Accessibility links

Harvesting Crimea's Rare Pink Salt

On the shores of the Black Sea, on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, lies a shallow saltwater lagoon named Sasyk-Sivash Lake. For centuries, traders have collected and sold the pink-tinted salt that the lake produces. The pink color is the result of microalgae that thrive in salty conditions and produce high levels of beta-carotene, a reddish pigment that protects it from the region's intense sunlight. In autumn, seasonal workers harvest thousands of tons of pink salt for export to Russia, the European Union, and Japan. (Photos by Aleksei Pavlishak, ITAR-TASS)

Wagons are filled with pink salt on the shores of Sasyk-Sivash Lake, near the city of Yevpatoria on Ukraine's Black Sea coast.
1

Wagons are filled with pink salt on the shores of Sasyk-Sivash Lake, near the city of Yevpatoria on Ukraine's Black Sea coast.

Reddish water, the product of algae rich in beta-caroteine, fills the shallow saltwater lagoon.
2

Reddish water, the product of algae rich in beta-caroteine, fills the shallow saltwater lagoon.

Mounds of salt at the production site. Annual production varies, but on average some 10,000 tons of salt are collected each year.
3

Mounds of salt at the production site. Annual production varies, but on average some 10,000 tons of salt are collected each year.

A man shovels salt at the top of a heap. The rare pink salt is exported to European countries and to Japan, where it is prized for its purported value in fighting the effects of radiation.
4

A man shovels salt at the top of a heap. The rare pink salt is exported to European countries and to Japan, where it is prized for its purported value in fighting the effects of radiation.

Seasonal workers harvest the salt in autumn, after some of the water in the lagoon has evaporated during the hot summer months.
5

Seasonal workers harvest the salt in autumn, after some of the water in the lagoon has evaporated during the hot summer months.

A miniature train carries salt along the shores of the lake.
6

A miniature train carries salt along the shores of the lake.

Salt has been produced here for centuries, and was once the main product traded by Ukrainian merchants known as Chumaks.
7

Salt has been produced here for centuries, and was once the main product traded by Ukrainian merchants known as Chumaks.

A worker oversees the loading of miniature train cars.
8

A worker oversees the loading of miniature train cars.

9
A worker walks alongside bags filled with salt.
10

A worker walks alongside bags filled with salt.

11
12
A pipeline suspended above Sasyk-Sivash Lake
13

A pipeline suspended above Sasyk-Sivash Lake

The final product is valued for its color and its alleged health benefits when used in food and cosmetics.
14

The final product is valued for its color and its alleged health benefits when used in food and cosmetics.

XS
SM
MD
LG