Torrevieja is a tourist town whose life revolves around the sea and the production of salt. Its two huge salt mines, La Mata y Torrevieja, are surrounded by modern housing estates. Connected with each other, the salt mines were declared a Nature Reserve; they reach the sea through La Mata. Salt mining in this region goes back to the beginning of Christianity, though it reached its peak during the 19th century. Nowadays, Torrevieja's salt is exported to the whole world, and the annual production exceeds a million tons. In Torrevieja, seafaring tradition is kept alive by the significant activity of the fishing and trading port, the numerous piers at the Royal Sailing Club, and the International Marina. Towards the end of the promenade we find the wharfs from which ships, loaded with salt, would leave for Cuba. These vessels would bring, on their way back, the popular songs known as "habaneras", which still entertain the popular Coral Competition celebrated every year during the summer.