It was the city’s first coarse, public bathing facility and a particularly luxurious one at that: the royal saline bath at the gradierbau. Prince otto von bismarck had a cabin specially furnished for him here. The chancellor of the realm took his solbader there when he came back to bad kissingen for a cure. But that was a long time ago. The saline baths, saline restaurant and music pavilion were torn down 56 years ago to make room for the heinz-kalk clinic, which stood on the site until 2009.
At the beginning of the 19. At the beginning of the twentieth century, bad kissingen was on its way to becoming a world spa. At that time, however, the town did not yet have a public bathing facility that would provide medical baths for the spa guests. The luitpoldbad was not built until 1867. The kurhausbad existed at that time as an annex to the kurhaus, but was not built as an independent building until 1927.
Salines as a remedy
In the first half of the 19. The salutary effect of the brine was recognized at the beginning of the twentieth century. In the meantime, salt production was no longer as profitable as it had been in the past and was gradually neglected. So people started thinking about using the saltworks for the spa business. In the 1820s, more and more people in bad kissingen demanded that the healing waters of the round well, which contain a particularly high level of gas, be used for medical purposes. "Kurbaders were in strong competition and in other places there were already gas and brine baths at that time", explains birgit schmalz, historian at the city archives. The bad kissinger made an effort to catch up here.
In 1841, the royal government wanted to complete the first simple bathhouse above the round fountain. This first saline bath, however, remained in existence for just ten years, after which it had to be extended for the first time. "The saline bath has been rebuilt and extended again and again, because it was always not enough", says schmalz. From 1850 to 1852 it was probably demolished, rebuilt in a new and coarser style, and a lodging house was added.
All the time and decline
Bad kissingen had in the meantime gained an international reputation. Emperors and kings, but also famous musicians and literati came to the cure. With the influx of spa guests, the royal saline baths continued to grow in the early 1860s and mid-1870s. In the end, the two-story building reached a total length of 98 meters. It had 102 bathing cabins, which offered brine, jet, wave, gas and mud baths.
In the southern end pavilion there were luxury baths, among others the imperial bath and the bathing area of prince otto von bismarck. In 1887, in the northern end pavilion, additional noble baths for rich spa guests were established.
With its graduation building and saline baths, the lower saltworks became a popular destination for excursions. "The area has become an intersection between spa and tourism", says schmalz. The saltworks restaurant was built next to the baths, and the so-called bark pavilion was erected in the area around the saltworks. The area was well connected to the city center for spa guests and excursionists via the shipping traffic on the saale and the tranquil saline promenade.
But the heyday of the saline baths ended in the 20th century. Century ago. The demand of the hospitality industry shifted to the city center. The spa and sanatoriums there gradually built up their own bathing departments, and the luitpold and spa baths were also very popular with visitors because of their central location. "The saline bath was too remote in the end and was no longer needed", says schmalz.
After the second world war the US army used the saline bath for military purposes. After that, the once magnificent building could not be put back into operation as a bathing establishment. On 14. April 1964 was the end: two explosive charges turned bismarck’s bathhouse into rubble and debris.