Mali Ston is located on the southern Dalmatian coast in Croatia. It is a true treasure, no doubt. There is plenty of evidence to back this up. But, the prime reason behind this article is due to Mali Ston being a source of magical inspiration behind my children’s picture book – MY GRANDMA IS LIKE THE SEA. Hence, why this is located within the ‘Parenting’ section of Nala’s Den.
Where do I begin? Or, more so where do I stop? In case you’re wondering, Mali Ston is a connection to my heritage and I can’t help but share more about this place. Surely, it will a-ston-ish you! The below is a narrowed down version of some seriously cool facts about Mali Ston.
Let’s roll with it…
10 Facts about Mali Ston
- Mali Ston was founded as part of the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) in 1333.  A rather strategic move, with the development of the fortification system and defensive walls planned to protect Dubrovnik and its boundaries.  Mali Ston also contributed a great source of wealth for the Republic of Ragusa, with thanks to its ‘WHITE GOLD.’
2. What exactly is ‘White Gold’? Answer: Ston’s highly regarded salt pans! The salt pans of Ston are one of the oldest and best preserved in Europe.  Have you ever wondered where the word ‘salary’ originated from?  Think in terms of SALT! At the time of Dubrovnik Republic, the value of 1kg of gold = 1kg of salt.  A key reason why the salt pans were so important to the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik). This was also a driving factor when originally purchasing this part of land. (When I was younger, I was always tempted to try and drink the salt straight from the beds). P.S. they are still producing salt manually today.
3. The port of Mali Ston closely mirrors the port of Dubrovnik. 
4. From the port of Mali Ston, salt would be taken to other places and countries. It was an important strategic point from where all the commerce took place.
5. The defensive walls of Ston are the longest in Europe, coming in at second in the world behind the Great Wall of China. 
6. Mali Ston is famous for its Oysters, Mussels (Molluscs) and highly regarded for its Seafood. Particularly the Ostrea Edulis (European Flat Oyster). The conditions are just perfect due to the combination of salt, fresh water and phytoplankton. The Oyster in itself is another source of inspiration behind my children’s picture book. Read more about it from BBC HERE, as well as on my Blog HERE. 
For more visual insight, click here to check out my cousin explaining the process – on behalf of Bota Šare restaurants.
7. The Ostrea Edulis Oyster (European Flat Oyster) received the Grand Prix and Gold Medal at the General Trades International Exhibition in London in 1936. It is also the 28th Croatian product to receive the European protected designation of origin. 
9. If you’re a peachy keen jelly bean on both cake AND pasta, then you must check out Stonska Torta originating from Ston. It’s like magic! When you slice this cake, pasta appears!
10. Some time ago, a communal bell would ring at lunch time to remind the locals of Mali Ston to have lunch at home. Solidifying the importance of bonding, family and a shared meal.
As you have discovered above, Mali Ston and its surroundings are a true treasure. Once time permits, you may be want to see this gem for yourself! Or try an Oyster or two… or 6, or 12!
- The stone walls of Ston.The Dubrovnik Times. November 2016.
- Historical-town planning ensemble of Ston with Mali Ston, connecting walls, the Mali Ston Bay nature reserve, Stonsko Polje and the salt pans. UNESCO.
- Building Dubrovnik’s Wealth: The White Gold of Ston. Sun Gardens Dubrovnik.
- Ston. My Croatia Cruise.
- From Salt to Salary: Linguists take a page from Science. NPR. November 2014.
- Oysters of Ston. Culinary Croatia.
- Ston. My Croatia Cruise.
- Renovated Ston Walls opened. Korčula Info.
- The Prized Famous Oyster of Mali Ston. Nala’s Den. 2021.
- Oysters from Mali Ston become 28th Croatian product awarded EU protection. Croatia Week. October 2020.
- A Delicacy that makes you feel Alive. BBC Travel. December 2015.
- What we can Learn from the Oyster. Nala’s Den. 2021.
- The Underwater Wine Cellars Of Croatia Beneath The Adriatic Sea. Forbes. June 2020.
- Bota Šare Restaurant & Oyster Bar. Time Out. September 2019.
- Story about Oysters. Touristar. 2015.
- Stonska Torta. He Needs Food.
- Great News! The ‘Mali Ston Oyster’ receives the European protected designation of origin. Just Dubrovnik. October 2020.
- Dubrovačka Novost ‘Body sushi’ je ukusniji od običnog. Slobodna Dalmacija. July 2011.
- Kapetanova Kuća. Lonely Planet.
- Dubrovnik Restaurants: Where to eat in Dubrovnik. Frank about Croatia. April 2020.