is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia
. It is located on the Ruhr
river, there being the second largest city of the Ruhr area
and the 8th largest city of Germany. Population: 585,000 (2002).
Despite its largeness the city is not as well-known as other cities of comparable size. This is due to the lack of historical tradition. Essen was an insignificant agricultural place until the 19th century, although founded as early as about 850. The mining of coal and ore led to the growth of the city and the entire Ruhr area. Essen is the home of the Krupp family; the family established steel production in Essen in 1811.
Sights in Essen
- Villa Hügel: Built at the end of the 19th century by Friedrich Krupp as a house for his family, the palace-like building is of stunning size.
- Cathedral (Münster): 14th century, enlarged and rebuilt in 1958; not spectacular in appearance, but the interior is famous (many artworks from around 1000 AD, crown of emperor Otto III).
- Old Synagogue (Alte Synagoge): Largest synagogue north of the Alps; built in 1913, it was burnt out in the Nazi pogroms of 1938, but the framework survived the fascistic terror; restored after the war.
- Meteorit: A subterranean adventure park designed by the Austrian artist Andre Heller, mainly featuring light effects.
- Zeche Zollverein: Coal mine built in 1932, closed in 1986. The huge mine shafts are now open for visitors. They are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage due to their exorbitant architecture.
- Lichtburg: With 1250 seats, this cinema hall is the largest in Germany, built 1928.
- Werden: Once a city of its own, it became a borough of Essen in 1929; there is still a medieval townscape with many pubs and restaurants along the car-free streets.
- Museum Folkwang (see external link below).
- Essen is the largest city in Central Europe without a professional football club.
- Essen has the tallest town hall in all of Europe (109 m).