Essen Tourist Attractions
Essen, lying between the rivers Emscher and Ruhr, is the largest city on the Ruhr. It owes its importance as the metropolis of the Ruhr and the headquarters of many large industrial organizations (including Ruhrkohle AG, the largest German mining company, and Rheinisch-Westfälische Elektrizitäts AG) to its situation in the middle of the Rhineland-Westphalia industrial area. In addition to its heavy industry (associated particularly with the name of Krupp) it has a variety of other industries (electrical engineering, chemicals, etc.).Factory toursMany industrial plants in Essen can be visited on conducted tours. For details consult the local tourist information office.
In the Burgplatz in Essen stands the Minster (R.C.), one of Germany's oldest churches (ninth-14th C.). The most notable features of the interior are a seven-branched bronze candelabrum (c. 1000) and the "Golden Madonna" (c. 1000; the oldest figure of the Virgin in the round in western Europe). The rich church treasury can be seen in the Bishop's Palace (1955-56).
Essen's principal shopping streets (pedestrian zone) are Kettwiger Strasse and Limbecker Strasse, which run northwest from the Markt. In the square is the little Marktkirche (Market Church; Protestant), which is thought to date from the 11th century (renovated 1952).
To the east of the Markt in Essen lies the City-Center, a modern shopping complex, and the new Town Hall (106 m/348ft high).
The Old Synagogue, to the east of the Markt in Essen, has an exhibition on Jewish resistance and persecution.
Southwest of the Minster in Essen are the old Opera House, now used as a theater, and the German Poster Museum (Plakatmuseum).
To the south of the railroad station (Hauptbahnhof) in Essen is the busy square known as the Freiheit, from which Huyssenallee leads southwest to the beautiful Stadtgarten (Municipal Park), with the Saalbau (1949-54) and the new Theater (opened 1988) which was designed by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976).
Southwest of Essen's Stadtgarten, in Bismarckstrasse, can be found the Museum Center (1983), with the Folkwang Museum and the Ruhrlandmuseum.
The Essen Folkwang Museum, perhaps the most important art gallery in the Ruhr, mainly displays painting from around 1800, European sculpture since the 13th century and art and applied art from outside Europe.
Address: Goethestrasse 41, D-45128 Essen, Germany
Opening hours: Jan 1 to Dec 31: 10am-6pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24)
Entrance fee in EUR: Family €10.50, Adult €5.00, Concession or reduced rate €3.50, Child 5 & under FREE
The Ruhr Museum in Essen's Museum Center has collections on the natural history, art and culture of the Ruhr, and is one of the most important museums in this field in North Rhine-Westphalia. Outstations of the museum are two 16th century ironworks, the Halbach-Hammer and the Deilbach-Hammer in the Kupferdreh district, and the Isenburg, a ruined castle of 1288.
Southwest of the Museum Center in Essen lies the beautiful Grugapark (70 hectares/175 acres), laid out in 1929 for the Great Ruhrland Garden Show and enlarged in 1952 and 1965, with the Grugahalle (1958), an outlook tower, exhibition halls, a botanic garden, animal enclosures, an aquarium, an amusement park, fountains and several restaurants. A narrow-gauge railroad, the Grugabahn (3.5km/2mi), runs through the park.
West of the Grugapark in Essen, in the Nachtigallental (Nightingale Valley), is the Halbach-Hammer, a 16th C. ironworks.
South of Essen are the Stadtwald, with the Vogelpark (Bird Park; c. 1,000 birds), and the Heissiwald, with an animal enclosure.
The Design Centre in Essen is the world's largest design centre. There are more than 900 exhibitors in a modern architectural building with an area of more than 4000 square meters. The products on display at Red Dot have won the red dot design award.
South of the Stadtwald near Essen lies the Baldeneysee, an artificial lake 8km/5mi long formed by the construction of a dam in 1933. The open country around the lake is a popular recreation area. On its north side is the little Schloss Baldeney (13th, 17th and 19th C.).
On the north side of the Baldeneysee near Essen, set in a large park, is the Villa Hügel, a grandiose mansion built by the Krupp family. There is a historical collection in the Kleines Haus, and periodic special exhibitions are held in the villa.
The Werden abbey church (13th C.), to the south of the Baldeneysee near Essen, which belonged to a Benedictine abbey founded by St Ludger, is one of the finest Late Romanesque churches in the Rhineland (Late Baroque interior; treasury, with a bronze crucifix of 1060 and St Ludger's Chalice, c. 900).
Days of Old Music, Herne
Herne is the site of an annual four-day festival, Days of Old Music, which was founded in 1975 and takes place in November or December. There are usually about 10 performances, including chamber concerts, piano and organ recitals and musical instrument exhibitions. While the repertoire focuses on pre-baroque music, the theme changes every year. The events take place in the local cultural center and the Strunkede Palace.
Map of Essen Attractions