Salas Altas sits on the border of two very different territories; rolling agricultural plains covered with a mosaic of Mediterranean crops and the proud peaks of the Candelera mountain range.

The area is currently given over almost entirely to the production of wine. The origins of vine cultivation in Somontano date back to Roman times as proven by remains from archaeological sites such as El Plano, Lazán and Novalla, all within the environs of Salas Altas.

Traditionally the plots of cultivated vines were small and only served to provide the owner with wine. However, excellent climatic conditions and the quality of the soil led to a boom in commercial vine cultivation in the 1960s.

The dramatic relief of the Candelera Mountains determined the urban development of Salas Altas. The layout of the houses, adapted to overcome the steep terrain so as to avoid using the flatter, cultivable land, gives rise to an unusually long and narrow centre. It is divided into small neighbourhoods that are noticeably different; Bariomato, ra Balsa, Entremuro, ra Carretera, Calle de la Iglesia and Calle Baja.The streets of Salas Altas boast a number of magnificent houses that are known locally as “grandes” with elegant facades and harmonious structure. They have a living space, a storage area and a small outdoor courtyard that was often used for growing vegetables.

The steep streets of the Entremuro area reveal charming nooks and crannies as they lead towards a footpath to La Candelera chapel. Once the parish church, it was eventually replaced by the church of Santa Ana, erected in 1612 in the late Gothic style, due to its distance from town.

At each end of the village there are fountain known as “ro Puzo” and “Fuente d’abajo.” The name of the first makes reference to the well (pozo) excavated from the rock, whose spring feeds the fountain. Until running water reached the houses, these fountains provided all the village’s drinking water, for man and animal, as well as water to wash clothes. Half of the villagers went to one fountain, and the rest to the other.

 

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