Essen - the modern business, commercial and service metropolis in the heart of the Ruhr region. Essen is home to the headquarters of some of Germany’s biggest companies: e.g. RWE AG, RAG Aktiengesellschaft, E.on-Ruhrgas AG and Hochtief. The trade fair in Essen is one of the top-ten German trade fair locations. But the business prowess of Essen is just one of the many aspects that go to make up this multifaceted city. With some 600,000 inhabitabnts, Essen is one of Germany’s largest cities. Essen lies at the heart of the Metropole Ruhr, in which about six million people live and work. That makes the Metropole Ruhr the third largest conurbation in Europe after London and Paris.
One fact that amazes many visitors on seeing the modern skyline of Essen is that the city can look back on a very long history. In the year 2002, Essen celebrated the 1150th anniversary of the convent and of the city of Essen.
The most famous landmark of the Ruhr region, the Zollverein Colliery in Essen, along with the adjacent area of the coking plant, was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001. This beautiful colliery complex, completely built in the Bauhaus style and declared a protected monument in 1986, is not a museum-like, forbidden place: on the contrary, the colliery facilities are now a creative centre and a location for events. The Design Centre NRW, the Choreographic Centre NRW, workshops, studios and art studios are located here. Guided tours through the above-ground mining facilities still give an authentic impression of the work of the miners.

The Folkwang Museum has an international name among art lovers not only on account of its outstanding collection of 19th and 20th century paintings, but also for its spectacular special exhibitions - such as the recent “Cézanne and the Dawn of Modern Art”. Still located next door to the Folkwang Museum is the Ruhrland Museum. An absolute must for art lovers are the exhibitions in the Villa Hügel. Apart from special shows, a visit to Villa Hügel, the former family home of the Krupps, is always worth while, if only because of its grounds, the wonderful Hügelpark ...

What the people of Essen particularly like about their city is the combination of urban life with parks and recreational areas. The Grugapark, close to the site of the trade fair, is one of the largest and most attractive city gardens in Germany. The Baldeneysee lake and its surroundings are a much-loved destination for anglers, oarsmen, surfers, yachtsmen and inline skaters. Every year, the big names in sailing meet here for the largest lake regatta in Germany, the Essen Week.

The Old Synagogue is an impressive reminder of one of the darkest chapters in the history of the city. Built from 1911 to 1913, it was one of the most beautiful and largest Jewish places of worship in Germany until it was set afire during the night of the pogroms in November 1938. Since 1980, the Old Synagogue is a place of remembrance and a political-historical documentation forum.

Essen has a reputation as a city of music. The Aalto Opera House, under its director and conductor-in-chief Stefan Soltesz, has a name that extends far beyond the region - not only for its music, but also for the architecture of the building.

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