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Regensburg: salt depot

Regensburg: salt depot
The salt streets are the oldest trading routes in Europe, twisting from Italy up over the Alps to the east, west, and north. Salt was often so cherished, that many soldiers had their wages paid out in salt portions rather than cash. During the 13th century, salt came to Regensburg via Passau, originating from the salt mines of Reichenhall. From Regensburg, the salt would continue on up river to key transfer stations where it would be further distributed. The buying and selling of the 'white gold' was run by the salt lords and was only taken over by the state in the 16th century. Horse-drawn carts, with often as many as 40 horses per cart, would bring the salt to the depot (Salzstadel) up until 1616. Here the salt would be stored in 3 main fl oors and 5 additional attic fl oors that were equipped with a complex rope-pull system to manage the fl ourishing trade. As the original wood construction of the depot could not bear the weight of the salt and wood beams were later replaced by stone supporters. The depot was completely restored in 1991. There was a toll in Regensburg due to the fact that the city was titled as a free imperial city and thus had the right to collect from ships. Here the ships would go through a channel directly in front of the depot, which is no longer present today. The province of Bavaria then built a passage way on the other side of Stadtamhof in 1600, erecting their own depot centre as an alternative to the toll. Many ships were then forced back to Salz stadel in order to pay the toll. In 1606 the city of Regensburg hired Hanns Heygl, also a captain, to take control of the situation. He was paid to stand watch on the bridge with his mighty axe, where he would hack the ropes of the ships as they were docked and would send them back into the dangerous currents making them unable to unload their cargo.

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