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E34, A2, 4 km east (north: exit 31 Vlotho-Exter; south: exit 29 Herford-Bad Salzuflen) /2 km/
Although quite near to the rumbling motorway the pleasant spa Bad Salzuflen lies at a safe enough distance for it to retain its pure quality of a bygone era.
Even with the motorway sweeping past just west of the town it can be a bit tricky to get in and out of Bad Salzuflen. If you are coming from the north, leave the Autobahn at Exter. If you are approaching from the south your exit is Herford- Bad Salzuflen. Once you are in the town, drive towards Kurgebiet Obernberg and head for Parkplatz 2. You will now find yourself in the pedestrian zone of the town. On leaving the town, watch out if you are heading north and make sure you drive towards Exter, or you will have to make an extra little tour of the boring suburbs of Herford!
THE SALT WHICH TRANSFORMED THE TOWN
The first time Salzuflen was mentioned in writing was in a document from 1048 which tells about “locum salis in uflon” (the salty place in the forest.) However, excavations prove that people have been living here from a much earlier date. The discovery of salt mines laid the foundation for wealth and prosperity among the inhabitants of Salzuflen and in the year 1488 the place was granted its town charter. The burghers had also had the forethought of buying up large areas of forest nearby which further advanced their situation, wood being a necessity in the production of salt. An encircling wall protected against enemy attacks and ruins of this wall are still standing with Katzenturm as the only remaining defence tower.
THE WHITE GOLD
The attractive patrician houses in the old town, built in the Weser Renaissance style of the 16th and 17th centuries, bear witness to the wealth which the salt – the white gold – brought. In the quarters around Salzhof, the heart of the town, the old, richly decorated half-timbered houses stand in line along car-free streets with the Town Hall as an obvious focal point. I do recommend a walk around the old town. Everything tells of a bygone era and yet you have one foot in the present here: behind the walls of the old houses the latest international fashion is on offer and the many snug little restaurants serve food from all sorts of different cultures around the world.
MIRACULOUS MINERAL SPRINGS
As the extraction of salt began to decrease, the salt waters took on a new role. Already in 1818 the first “bath season” started. In a pumping tower two bath tubs were installed on the windowless ground floor for the simple townspeople along with three bathrooms on the top floor for the notabilities of the town. This modest start was the beginning of a new era in the history of Salzuflen. The rich supply of water from subterranean springs with various miraculous minerals gave rise to an extensive spa enterprise with all the frills: drinking water from the well at “Wandelhalle”, dining well and dancing in the “Kurhaus”, attending concerts and theatre performances, strolling in the beautiful spa park, bathing in the warm pools in the gigantic bath- and fitness centre or inhaling invigorating “sea air”. The old gradation apparatus, a tall contraption of sloe twigs, where the salty water trickles down the walls and which had earlier contributed to raising the salt content during the production of salt, was now given a totally different function. Instead of walking along the seashore, breathing in the salt sea air, the spa guests could stroll to and fro past this extraordinary design and pretend to be by the seaside.
A MODERN SPA
Through the years the long bath tradition in Bad Salzuflen has developed into a modern medicinal and therapeutic health centre with a holistic philosophy. Some 50 doctors are working here in harmony with therapists of all kinds. Water therapy is an obvious feature, but massage, physiotherapy and a host of other alternative treatments also play their part. If you would like to learn more about the spa activity and its history you can visit the Bädermuseum (The Bath Museum) which is housed in a grand old house from 1618 at Lange Strasse in the old town.
Bad Salzuflen is a truly attractive town with a pleasant ambience and a definite quality of life, where you will always feel welcome, whether as a spa guest or just an occasional visitor.
Spa hotel with a pedigree