ABOVE: North Duisburg Landscape Park. INSET BELOW: The Kokereibad swimming pool in Essen's former Zollverein coking plant.
Essen, Germany and the surrounding Ruhrgebiet (a.k.a. the Ruhr Metropolis) have earned "European Capital of Culture" honors in 2010, and they're celebrating with special exhibitions, concerts, and other events throughout the year.
If a trip to Essen isn't yet on your calendar, you can take solace in the fact that many of the Ruhr region's attractions are "evergreen." Former coal mines have been turned into museums, a gasometer has been filled with water for use as a diving center, and other relics of Germany's Industrial revolution have been reborn as exhibition centers and concert venues.
A lot of interesting things are happening in the Ruhrgebiet, which is easy to reach from the major population centers of Germany and Western Europe. For more information, see:
Photos: Manfred Vollmer.