I’m sure we’ve all heard tales of the salt mines in Russia. Part of my husband’s youth was sliding on a hessian sack into the salt mines in Austria. The Gradation houses were a way of getting salt that I had never heard of until a visit to Bad Dürkheim, a city in the Rhein area of Germany.These gradation houses were used to produce table salt out of natural brine, in this case from the Maxquelle Spring. This is the only one of 5 gradation houses still in existence in this part of Germany.
The water was pumped by a myriad of pipes to the top of the house(16 metres) and trickled down over bundles of blackthorn brushwood (200 cubic metres larchwood and 1000 cubic metres spruce and firwood). The water was collected at the bottom and pumped up again. This procedure was repeated several times until there was a high salt content (you can see the white presence of salt in the photo). The remaining water was then collected and heated, evaporating off the water until only salt remained in the pan.
Looking along the roof, a span of 330 metres. This building was build in 1847 towards the end of the period where salt was obtained in this manner. It closed down for a short time in 1867 until someone realised the health benefits of breathing in of the large amounts of minerals in the form of microscopically fine drops, like inhaling an aerosol.The saltern was reopened for these benefits.
Walking along the walkways or sitting on the seats set on it for the purpose one can gain these health benefits and drink in the surrounding countryside at the same time.
A health industry has blossomed in the town as a result. I peered in through the windows at the spa pools but I didn’t partake. The saltern was a trace of the past that I previously had known nothing about.
In response to Paula’s prompt