Once a glowing beacon of heavy industry, this blast furnace ensemble is now a powerhouse of creativity, its landscaped park is a pioneering attraction for the new millennium.
This gigantic cathedral of industry from the early 20th century has its own special charm, and even takes on a romantic aspect at night when bathed in the glow of the light show designed by artist Jonathan Park. A true sight to behold, the blasting hall contains four turbo blowers, formidable relics of a bygone technological age. This hall has been converted into a 700-seat theatre and is now the venue for the Ruhr-Triennale festival. The most impressive structure is the central power plant which is 170 metres long, 34 metres wide and 20 metres high. In 2002, all the former industrial halls were converted into multifunctional performance venues which are hired out for events. From inside blast furnace number 5 you can peer into the gigantic casting hall, and outside it is possible to climb right to the top of the 70m high steel structure and enjoy superb panoramic views. The gasometer has been transformed into a unique diving centre for all abilities, while one of the halls now contains an open-air cinema. The German Mountaineering Association has founded a climbing centre on the site, and there are lots of places to play against the backdrop of the blast furnace, halls and labyrinth of pipes. On the high ropes course, trained instructors offer an enthralling and sometimes surreal three-hour group tour that follows a 'trail' along structures of iron and steel, past flickering lights and above precipitous drops. Public funds have been used to transform an important monument of industrial heritage into a 24-hour multifunction park for all ages, which ranks alongside Cologne Cathedral as one of the most important attractions in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia. Nearby attractions: The Route of Industrial Heritage is a 400km circular route that links various places of interest from 150 years of industrial history in the Ruhr region. The highlights are the 19 anchor points along the route, Grugapark Essen, covering 70 hectares, was established for the Great Ruhrland Garden Show in 1929 and is undoubtedly one of Europe's loveliest recreational parks.
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