Essen [ˈɛsn̩] is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the Ruhr river, there being the second largest city of the Ruhr area and the 6th largest city of Germany. Population: 586,205 (as of 30.06.2004).
Despite its size, the city is not as well-known as other cities of comparable size. Essen was an insignificant agricultural town until the 19th century, although founded as early as about 845. 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. After having undergone major economic changes after the Second World War, Essen is now home to a high-class college of art, many industrial sights (Zeche Zollverein) and a major collection of art (Folkwang Museum).
Essen's Twin Cities include:
Sights in Essen
- Villa Hügel: Built at the end of the 19th century by industrial magnate Alfred Krupp as his family home. Today it is often used for temporary art exhibitions.
- Zeche und Kokerei Zollverein: Coal mine (built in 1932, closed in 1986) and coking plant (built in 1961, closed in 1993). The precincts are now open to visitors and frequently houses temporary art exhibitions. The Zollverein is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage due to its unique Bauhaus architecture.
- Museum Folkwang (see external link below).
- Essener Münster: 14th century cathedral, enlarged and rebuilt in 1958; not spectacular in appearance, but having some exquisite objects on display in the attached treasure house: Artworks from around 1000 AD, a crown of emperor Otto III), the oldest preserved sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the world (Goldene Madonna).
- Alte Synagoge: The synagogue was inagurated by the jewish community in 1913. It burnt out in the Nazi pogroms 1938 and was restored after World War II.
- 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; the center of the town has partly retained its medieval townscape with many pubs and restaurants. It is located near the Baldeney See and is home to the Folkwang College of Art.
- Kettwig: Also once a city of its own, and also located in the south of the Essen near the Ruhr river.
- Baldeney See: The big lake in the south of the city, a popular recreation area.
- Saalbau: The famous concert hall and home of the philharmonic orchestra of Essen reopened after renovation works in 2004.
- Aalto Theater: The opera house designed by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto is famous for its excellent theatre-company, lighting, costume and stage-design and overwhelming acoustics.
- Rathaus: The tallest town hall in Germany (106m).
- The Essen game fair in October, where the Essen Feather and the Deutscher Spiele Preis are awarded