Graduation buildings were parts of saltworks. Originally, saltworks were used for many years to extract table salt from natural brine. The brine was trickled over the thorn walls and collected to increase the salt content. This process was repeated until the highest possible salt content was reached. This process, known as grading, is also the origin of the name of the buildings needed for this purpose, "grading buildings". The now boiling water was then fed into pans that were heated with wood or coal. Here the remaining water was evaporated, leaving behind the salt.
So originally, graduation houses and salt works were purely functional buildings that were operated according to economic considerations. It was not until the realisation that the trickling of the brine also enriched the air with microscopically small brine particles, which could have a healing effect on respiratory diseases, that salt works gained a new significance and purpose in the middle of the last century.
The Bad Dürkheim gradation house, one of the longest of its kind in Germany, is the last of six original gradation houses that belonged to the former Philippshall saltworks. It replaced an even older gradation building on the same site. This structure was built in 1847, at a time when salt extraction using salt flats had already become less significant. It was finally discontinued in 1867. However, in the spa town of Bad Dürkheim, which was undergoing development during this period, it was soon discovered that saltworks, in addition to their purely economic function as a production site for salt, also had health benefits. When the saltwater from the Max Spring in the Spa Gardens is sprinkled into the air, large quantities of minerals are also released in the form of microscopic droplets (aerosols), which visitors breathe into their airways. It was realised very early on that breathing in this air on the walkways and in the immediate vicinity of the saltworks can have a soothing effect, especially in the case of respiratory diseases. You can experience this today during a tour of the saltworks.
The original building from 1847 was rebuilt several times. The most recent reconstruction was needed due to the gradation building fires in 1992 and 2007. Today, the building is even more beautiful than before with a sun terrace and viewing platform, two 10 m high and 12 m wide portals, which offer amazing views. There is a kiosk in the south tower. The showpiece is a photovoltaic system on the roof, which could cover the annual electricity requirements of around 70 households.
The Bad Dürkheim graduation building, one of the longest of its kind in Germany, is the last of originally six graduation buildings that belonged to the former "Philippshall" salt works. It was already a successor building to an even older graduation building on the same site. This structure was built in 1847, at a time when salt extraction via salt works had already relatively lost its importance. It was finally discontinued in 1867. However, in the context of the spa town of Bad Dürkheim, which was developing at that time, it was very quickly realised that salt works had a very high health value in addition to their purely economic function as a production site for salt. During the trickling of the brine from the Maxquelle spring in the spa park, large quantities of the minerals are also released into the air in the form of microscopically fine droplets, the aerosols, which are absorbed through the respiratory tract by visitors. It was recognised very early on that breathing in this air on the walkways and in the immediate vicinity of the saltworks can have a soothing effect, especially on respiratory diseases. This effect can still be experienced today on a tour of the saltworks.
There is a kiosk in the gradation building.
Pets are not allowed.
If you would like to learn more about the gradation building, we recommend our guided tour "From salt production to spa". Information and tickets are available at the Bad Dürkheim Tourist Information Office.
The entrance can be found at the south tower.