The Zollverein industrial complex of coal mine and coking plant in the north of Essen, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, is considered one of the most impressive industrial monuments in the world. Since the last shift in 1986, Zollverein has been transformed into a site for art, culture and the creative industries, attracting some 1.5 million visitors a year. It thus symbolizes the structural change in the Metropole Ruhr like hardly any other building. During its active industrial period from 1851 to 1986, the colliery was the largest coal mine in the world, the coking plant larger than any other in Europe. In addition to its extraordinary size, the architecture of the Zollverein complex is also outstanding – it is not for nothing that Zollverein is also called the most beautiful coal mine in the world. The famous 55 m high Doppelbock winding tower, also known as the “Eiffel Tower of the Ruhr Area”, is today the most famous landmark of the Ruhr Area and a symbol of the industrial culture of an entire region. It is the optical center of the impressive complex. The colliery was named after the German Zollverein, founded in 1834.
The numerous guided tours on the Zollverein Monument Trail offer a particularly good insight into the time when the facilities were still active. Visitors follow the “Path of Coal” along huge machines that have come to a standstill in the colliery’s surface installations and the production facilities of the coking plant. Those who want to learn even more about life and everyday life in the Ruhr area can watch a multimedia exhibition and a 360° film in the Portal of Industrial Heritage in the former coal washing plant. A footbridge connects the portal with the authentically preserved part of the Zollverein Shaft XII
connected. Past machines and conveyor belts, the route continues to the viewing platform on the roof of the coal washing plant, which offers an impressive view over the Ruhr area.
The UNESCO World heritage: Zollverein
Especially in summer, the World Heritage Site offers space for numerous events such as concerts, open-air cinema or a gourmet festival. In winter, an ice rink awaits sporting guests, where visitors can do their rounds amidst the spectacular industrial architecture. Driving after dark becomes a very special experience when the light installation by British artists Jonathan Speirs and Mark Major bathes the coking plant in blue and red light. In the summer, Zollverein is an attraction for anyone seeking a cool-down, as they can take a dip in the free works swimming pool during the NRW summer vacations. The pool was created in 2001 as part of an art project consisting of two overseas containers welded together and was actually only intended for one bathing season. Due to its great success, however, it now opens every summer. Those who get hungry in between shouldn’t miss a visit to the Casino Zollverein restaurant. Its premises alone are worth a visit: high concrete walls and relics from the industrial past are combined with wood, mirrors and chandeliers. The menu features miner’s fare, which is reinterpreted at a high level. Even though this impressive building is not within walking distance of the hotel, but takes about 20 minutes by car, a visit to the Zeche Zollverein is an absolute must when visiting the Ruhr area. You will be impressed how beautiful an industrial monument can be. It is also possible to explore the colliery during a 2-hour sightseeing tour through Essen. You can get on the train directly in front of the Messe Essen, 50 m from the Hotel an der Gruga. The tour with the double-decker bus is highly recommended!