Fotoeins Fotografie

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Posts from the ‘Travel’ category

Halle (Saale): Making White Gold Since 3000 BC

What do the following six towns and cities have in common?

  • Hall in Tirol, Austria
  • Hallein, Austria
  • Hallstatt, Austria
  • Schwäbisch Hall, Germany
  • Bad Reichenhall, Germany
  • Halle an der Saale, Germany

Where Hall is more than a large covered room

With “hall” in their names, all six towns listed above are historically associated with salt production1,2,3. The word “salt” is represented in Greek as hals and in Celtic (Brythonic) as hal. In pre-Roman Europe, the towns of Halle, Hallstatt, and Hallein were three centres for salt-evaporation4 which eventually became salt-making centres for the surrounding regions of Prussian Saxony, Salzkammergut, and Salzburg, respectively. Archaeological finds around Halle and along the Saale river5 uncovered evidence of heated brine (at Doläuer Heide) from the mid-neolithic age (about 3000 BCE) and briquetage ceramic vessels from the late-Bronze age (about 1000 BCE).

Mark Kurlansky wrote1: “… Salt is so common, so easy to obtain, and so inexpensive that we have forgotten that from the beginning of civilization until about 100 years ago, salt was one of the most sought after commodities in human history.

Once a rarity, salt was a unique additive to improve quality of food preparation and consumption. Food preservation with salt also became a critical measure for survival, but also for improving the quality of food preparation and consumption. Whoever controlled salt production, sales, and distribution held power, wealth, and prestige.

Brine sources

A small geologic fault, the Halleschen Marktplatzverwerfung, runs underneath Halle through present-day Marktplatz (Market Square), creating the right conditions for rock salt deposits and salt leached and dissolved by groundwater into trapped pools within the bedrock. With their presence recorded as early as the 8th-century AD/CE, discovered about 20 metres underneath present-day Hallmarkt (“Das Thal”) were four brine springs6 which were significant to the city’s history of salt production. Systematic mining of salt began as early as the 10th-century AD/CE, and by the late 13th-century, Halle became a member of the Hanseatic League, providing further wealth and prestige to the region in the Middle Ages. Town residents who worked in the extraction and production of salt earned great respect and became known as the “Halloren”.

Siedessalz (evaporated salt)

Salt was extracted from the brine springs with the evaporation method. In large boiling pans, brine with a saturation rate about 20 percent is heated and boiled to temperatures of at least 70 degrees Celsius which removes water content and leaving behind salt crystal deposits; higher boiling temperatures creates finer crystals. The deposits are removed from the pans, then dried, ground, sifted, and packaged for culinary or commercial use.


The Königlich Preußische Saline (Royal Prussian Saline Works) was founded in 1721 on an island in the river Saale to create competition with primary salt production at the Thalsaline (Thal salt works at Hallmarkt) by the Halleschen Pfännerschaft (Panners Brotherhood); ironically, the latter took over operations in 1868. After operations halted in 1964, the facility was eventually converted to the Technisches Halloren- und Salinemuseum. The museum continues to produce salt using traditional boiling and panning methods.

At a modest haul of 70 tonnes (over 150-thousand pounds) per year, the Salinemusum is presently the smallest salt producer in Germany and the only museum in Europe to produce organically-certified salt regularly for tourism for visitors to buy and commerce to bakers, butchers, and grocers in Halle. The museum houses exhibitions of the city’s history; of the history of salt extraction and production; and of the Halloren, including their customs, privileges, and traditions. The museum has operated under the sponsorship by a non-profit association since 2010.

salt-making, Halloren- und Salinemuseum Halle, Halloren, Salinemuseum, Halle (Saale), Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany,

Salt extraction from brine pools.

salt-making, Halloren- und Salinemuseum Halle, Halloren, Salinemuseum, Halle (Saale), Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany,

Crystals of white gold.

salt-making, Halloren- und Salinemuseum Halle, Halloren, Salinemuseum, Halle (Saale), Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany,

Depending on purity and quality, the Siedesalz (evaporated salt) is packaged into a variety of different commercial products.

salt-making, Halloren- und Salinemuseum Halle, Halloren, Salinemuseum, Halle (Saale), Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany,

Commercial products: bath salts (Badesalz), coarse-grain (Mühlensalz) and fine-grain (Feinsalz) cooking salts.

salt-making, Halloren- und Salinemuseum Halle, Halloren, Salinemuseum, Halle (Saale), Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany,

Luther Rose made with salt.

salt-making, Halloren- und Salinemuseum Halle, Halloren, Salinemuseum, Halle (Saale), Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany,


salt-making, Halloren- und Salinemuseum Halle, Halloren, Salinemuseum, Halle (Saale), Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany,

Schlackwurst sausage, Soleier eggs, Saline-Bräu: all made with salt produced at the Salinemuseum.

Food and drink also highlighted salt made in the museum. Soleier are eggs (Eier) hard-boiled in a brine solution (Sole). The solution preserves the eggs without the necessity of keeping the eggs cool. The production and sale of Soleier was and is among the privileges and traditions of the Halloren. That privilege also extends to the Schlackwurst (German salami) whose tradition goes back to 1704. Fresh Schlackwurst starts with ground or minced pork, Halle salt, and herbs and spices. The mixture is stuffed into natural casings and smoked with beech wood, followed by a three-week maturation period before consumption. Both eggs and salami are delicious and are easily washed down with the Saline-Bräu, a Oktoberfest-Märzen style beer from the Brauerei Landsberg near Halle.

salt-making, Halloren- und Salinemuseum Halle, Halloren, Salinemuseum, Halle (Saale), Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany,

The museum’s general manager, S. Kohlert with my modest serving of beer.

Mr. Kohlert in traditional Halloren attire is about to serve me a simple 2-litre glass of beer. And yes, I am served! The silver sphere buttons (Kugeln) are the basis for Halloren-Kugeln chocolates about which I will also write in a future post.

My thanks to the museum’s general manager Steffen Kohlert, IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus, Isabel Hermann and Julia Oppat from Halle Stadtmarketing/Tourismus, Claudia Böttcher for her time, and Dorint Charlottenhof Halle (Saale) for their hospitality. I made the photos above on 1 November 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive. I also received assistance from the cities of Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dessau, Wittenberg, and Halle (Saale).

Notes & Sources

1   “Salt: A World History”, by Kurlansky, Mark, Penguin Books, 2003 (Google Books).

2 The present-day words for “salt” are halen in Welsh and Salz in German. A halophile is an organism which can tolerate and thrive in saline conditions. A halogen is any chemical element (e.g., chlorine) from which strong acids are produced with hydrogen and from which salts are produced. For example, high-school students can make a soluble salt by neutralization whereby an acid (hydrochloric acid, Hl) and an alkali (sodium hydroxide, NaOH) react to form a soluble salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) in a water-solution.

3   “Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia,” Volume IV (M—S), pg. 1555. Editor J. T. Koch, ABC-CLIO, 2006 (Google Books).

4   “Salt and Civilization”, by Adshead, S.A.M., Palgrave Macmillan, 1st ed. 1992 (Google Books).

6   The name of the “Saale” river is related to the German “Salz” for salt. Halle (Saale) is located in the southeast corner of Saxony-Anhalt, and is not to be confused with Halle in North Rhine Westphalia.

6   “Geschichte der Stadt Halle an der Saale von den Anfängen bis zur Neuzeit”, by Hertzberg, Gustav Friedrich, Halle an der Saale, Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, 1889 (British Library image scan).

7   “Halloren Lexikon”, von Jugendwerkstatt “Frohe Zukunft” Halle-Saalekreis e.V. 2016 (PDF).

Fotoeins Friday: top of Austria from the top of Germany

For over ten years, I’d been trying to confirm claims of naked-eye sightings (and subsequent photographic evidence) of Italy from Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany at 2962 metres. Not only did I verify the claim, but I also sighted additional mountain peaks of the Alps in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

The next question was whether I could see the highest peak in Austria. With Google Maps (see below), I determined a line-of-sight distance of 135 kilometres from Zugspitze to Grossglockner. I had been wise to use both wide- and zoom-lenses to cover as much of the horizon from the southeast through the south and over to the northwest.

Photo (1) above is at azimuth 105 degrees (east-southeast) at 70mm focal length. The area framed in a red solid line is shown in the next photo, and the area framed in a white dashed line includes peaks of the Nordkette (North Chain) towering over the city of Innsbruck. Labeled are the Wettersteinhauptkamm ridge along the Austria-Germany border, the Jubilämsgrat ridge descending from the Zugspitze summit, and the Gletscherbahn (glacier cable car) between summit and plateau 300 metres below.

With an optical-mechanical zoom at 300mm focal length, photo (2) below* shows Grossglockner (3798 metres), Austria’s highest peak, and Grossvenediger (3657 metres). Both peaks lie in the Hohe Tauern mountain range in the central eastern Alps.

Grossglockner, Grossvenediger, Hohe Tauern, Austria, Oesterreich, Alps, Zugspitze, Germany,

Photo (2): Grossglockner is Austria’s highest mountain at a height of 3798 metres (12461 feet) above sea-level.

Click the arrow-window icon at the upper-left corner of the map below for the legend.

* I made both photos on 25 February 2017 with the Canon 6D, 70-300 glass, and settings: 1/1000-sec, f/16, ISO500, and 70mm/300mm focal lengths; beide Fotoaufnahmen sind mit Wasserzeichen versehen worden. I made extensive use of Google Earth, Google Maps, Alpenwelt Karwendel, AMAP Austria (from BEV Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen), and Open Topo Map. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

Nobel-Rondell, Nobel Rondel, Nobel Prize, Stadtfriedhof, Göttingen, Niedersachsen, Lower Saxony, Germany,

Göttingen: The Nobel-Prize Round of Eight

I’ve arrived in Göttingen in central Germany not only to find a memorial to Nobel Prizes, but also to acknowledge my academic training. I spent many years studying physics and astronomy, and while I’m no longer active in science research, I enjoy the search and discovery of the final resting spots for scientists whose work formed a significant part of my education. Visiting their graves provides direct historical connection to “academic predecessors”; to go beyond the abstraction of simply learning their names and contributions to science, the gravestones belong to real people with keen minds, family lives, and all too human imperfections.

To date, 45 Nobel Prize laureates have been or are connected with the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. That’s a phenomenal number, as this single institution accounts for 8 per cent of all Nobel Prizes (585 as of 2017).

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Fotoeins Friday: Zugspitze from Ehrwald, Austria

The impressive near-vertical wall of the snow-covered Zugspitze mountain faces west into Austria, which is where I’m standing in the town of Ehrwald (Tirol). I’ve come here to see the mountain face bathed in late-winter afternoon light. Meanwhile, in the foreground comes a little truck with a farmer accompanied by his trusty canine companion, and a bale of hay in the back.

I made the picture above on 25 February 2017 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 glass, and the following settings: 1/800-sec, f/16, ISO1000, and 28mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

Freistaat Bayern, The Free State of Bavaria

Bavaria 2018: 100 years of statehood

Featured image: The blue and white diamonds (fusils) are a familiar Bavarian symbol, adopted in the late 13th-century by the Wittelsbach family who ruled Bavaria from 1180 to 1918.

As a product of the coastal and mountainous Canadian Southwest, I always feel the pull exerted by the Bavarian Alps regardless of where I am in Germany; it’s always been this way for the past 15 years. But there’s more to Bavaria than fairytale castles, Oktoberfest, and BMW, although they’re spot on for the Wurst (sausage). And frankly, there’s a ton more to Germany than Bavaria, but that’s one of many reasons for this entire blogsite after all.

Located in southeast Germany, Bavaria includes more than a half-dozen World Heritage Sites, the pre-Easter Fasching/Fastnacht festival, the sight of Audis on the Autobahn, over one thousand years of wine-making in Franconia, and violin-making since the late 17th-century, among many things to explore, eat, and experience.

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