number of species has been proven repeatedly by birds alighting in the salt pans to rest during migration, among which the most spectacular; the flamingo – a bird synonymous with salt pans, especially in the Mediterranean. Salina is a protected area forming part of the Natura 2000 network and also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) because of the endemic flora and fauna which can be found in the area.
The Salina Salt Pans were constructed by the Knights of St John in the 16th century. The complex is home to three timber huts which were reconstructed on the same style of the original ones built by the British in the 18th century for salt production, one of which serves as the visitors’ centre. It also includes the Ximenes Redoubt which was originally developed in 1715/16 during the reign of Grand Master Perellos as part of the Knights’ strategy of defending the Maltese Islands against invasion with a network of coastal fortifications. During the course of the 18th century, the redoubt was partially converted into a salt magazine. Grand Master Ximenes added a second warehouse to the complex to increase its storage capacity.