Graduation walls in Salinental valley – breathe freely in the fresh salty breeze

Just like at the seaside - breathe in the refreshing salty air. Enjoy the beneficial effects on your airways, bronchial tubes and skin. Experience a unique cultural landscape. Peace and tranquillity. This is Salinental valley.

Salt is in the air: unique landscape

Salinental valley between Bad Kreuznach and Bad Münster is a unique cultural landscape steeped in history. One graduation wall after another, each 9 metres high, with a total length of 1.1 kilometres. Brine trickles down these huge walls of blackthorn brushwood which constitute Europe's largest open-air inhalatorium. A stroll through the valley is not only good for your health but an educational walk through the history of salt extraction.

Here, where the Nahe river winds through an impressive rock massif, salt was being extracted as much as 400 years ago. The Nahe valley has numerous salt springs. The brine has a salt content of around 1.5% and for 270 years salt was extracted from it. The extraction process required the salt content in the brine to be increased to 26%, and the graduation walls were a vital step in this process. In the 18th century, Baron von Beust invented the salt extraction process involving brine trickling down through blackthorn brushwood stacked in large frames (graduation walls), which resulted in the salt content being increased by natural evaporation. Using waterwheels, the brine was pumped seven times to the top of these graduation walls so that it could slowly trickle down again. It took a week for the salt content to reach 15-20%. The brine was then transferred to the boiling house where the salt was extracted.

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Used medicinally for 200 years

Today, the salt water comes from a 500 m deep spring in Salinental valley. It feeds the graduation walls, the open-air inhalatorium in the Kurpark gardens with the brine nebuliser, the thermal baths and the Crucenia Health Centre. Salinental valley has everything that is needed for salt extraction. For more than 100 years, trenches, waterwheels, graduation walls, a boiling house and workers' houses were in use for the purpose of salt extraction. This would all have disappeared long ago if Dr Prieger hadn't discovered the medicinal properties of the salt springs in 1817. The brine has been used for spa treatments and resort therapies ever since. Brine is still important as a remedy and is used in both inhalation therapy and spa treatments, above all in connection with rheumatic diseases, asthma or skin conditions.

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