Bad Reichenhall in Upper Bavaria is world-famous for its salt – the city also owes this to its salt mines, the oldest in Germany. The old salt mines are registered as an architectural monument in the Bavarian monuments register; they are a special witness to the history of technology in Bavaria.
The salt extraction at the foot of the Gruttenberg looks back on a long history. The Celts, and later the Romans, recognised that it was possible to extract salt here. The extraction of and the trade in the “white gold” was of great economic significance into the 19th century.
In the devastating fire of 1834, the majority of the salt work buildings of the time were destroyed. Following this, King Ludwig I. had a new facility for salt extraction built; it was planned by Josef Daniel Ohlmüller. The primary attractions of the salt works are the pump room and the two large iron water wheels. They have a diameter of 13 metres and have powered the pump system without interruption since 1850. The salt works chapel built in a Byzantine Neo-Romanesque style and consecrated in 1849 is also worth seeing.
The old salt works can be visited in a guided tour. The associated Salt Museum also provides an insightful look at the history of salt in Bad Reichenhall.