In its heyday, the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen was one of the largest and most modern collieries and coking plants in the world.
The outstanding features of Shaft 12 set new standards in industrial design, based on the principles of the New Objectivity. Its two architects, Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer, created a harmonious blend of geometric shapes and symmetrical features arranged around two axes. Today, the colliery and the functionally integrated Zollverein coking plant built by Fritz Schupp together form a remarkable industrial landscape of international importance. At the same time, they are also a vibrant cultural venue. Regarded as ‘the most beautiful colliery in the world’, the complex is a testament to the modern architectural movement of the 1920s and 1930s and the rise of heavy industry. The Denkmalpfad Zollverein® discovery trail runs through an open-cast mine left in its original condition, where expert guides help visitors to understand the different stages involved in coal production. The tour uses models, video clips and interactive museum technology to illustrate the process – along with a soundtrack of authentic noises.