Essen Things to Do Tips by BillNJ Top 5 Page for this destination
Essen Things to Do: 91 reviews and 212 photos
In the early 1890's, an industrialist named Friedrich Grillo donated a theater to the city of Essen which bears his name. In World War II, the theater was destroyed by Allied bombing. After the war, it was rebuilt in a simplified form.
Today, the Grillo Theater is the primary playhouse in Essen. With this tip, I have included the link to a website (in German) which provides information about current and upcoming peformances.
My guide, VTer Daniela (mickybleck), was going to take me to the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen. Unfortunately, on the day of my visit, all of the roads to the coal mine were closed due to a marathon race through the city (see my Warnings and Dangers tip).
The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Included with this tip is a link to the complex's official website. Daniela and other VTers have told me that it is a great place to visit.
In the Essen pedestrian zone, there is a square named after Cardinal Franz Hengsbach who became the Bishop of Essen in 1957 and attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965.
In 1988, Pope John Paul II appointed him the title of Cardinal Priest. Hengsbach lost the right to participate in any future papal conclave upon reaching the age of eighty on September 10, 1990, and, after a period thirty-three years, resigned as Bishop of Essen on February 21, 1991. He died shortly thereafter, and his remains were buried in the crypt of the Cathedral of Essen.
In the Essen pedestrian zone, there is a statue of Wilhelm I (aka William the Great) of the House of Hohenzollern on horseback. In 1861, Wilhelm I ascended to the throne as King of Prussia. Under the leadership of Wilhelm I and his prime minister, Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire. In the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, Wilhelm was proclaimed German Kaiser (Emperor) on January 18, 1871 in Versailles Palace.
From 1867 to 1918, more than 1,000 memorials to Wilhelm I were constructed. One of them is the equestrian statue located in the Essen city center.
Directions: Essen pedestrian zone
Today, most of Essen's city center is a pedestrian zone. On Sundays in Germany, most stores are closed. Even so, VT Daniela (mickybleck) and I weren't the only ones who took a walk through Essen's large pedestrian zone in the early afternoon. There are lots of shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes, theaters, churches, and other attractions. Best of all, there are no cars to worry about while you are walking there!
Located in the heart of the pedestrian zone, the Münster Essen (Essen Cathedral) is a lovely example of classical Gothic architecture. More impressive than the Cathedral itself, though, is the Cathedral Treasury which houses one of Europe's most valuable collections of church treasures. Its best known treasure is the the Golden Madonna, the oldest full-relief Madonna statue in the West, which dates back to the year 980 A.D.
In the Essen pedestrian zone, there is a prominent statue of Alfred Krupp (1812-87).
Alfred greatly expanded the small steel foundry in Essen founded by his father, Friedrich Krupp. When Alfred started with his father's firm, it had five employees. At the time of Alfred's death, twenty thousand people worked for Krupp - making it the world's largest industrial company.
Alfred was an innovator who invested heavily in new technology. Perhaps his most notable investments were in fluidized hotbed technologies (notably the Bessemer process) -- and he also acquired many mines in Germany and France. The company began to make steel cannons in the 1840s - especially for the Russian, Turkish, and Prussian armies. Low non-military demand and government subsidy meant that the company became specialized more and more in weapons. By the late 1880s the manufacture of armaments represented around 50% of Krupp's total output.
Alfred was also a pioneer in the treatment and compensation of his workers. Among other things, Alfred invested in subsidized housing for his workers and started a program of health and retirement benefits.
Alfred Krupp's legacy lives on today in the form of ThyssenKrupp AG. With sales of 51.7 billion euros and 191,350 employees in over 70 countries, ThyssenKrupp is one of the world's major industrial companies. The three main business areas are steel, capital goods and services. The company's corporate headquarters is in Düsseldorf.
Directions: Pedestrian zone
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