Essen is the city with two faces: The north face is still dominated by the remnants of mining industry, even though the lid was placed on the last pit in 1986.
The smokestacks of the Zollverein mine complex still tower over the city, but they have become symbols for a spectacular rebirth.
The south face of Essen is oriented toward the Ruhr: forests, gentle slopes above the river, elegant residential neighborhoods. The neighborhoods Werden and Kettwig, replete with half-timbered houses, make up the southern edge of this city of contrasts. In the center is the food trade and service center, complete with pleasant shopping areas. Not to be overlooked are the office towers of the big corporations that contribute to a swanky skyline: Essen demonstrates precisely that is no mere mining town and rightly -- representing the whole region -- merited the title of "Cultural Capital 2010.
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