‘Drinking the waters’ - A history of the former Eisenach health spa
This covered walk and foyer is a testimony to the former spa facilities in the Wartburg city. Shortly after 1900, the “Eisenach Spa and Mineral Baths” were gradually established on the southern edge of the city. As early as 1902, the modern, upper-class ‘Kurhaus Hotel Fürstenhof’ opened to the north-east of the Carthusian Garden, including what was probably the largest banquet hall in Thuringia with a capacity for 1800 people! The ‘Wandel- und Trinkhalle’ (the gallery and pump room), built in 1905-1906, formed the centre of the spa operations following its opening in July 1906. The location of the gallery was on the former monastery grounds. Buildings on this site had served as an orphanage from 1694. Later, an orphanage and penitentiary were built on the same area from 1717 to 1720, and then used as a penal institution in 1819 (see photo). This was demolished between 1897 and 1900.
The architect Johannes Bollert from Dresden adopted the ‘frozen water’ motif from the columns, pillars, and cornices found on the terraces of the Dresden Zwinger. In the gallery, as in the Kurhaus and in the Sophienbad, mineral water from the Wilhelmsglücksbrunn spring near Creuzburg was served. This sodium-chloride-sulphate water was transported to the spa in a dedicated 14-kilometre-long pipe. The spa had to be closed down in 1938. After the Second World War, the Gallery gradually fell into disrepair, despite initial active use. From 2004 to 2018, the building was gradually restored in five stages by the Denkmalstiftung Eisenach, a trust foundation within the Deutschen Stiftung Denkmalschutz, a foundation for the preservation of German heritage buildings and monuments.
Since the completion of the renovations, the gallery has been used for numerous events in the summer months, ranging from rock ’n’ roll and reggae concerts to wine festivals.
DID YOU KNOW?
THE ‘MAGICAL' WATER OF THEWANDELHALLE…
Legends speak of the ‘magical’ dark blue water of the Gallery (Wandelhalle). At a festive ceremony, where important people were expected, the medicinal water suddenly turned dark blue and caused quite a stir. Following investigations, it was established that some children had pulled a prank. Blueberries were the source of the colouration. The children had picked and pressed the berries, before throwing them in the pipes so that the water was dyed dark blue.