Dazzling natural colors and World's oldest monopoly
Dazzling natural colors and World's oldest monopoly | China’s dead sea or Yuncheng Salt Lake, (officially called Xiechi Lake 解池) is located in Shanxi province and world’s third largest inland salt lake (appr. 120 km2).
While the Dead Sea in Israel is chloride-based, Yuncheng Lake is sulfate-based, supporting a diverse ecosystem.
The lake turns into a unique vibrant color explosion during summer by carotenoids (natural pigments) produced by a micro-algae called Dunaliella salina.
During wintertime, the salt flowers (sodium sulphate crystals) take care for another natural spectacle.
The lake has been of vital significance for China since ancient history. It is estimated that locals have been harvesting salt since 6,000 years.
The financial and merchant domination by Shanxi province during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912) with the start of modern banking systems (piaohao or Shanxi banks as foreigners called it) originate among others from the salt works at Xiechi Lake.
Chinese salt has been the oldest monopoly in the world dating 2,600 years ago, only slowly started to dismantle a few years ago.
CGTN, Atlasobscura, Wikipedia, allthatsinteresting