Germany's oldest active salt mine is celebrating its 500th anniversary this year and an impressive number of visitors today with its 28 millionth visitor.When the visitor mine was founded in the middle of the 19th century, only privileged persons, such as aristocrats or government officials, were allowed to visit the Berchtesgaden salt mine.Today, more than 380,000 visitors from home and abroad immerse themselves in the world of salt underground every year.Since 1945, the guests have been systematically counted in order to time the tours precisely to the visitors.Today was the day.The 28 millionth guest was eagerly awaited.“Admission is free for you today, you are the 28 millionth visitor," Martina Brandner, an employee of the salt mine, congratulated the astonished guests at the cash desk.The Wagner couple with their two daughters from Saarland could hardly believe that they, of all people, were to be the lucky ones.Peter Botzleiner-Reber, tourism manager of the salt mine, presented the family with a certificate, along with an overnight voucher at Berchtesgaden's 4-star+ Hotel Edelweiß, as well as a chronicle of salt mining in Berchtesgaden.

Berchtesgaden Salt Mine

Active salt mining since 1517, making it the oldest active salt mine in Germany

1517 by Gregor Rainer, Imperial Prelate and Provost of the Berchtesgaden Monastery

Operating time
Since its foundation without interruption

Brine production per year
approx. 1.000.000 m³

Wet mining

Mountain salinity
An average of 50 %

Approx. 100 at the Berchtesgaden site

Technical data
Extension of a drilling mud plant: up to 160 m long, 120 m wide, 125 m high
Active wet mining plants:30
Daily mining progress: approx. 1 cm upwards
Usable mining height:100 m
Operating life of a drilling fluid plant: approx. 30 years
Brine production per wet mining plant during the entire operating period: approx. 1.300.000 m³

Size of the deposits
South-West to North-East:4.5 km (2.5 km in mining)
North-west to south-east:1.5 km (1.5 km in mining)
Proven storage depth:500 m below the valley floor
Presumed bearing depth:1,000 m below the valley floor

Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG, Heilbronn
Spokesman of the Board, Ulrich Fluck
Board of Directors, Wolfgang Rüther

Duration of the guided tour through the visitor mine
1.5 to 2 hours including ticket purchase and changing clothes
(Overall partly with lighting elements for underground use)

Visitors per year
Approx. 382.000 (2016)

Salt shop:150 m²
Visitor centre:600 m²
Tunnels in the entire salt mine: approx. 30 km
Route length visitor pit railway:1.400 m
Length of the first slide:34 m
Length of the second slide:40 m

Opening hours
1 May to 31 October: daily 9 AM to 5 PM*
2 November to 31 March: daily 11 AM to 3 PM*
1 April to 30 April: daily 10 AM to 3 PM*
(*last admission)

Good Friday, Whit Monday, 1 November, 24 and 25 December, 31 December, 1 January

Site Manager
Raimund Bartl

Head of Department Tourism
Peter Botzleiner-Reber


Press article

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