Essen Travel Guide

  • Kohlenwäsche
    Kohlenwäsche
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  • Things to Do
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  • St. Gertrud church
    St. Gertrud church
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Essen Things to Do

  • Aalto's wall sculptures

    I keep reminding myself that Aalto designed these abstract wall sculptures in 1958, along with the rest of the building. I don't know if he had anything particular in mind, perhaps having curved forms that reach up towards the sky, or perhaps organ pipes.To me, though, they look like those famous photos of the remaining girders that were left over...

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  • Aalto-Theater

    In 1958 the city of Essen conducted an architects' competition to design a modern new opera house. The winner was the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976).Of course just winning a competition is no guarantee that your design will actually be built. The German cities of Leipzig and Kassel both held architects' competitions for new opera houses...

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  • Zollverein

    UNESCO old coal mine and coking plant, particular interest for me, two year apprenticeship in a coking plant!

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  • Alvar Aalto's Opera House

    Essen's modern opera house is not only a top class theatre but also a masterpiece of architecture. The history of its design and construction begins in 1959 when the city of Essen ran a contest which was won by one of the best European architects of the 20th century, the Fin Alvar Aalto. The following decade was spent discussing, changing,...

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  • Dom: Franz Cardinal Hengsbach

    The colourful, life-size statue of Franz Kardinal Hengsbach is a recent addition to the front yard of the cathedral. I spotted it in December 2012, during my visit in 2010 it had not yet been there.Franz Hengsbach became the first bishop of the newly founded diocese of Essen in 1958. He stayed in office until 1991. In 1988 Pope John Paul II...

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  • The route of the coal

    After the coal had been brought up out of the mines it was transported around the plant by these giant conveyor belts.Five huge "washing" machines with swiftly moving water separated the lighter coal from the heavier pieces of rock, but a lot of the sorting work still had to be done by hand. This was usually done by 14 to 17 year old boys, since by...

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  • Route of the coal tubs

    In the year 1934 the Zollverein had 10,400 of these coal tubs, which were in constant motion from the mines to the shaft to the processing plant and back again. To meet the goal of bringing up 12,000 tons of coal per day, each tub had to make at least one and a half round trips every day.Down in the mines there was always a shortage of empty tubs,...

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  • New life in the preserved buildings

    After nearly 55 years of continuous operation, coal production at the Zollverein Shaft XII ceased on December 23, 1986. Even before this, plans were being made to preserve the entire facility and to find new uses for some of the buildings.Not only can you take a fascinating tour of the plant, there are also concerts, lectures, readings, panel...

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  • Zollverein coal mine, shaft XII

    Designed and built in the 1920s, this shaft and processing plant went into operation on February 1, 1932. At that time it was considered the largest, most efficient, most modern and also most beautiful coal mining facility in Europe.The Zollverein was founded in 1847 by an industrialist named Franz Haniel (1799-1868). He gave his mine the name...

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  • Grillo Theater

    The Grillo Theater in downtown Essen is now the city's main venue for spoken drama, but for many years it served as the opera house while city officials were agonizing over whether to build Aalto's version.This theater was built from 1890 to 1892 with money bequeathed by a wealthy industrialist named Friedrich Grillo (1825-1888). It was in fact the...

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  • Philharmonie

    Right next to the Aalto-Theater there is a state-of-the-art concert hall called the Philharmonie, which is the home of the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra and also a venue for numerous visiting orchestras, chamber music ensembles and choirs. The current building is the third concert hall on this site. The first one was a wooden building that was built...

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  • Operas in the Aalto-Theater

    The Aalto-Theater is a quite busy opera house. In a typical week they might have up to five performances of three different operas, so whenever you go to Essen you have a good chance of seeing an opera or two. And if that isn't enough, the adjoining city of Gelsenkirchen also has a full-scale opera house that is a mere nine kilometers away as the...

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Essen Hotels

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Essen Restaurants

  • Great ambience

    A nice Landhaus ambience can be something simple, basic, just rustical (what has really its charme) or like this one - 20 meters from the Ruhr in the surroundings of Essen - a really bourgeoise quite noble ambience and charme what I really liked as well. The lunch we had was very good, although it was not too much...;-)) I had Matjes (young...

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  • great greek restaurant

    ofcourse Artemis is my greek name for Diana so i had to go here.i liked everything how it looks, nice staff and the food.we were here at 17.15 but after 18.00 people were waiting for a place to eat.so i think it is better to make a reservation. i hadcola diet €1.50zentauren-teller (a plate with giros (pieces of meat) and suvlaki (meat on a spies)...

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  • Unfortunately the owner changed...

    ... and the restaurant is not the same anymore. It used to be: Nobly dinner in relaxing surroundings - I loved this food there. It was always fresh, the cook composed unusual recipes and everything tasted really good. Also a nice location for summertime, because of a nice beer garden. all of the seafood

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Essen Nightlife

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  • Watch a Performance at Aalto Theatre

    Essen's opera house offers excellent opera and ballet (while plays are done at Grillo Theatre and concerts in the Philharmonie). Check what's on during the dates of your stay. Tickets can be obtained online through the website of Aalto theatre, too. I saw a ballet performance of "Carmen". The first part used Bizet's Carmen suite and told the story...

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  • Nord

    So, this place is also like a club, local bands are playing here live and the music is, well, I told you already, it is the better side of the music with only rock. Black is common here but in general everything goes well.

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  • History with your Culture

    The Grillo Theater is one of the oldest theatres in the Ruhr district. It hosts opera, ballet, the philharmonic as well as plays.

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Essen Transportation

  • Cycling in Essen

    Renting a bicycle in Essen is easy and inexpensive, because they have a large Bicycle Station right in the main train station. Rental of a seven-gear City Bike costs 7 Euros per day for the first two days, 6 Euros per day for the third and fourth day, and 5 Euros per day thereafter (2007 prices). I only kept mine for two days, so I had to pay the...

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  • Trains to Essen

    Essen is well served by numerous long-distance, regional and local trains.From Frankfurt am Main, for example, there are seventeen direct trains on a typical day, and 48 more connections which involve changing trains once or twice. (Not bad, huh?) On my last trip to Essen I changed trains twice, at Frankfurt Airport and Cologne (Köln), and the...

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  • Underground Subway

    Essen has a small underground subway line. I used the underground subway to get back to the Essen Hauptbahnhof after I ate dinner at Schnitzel Huber in Porscheplatz. It was a quick ride that helped preserve my feet for more days of sightseeing.

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Essen Local Customs

  • Coal

    There is no coal mining in Essen any more. The last mine closed in 1986. The city has not forgotten the base of its development, though. Essen is proud of being a mining town. A sculpture in Freiheit square behind the train station shows miners working in an inclined seam (photo 2).´ However, as happens often, the hard and dangerous work in the...

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  • Christmas Market(s)

    Essen's Christmas market is spread out over the pedestrian zone in the city centre. The main market is in Kennedyplatz, then there are additional smaller markets in Wlly-Brandt-Platz opposite the station, in Flachsmarkt, by the cathedral, in Rathenaustraße and around Marktkirche. Behind Marktkirche there is a medieval market. Porscheplatz has the...

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  • Essener Lichtwochen

    During the darkest season of the year Essen's city centre has extra illuminations that have nothing to do with Christmas. The Essener Lichtwochen (Essen Weeks of Light) take place from late October to early January. Each year one European country is chosen as "guest country". The pedestrian zone in the city centre is decorated with illuminated...

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Essen Warnings and Dangers

  • BillNJ's Profile Photo

    by BillNJ Updated Jun 1, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On the day of my visit, there was a marathon race through the city of Essen. As a result, the city closed many roads. These road closures prevented VTer Daniela and me from reaching the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex. Daniela tried a few different routes to no avail. Strangely, the city of Essen closed many roads, and they didn't post any signs for possible detour routes.

    Since we couldn't visit the coal mine, Daniela decided to take me to the Landschaftspark in nearby Duisburg. This park is an old steel plant that is now open to the public. I very much enjoyed my visit to this industrial site, and I have posted tips about it on my Duisburg page.

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Essen Off The Beaten Path

  • Essen's Miniature Golden Gate Bridge

    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...

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  • Stadtgarten

    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...

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  • Three Funny Figures

    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...

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Essen Sports & Outdoors

  • Kletterpütt

    This is where my new passion for indoor climbing started: the climbing hall in the old mining building Zeche Helene. They have great climbing routes in all categories, for absolute beginners as wells as pros. Height: 14 metersOur instructor was really nice and competent, some theory as well as climbing.Oh, and you can also do abseiling, which is...

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  • Crazy Golf at Baldeneysee

    As soon as spring is there I normally love to go and play crazy golf ... or as we call it "Minigolf". There is an old minigolf course at Baldeneysee and as it's the only one I know in this area we went here as soon as spring 2003 arrived with 20C in March. Of course we weren't the only ones, everybody seemed to have had the same idea ;-) All you...

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  • Essen Hotels

    68 Hotels in Essen

Essen Favorites

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  • Coal Pot? Outdated Image of an...

    The Ruhr District, nicknamed the Kohlenpott (coal pot), is one of the most underestimated regions in Germany and beyond. The general image involves coal and steel industry, bad air, grey cities and no green at all in those few bits of landscape that are left between cities. This was valid three, four decades ago but is long outdated. Since the...

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  • Named European Capital of Culture for...

    The EU Commission has selected Essen as the "European Capital of Culture" for the year 2010. Essen applied for the entire Ruhr region, the industrial heart of Germany.

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  • Touristikzentrale Essen (tourist office)

    The Touristikzentrale Essen (tourist office) is across the street from the Essen Hauptbahnhof (central train station). This office can provide you with information and guidance about the different sights and attractions in the city of Essen and the surrounding area.

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Explore Deeper into Essen
Altenessen: Zeche Carl and Malakow Tower
Off The Beaten Path
Borbeck Water Castle
Off The Beaten Path
Borbeck Park
Off The Beaten Path
The Angel
Off The Beaten Path
Stoppenberg: Parish Church of St Nikolaus
Off The Beaten Path
New ThyssenKrupp Headquarters
Off The Beaten Path
See a performance at the Grillo Theater
Things to Do
zollverein
Things to Do
Red Dot Design Museum
Things to Do
Funny Garbage Bins
Off The Beaten Path
Grillo Theatre
Things to Do
EVAG Day Ticket
Transportation
Carillon in Kettwiger Straße
Things to Do
Dom - Essen Cathedral
Things to Do
Kettwig: Get There by S-Bahn, Walk along the Lake
Off The Beaten Path
Kettwig: Old Town
Off The Beaten Path
Kettwig: Kirchtreppe
Off The Beaten Path
Old Synagogue
Things to Do
Villa Hügel and Park
Things to Do
Werden: What else to do and see?
Things to Do
Werden: The Treasure Chamber of St Ludgerus
Things to Do
Werden: The Abbey
Things to Do
Margarethenhöhe
Things to Do
Marktkirche - Market Church and the Blue Chapel
Things to Do
Zollverein: Walk the Grounds
Things to Do
Zollverein: Coking Plant
Things to Do
Zollverein: Ruhrmuseum
Things to Do
Zollverein: Visitor Centre, Movie and Viewpoint
Things to Do
Zollverein: Coal Mine in Bauhaus Architecture
Things to Do
Museum Folkwang
Things to Do
Ruhrpott melting pot: International Worker Culture
Local Customs
Domschatzkammer - Treasure Chamber
Things to Do
Dom: Adveniat Crypt
Things to Do
Dom: Crypt and Grave of St Altfrid
Things to Do
Dom: The Cloister
Things to Do
Ruhr Museum
Things to Do
Kohlenwäsche
Things to Do
How to get to Zeche Zollverein
Transportation
Shopping street
Things to Do
St. Gertrud church
Things to Do
Map of Essen

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