Capper Nomads Europe Adventure Part 2 travel blog





















Rainy day. We left Daisy in the coach and headed to Bad Reichenhall to visit the Old Saltworks. The salt plant has been producing “evaporated salt” continuously since 696AD. After a fire in 1834 the salt plant was rebuilt at the insistence of King Ludwig I and operated on this site until 1926 when the New Saltworks was opened in the town.

Our tour started in old machine rooms where there was two huge top-action water wheels, which had diameters of 13 meters and weighed 15 tonnes each. These wheels operated 10 different suction and pressure pumps. The water was brought from the nearby Latten Mountains and conveyed to the wheel blades through a system of channels underneath the roof of the building. Each wheel had 92 blades. These wheels, still working today, have been in operation day and night for some 150 years. They were amazing to see.

We then went below ground to see the Grabenbach gallery. The Grabenbach is an underground canal for draining off fresh water. The canal is approx. 15m deep and runs under the town of Bad Reichenhall for about 2,200m and then flows into the River Saalach. The Grabenbach was first dug as an open canal between 1524 and 1538. Down below there was also several other interesting features such as the Karl Theodor water wheel linked into a rod system made of wrought iron and larch wood to a brine pump which has been in operation non-stop since 1796. There was also a naturally formed grotto where there was a groundwater reservoir, where the water level depends on the weather.

Our final stop was the pump rooms where the salt springs are brought 15m above ground. Even today the pumps raise up to 900 cubic metres of brine every day. At the end of the tour we finished in the gallery which gave an impressive view of the machine room with its large water wheels.

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