Essen Attractions

Essen attractions include Zeche Zollverein, Essen Cathedral, inner city skyscrapers of Essen, Old Synagogue, and a cruise on Baldeney Lake.

Zeche Zollverein (www.zollverein.de) is a former industrial area that has been, since 2001, also part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.

As an attraction, it belongs to the category of most important historical European industrial sites (www.erih.net).

The region’s first coal mine opened in 1847, and by the 1950s, Zollverein coal mine and its coke (fuel) factory were the largest of their kind in Europe.

Mine shaft no. 12, which was built in Bauhaus style in 1932, is widely considered as an architectural and technical masterpiece, and has earned the destination a reputation for being “the world’s most beautiful coal mine.”

The mine shaft number 12 has been a museum since 1986, with the historic coke (fuel) factory, which constitutes the other half of this tourist attraction, has been a museum and an exhibition space since 2000.

Essen Cathedral (www.dom-essen.de), meanwhile, is located within Burgplatz, in central Essen.

The cathedral was built around 1275, in Gothic hall church style, from light-colored sandstone.

One of the main highlights in the church, in addition to its dramatic architecture, are the church treasures, notably including the Golden Madonna statue — the oldest sculptural Virgin Mary statue north of the Alps.

Essen inner city skyscrapers and the Essen city panorama is quite unusual for a German city, as the inner city silhouette consists of a number of exceptionally high buildings.

Densest concentration of these skyscrapers is around the main train station in Essen (Essen Hauptbahnhof), which is also the best location for taking city panoramas of these impressive buildings.

Most significant buildings within the Essen inner city include…

  • Essen City Hall with its 106 meters (347 ft) height, and
  • RWE tower (162 meters, 531 ft).

Of the Essen attractions, Old Synagogue (www.alte-synagoge.essen.de), on the other hand, is a cultural center and a monument, located near the Essen City Hall, at Steeler Straße 29.

The building was taken into use as a monument in 1980, and today, includes a synagogue built in 1913, one of the largest and architecturally most impressive evidences of pre-WWII Jewish culture in Germany.

Alte Synagogue is open to the public, and offers a meeting place for people, who are Jewish culture and religion, and also serves as an event venue for concerts, plays, and public lectures.

Finally, cruise on the Baldeney lake (www.baldeneysee.de/weisse-flotte-baldeney.html) is a cruise on the largest of Ruhr river reservoirs, located in the southern side of Essen.

The lake is a very popular recreational area, where swimming, however, is prohibited.

Alternative ways through which you can enjoy the lake include:

  • sailing,
  • boating, and
  • sightseeing cruises.

VIDEO: Deutsche Welle English satellite channel’s tour of Essen.

Baldeney lake is surrounded by a hilly and fairly dense forest area, which is a popular area for hiking, using the marked walking trails.

To participate in a lake cruise here, you can use, for example, the Weisse Flotte Baldeney (www.flotte-essen.de) company.