The Tivat Salina is situated in the wetland part of the coastal strip of the Tivat Bay and it occupies the unused flooded area in the region of the Grbalj Field. 60 years ago, this area was designated as a saltpan, with built crystallisation basins, irrigation-drainage channel systems and communication embankments. However, it did not start to work. The saltpan is divided up into pools, each of which is approximately 3 hectares (150x200 m) in size. The total area of the lagoon is 150 ha. Two rivers, Široka and Koložun belong to the saltpan's catchment area.
How to arrive
By car: main road Budva-Herceg Novi, 20 km distance from Budva, 5 km from Tivat, 8 km from Kotor (via tunnel).
Tivat Salina throughout history
The earliest data on salt basins of the Tivat Salina are found in medieval records, where its significance for the economy of Kotor was described. At that time, Kotor's prosperity was based on the production and trade of salt. Articles regulating the production, import, export and trade of salt can be found in the city's Statute. In 1683, when this area was under Ottoman occupation, the area of the present Salina was described as very important for salt production and it was stated that it created 81% of the local population's total income. According to data from historical archives, the Tivat Salina always employed a number of salt workers for the preparation of bases, and construction of dikes, channels, outlets, etc. The salt harvest, which used to take place from April to October, involved the whole of the local working population and their beasts of burden. The area of the Tivat Salina is recorded as a saltpan in all historical maps of the area.
Flora and vegetation
In the flora and vegetation of the Montenegrin coast, the area of the Tivat Salina is characterised by vegetation populating halophyte wetlands. These are primarily meadows of Salicornia and Limonietela, Juncetalia maritimi and brackish water vegetation such as Phragmitetalia. Since these complex types of natural vegetation on sludgy-clay grounds have already vanished in most of the habitats along the Eastern Adriatic coast, preservation of the compactness of the area of the Tivat Salina as safe habitat of halophyte vegetation stands out as a special environmental challenge. The distribution of certain halophyte species participating in the construction of this vegetation in Montenegro is limited to this area and the Ulcinj Salina only. Therefore, the species registered for these two saltpans are protected by national legislation.
Amphibians and reptiles
14 species of amphibians and reptiles are registered at the territory of the Tivat Salina. Ten vulnerable and three endangered species are on the IUCN Red list of endangered species. All of these species show the preservation of this lagoon and its potential to ensure their long-term survival. Species of special interest for the protection in the Tivat Salina are the Skadar frog, Rana shqiperica and the European legless lizard, Ophisaurus apodus.
The immediate vicinity of the sea and well-preserved geomorphology of this lagoon, make it of special interest for birds. Shallow salty water rich with sea organisms, and sludgy ground rich with benthic organisms, attracts water birds for feeding, wintering and resting during autumn and spring migrations. Up until now, 47 species of birds associated with water habitats have been registered in the Tivat Salina. Four of them are permanently present, approximately 35 are wintering and six are probably breeding. With other bird species such as passerines, raptors, etc., a total of 111 species of birds have so far been registered in the Tivat Salina. However, the list is not even nearly complete because every year, a few new species for the area are registered. Since 526 bird species have been registered in Europe to date, the number of birds present in this lagoon corresponds to 21% of the total species of the European avifauna, which cannot be neglected. Special importance is given to at least 11 species from Annex I of the Birds Directive EU, and to several globally endangered bird species, such as the Pygmy Cormorant, Phalacrocorax pygmeus.
Special flora and fauna reserve
Because of the importance of the survival of flora (increasingly scarce along the 800 km long eastern shore of the Adriatic) and due to the fact that the Tivat Salina is a habitat for numerous endangered species of amphibians, reptiles and birds, it was declared a special flora and fauna reserve in 2007. This reserve was the first of its kind on the Montenegrin coast and the first area on the coast to be protected after 1968, when many beaches were protected. The Tivat Salina is an Emerald site under the Bern Convention and an Important Bird Area in Montenegro - IBA.