This suspension bridge crosses the busy Bismarckstraße next to Museum Folkwang. The ground in the South of the city is rather hilly, and Bismarckstraße is located sort of down in a 'valley' between two elevations. The bridge is for pedestrians and cyclists only. So the construction is obviously not very big. It is an unusual element in the street view, though, and I think the shape is well designed.
The park was installed more than 150 years ago. Wealthy citizens of the town donated money to create a green recreational area for the population. It is situated in the Southern city between the central station and the suburb of Rüttenscheid. The Aalto Theatre and the Philharmonie are both located on the edge of the park. It is an area to rest for example on the way to/from Folkwang Museum.
After the war the park has been redesigned and replanted - the previous trees must have ended up in ovens and hearths during the cold winters of the 1940s.
The park has a wide variety of unusual trees which do great autumn colours. These pictures were taken in November and there are still colourful leaves left. The pond in the middle is home to the usual specieses of ducks and waterfowl.
These three fellows are enjoying themselves on the terrace in the back of Philharmonie building, overlooking the Stadtpark. They are both funny and a bit intimidating. Their gesture is not exactly clear - are they calling us to come or showing muscles to start a fight? They are about two and a half metres tall, so it might be the size that makes them scary. They look like characters from some science fiction movie modeled from dough.
This one is for enthusiasts about industrial history and industrial architecture. Zeche Carl has one of the oldest preserved Malakow towers in the Ruhr district. The ensemble of the mine buildings (Malakow Tower, machinery hall and casino) is now a protected monument.
Mining works started in 1855, one year later the tower and the machine halls were completed. Coal mining ceasted already in 1929. From then on the mine served as air shaft for adjacent, deeper mines. In 1970 it was finally closed down. The buildings were to be demolished but a local initiative turned them into a youth and cultural centre.
Malakow towers were built as pitheads in the 1850's to 1870's. They contain and hold the hoist and the winding engine for the mine shaft. Deeper shafts required stronger buildings with thick walls instead of the wooden headgears that had been in use before. Most of them were built from bricks. The era of historism ornated them with architectural ornaments; this one can rather be described as neoclassical while others almost look like castles in neo-medieval styles.
Location: in the suburb of Altenessen North of the city
How to get there: Take the U11 or U17 to "Altenessen Mitte", from there it's a very short walk which is well signposted. Crossing the main street at the traffic light is notably shorter than over the bridge. Access to the grounds is free.
The little water palace in the suburb of Essen-Borbeck belonged to the convent of canonesses in Essen until 1803 and served as residence of the abbess. Its origins are medieval but the present appearance was shaped in 1744, when Prince Abbess Franziska Christina von Pfalz-Sulzbach had it refurbished. The inscription above the portal shows her crest and her full titles. A portrait of her can be found in the Ruhrmuseum at Zollverein (photo 5).
The front facade is framed by two towers. Otherwise the castle/palace is a rather plain rectangular building except for the simple baroque gable. The entire building is surrounded by a moat. The waters are populated by exotic ducks and black swans. A landscape park with beautiful old trees extends behind the palace and invites for a walk among the green.
The castle hosts a restaurant which looks a bit 'upscale' (though not too much) and romantic, especially the outdoor seating on the terrace by the water. I was alone so there was no romance, thus no romantic meal for me. (Sniff.) The menu looked good and I am keeping this in mind, just in case...
The City of Essen does civil weddings in the castle. Of course the restaurant offers matching arrangements, so the entire ceremony and festivity can conveniently be done in one place.
The economy building next to the castle is under restoration and behind scaffolding (August 2010).
How to get there: Tram 103 to "Schloss Borbeck", then a walk of 3 minutes downhill along Schlossstraße
The park behind Borbeck water castle (see separate tip) once belonged to the castle grounds. It was designed as an English landscape garden in the early modern age. Later on, nature has worked harder than the gardeners, so there isn't much "design" left, but it is a pleasant park to go for a walk and relax. Nowadays it is again well kept. Three ponds are remains of the landscape garden. One has an artificial island in the middle which cannot be accessed, though. Another is overgrown with reeds and looks more like a nature reserve than an artificial pond.
The park is popular among the inhabitants of the adjacent quarters for walking, running, taking their dogs, so it is lively, but you will meet hardly any tourists.
My walk took place in late November so nature wasn't in its most beautiful shape. It will be prettier in spring and summer, also in autumn when the leaves turn colour, and especially in May when the rhododendron bushes are in bloom.
This beautiful gilded angel isn't actually "off the beaten path" but the location is very well on it, but it is high up and easily overlooked, so I put it in here. The statue is standing on top of a side building of the diocese, just round the corner from the cathedral. A good zoom reveals its elegant curved shape. Does the outstretched hand mean a blessing for the city and its people, or is it pointing to heaven? Decide for yourself.
Photo 3: The angel is located on top of the front gable of the building on the right. The cathedral and treasure chamber are behind it on the right. The ferris wheel was only there for the Christmas market!
If you take the tram 107 to Zollverein from Essen centre, you pass through the suburb of Stoppenberg. The parish church together with the ensemble of the cemetery on the hillside and a smaller church on the hilltop will catch your eye along the way. The church, not really big but impressive with its tall nave, two spires and the stairs in front, was built in 1906/07 at the foot of the old church hill. The material is red sandstone, quite typical for the Kaiserzeit era before World War I. The style, also typical, can be described as a rather crude mix of neo-gothic and neo-romanesque with some art nouveau elements. The parsonage behind the church was built in matching style.
The church was unfortunately closed when I passed, the interior could be interesting.
The fountain by the street in front of the parish church recalls the founder, Abbess Schwanhilde. It is an addition of 1915, designed by the same architect as the parish church.
Stoppenberg is worth a stop if you have the time, as this is a place with a lot of church history. The first church on top of Stoppenberg hill was founded in 1074 by Schwanhildis, Abbess of Essen convent. This first chapel was enlarged in the 13th century to its present shape: it's the small grey church on the hilltop, above the cemetery (photo 4). In the middle ages there had already been a nunnery by the church; since 1961 a newly founded convent of Carmelite nuns has been using the chapel as their convent church.
I spotted this almost scary ensemble by coincidence from the tram on the way to Borbeck. It is still a construction site but close to completion (August 2010), the offices seem to be already in use.
ThyssenKrupp is a fusion of the two mightiest coal and steel empires from the early times of industrialization. The group have extended their activities to other branches but these two names are forever connected with mining and steel and capitalism in the Ruhr District. They are building their new headquarters here in Essen.
The complex of office buildings surrounds a wide water basin. Dimensions are as huge as the enterprise, more intimidating than inviting.
The main building shows the most interesting architecture. The cubic block has a big square hole in the middle, only closed by transparent glass walls. Bridges connect the floors on both sides. There seem to be some groups of chairs and flower pots; I wonder if these are used for business meetings and such.
An older, probably 1920s or 1930s office block of ThyssenKrupp is still standing on the other side of the road. Quite a difference in size and style.
Note the monument by the road. The bronze relief shows scenes from work in a steel mill, the work the company is based upon.
How to get there: Tram 101, 103, 105, 109 to "ThyssenKrupp", one stop behind Berliner Platz, thus not far from the city centre, should be walkable from there.
These funny garbage bins can be found in Viehofer Straße and around the church of St Gertrud at the northeastern end of the city centre. Someone has painted them all and turned them into funny green creatures with big mouths, all different.
When you are there, feed them please...
Should have been a transportation tip but I want to keep the Kettwig tips together.
Plan enough time for Kettwig because it is quite a walk from the S-Bahn to the old town. There are buses but they do not run too frequently, so you will most likely walk. Kettwig has two S-Bahn stops. I recommend not getting off at "Kettwig" but staying on the train until "Kettwig Stausee", the stop beyond the Ruhr lake, which the train crosses on a bridge. Walk along Werdener Straße until the footpath to the lake shore turns to the right. Walk along the lake and then cross it on the big street bridge. From the bridge you have the best panoramic view of old Kettwig with its two churches on the ridge, the lake and the Ruhr river.
The lake is actually an artificial reservoir. The dam is hidden underneath the bridge, one does not even notice it at first sight. A small lock allows boats to pass.
Think half-timbered houses with slate roofs, cobblestone alleys, a small town on a hillside crowned by an old church, overlooking a lake, pubs and cafes in old houses... The whole "fairytale picture" of old Germany. Would you expect THAT in the middle of the Ruhr district?
Well, it does exist. In this industrial zone, primary target to World War II bombs, a few old town centres have survived. One of them is Kettwig, now a suburb in the south of Essen.
Take your camera and stroll through the old town. Explore the side alleys at the bottom of the hill, too. The most spectacular part is Kirchtreppe, the stairway up to the protestant church, which deserves a tip of its own.
Travelogue page with more photos of old Kettwig
If you read German, you will find detailed infromation about streets and buildings on the numerous boards in the streets theat describe the history and architecture and how this very place looked in former times. A goldmine of information.
The steep stairway up to the protestant church is the most remarkable ensemble in Kettwig's old town. The six half-timbered houses along the stairway have medieval origins, although some of them bear the dates of later repairs. The oldest mentionings originate in the 14th century and archeology proved this true.
The alley used to be property of the church. It also served as one of four "fire alleys", shortcuts downhill to the water in case of fire. Only in 1850 the steep lane was turned into a stairway with steps and railings.
The figure of the night watchman was created in 1982 to substitute an older precedessor.
This area in the city of Essen was design and build long time ago for the steel employees. So I was told, but I am not going to repeat all its history here, please check the link and search the net for more precise information.
I also crated travelogue with more nice photos I took in this area.
My Gartenstadt Margarethenhöhe travelogue
Margarethe Krupp, the widow of Friedrich Alfred Krupp, was the benefactor of Margarethenhoehe (hence its name). She announced the installation of a "foundation for housing services for the inferior classes" at the wedding of her daughter Bertha to Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach in the year of 1906. The principle of unity of work place and living quarters was broken here, and the idea of a class- and status-embracing community was born. The planning and land development of the garden city was assigned to the architect Georg Metzendorf - he came from souhern germany and may notice the influence of that region in his designs here.