The Ruhr area, a place with coalmines, blast furnaces and industry: not a typical holiday spot. We went a weekend in the spring of 2007 with our photo club. And we found out that the Ruhr is at least a very scenic place, maybe even beautiful. We plan to return there for a few more days, maybe next year.

The first day we went to the landscape park in Duisburg-Nord. Most buildings of this blast furnace are still there. You can climb the stairs of the high steel smelter, take a dive in the former gasholder or just walk around, wondering at the instruments and the plants taking over. Lots of people use the park for recreation: jogging, cycling, there is a climbing wall and even a playing garden.


At night the buildings are brightly lit in primary colours.  
The second day we spent close by but very different, at the Zollverein in Essen. This complex holds the biggest coal mine ever built in Europe. The red Eifel towers mark the lift shafts. There was a tremendous lot of mechanisation: it took only 83 seconds to get a cart down to the bottom of the 620 meter deep shaft, fill it with coal, get it up en unload it.  Completely different: here is also the longest escalator of Europe.

A bit to the back on the Zollverein you can find a Cokes factory. About 90% of the coal production was transformed into cokes, the main fuel for the blast furnaces.


Now that the dust of the coals is gone, the Ruhr area is an impressive place to walk, cycle and take photo's. And there is a lot more here, like a boat lift, a mining museum, a coal mine with Art Deco, villages with houses for miners and so on. We will return!