Am Hafermarkt is where Obere Mühlenstrasse, Wenkenstrasse and Ritterstrasse intersect. This is the historic heart of the old town. Originally, this small square was probably used for markets – hence its name Hafermarkt (oat market).
The square is surrounded by stunning buildings: Haus Backs (Obere Mühlenstrasse 1) is particularly eye-catching. It is an outstanding example of Weser Renaissance architecture.
Work to restore – and partly reconstruct – the house was completed in 1987 and it now looks just as stylish and inviting as it did in the days of the Thirty Years War. Built in circa 1581, it was bought by Hermann von Exter and Ilse van Senden in 1632, who added a storage loft. The stunning facade is still indicative of its owners’ wealth.
Opposite it is the oldest building in Bad Salzuflen: the house at Wenkenstrasse 10a. This three-storey brick building with eaves running parallel to the street front was constructed in 1520, according to a Latin inscription above one of the window lintels (visible from Ritterstrasse).
Unfortunately, the text is now barely legible, but it reads: ‘D. Anthonius Giessenbier fieri me fecit 1520’ (Mr Antonius Giessenbier had me built in 1520). Giessenbier was once the priest of the (Catholic) parish of St Kilian in Schötmar, which – to the dissatisfaction of the independent-minded residents – also included the town of Salzuflen until 1531. He also occasionally took mass in the daughter chapel on Hallenbrink.
It is worth taking a look behind Haus Giessenbier and the adjoining row of houses. Farmers living in the town once used this picturesque lane (which does not have an official street name) to drive their cattle down because Wenkenstrasse was so narrow.