The industrial city of Witten is situated beside the meandering Ruhr River. Along with its neighboring towns and cities — including Bochum and Dortmund — it makes up the Ruhrgebiet, Europe’s largest industrial and mining region.
I know this isn’t the best tag line for tourism, but this region is opening up completely with its promotion of culture. With regular musicals, elaborate theaters, excellent orchestras, playhouses and celebrations of building design, you won’t find a better place to investigate for an insight into the local people and the challenges of the future.
Witten itself has many modern buildings constructed across city, as well as monuments and random sculptures dotted around — including 3 giant bells in the grounds to the Evangelical Hospital.
It has many outdoor areas to walk or rest, with a tram line through the center, or follow the busy Ruhrstraße south through the center of the city to find the Ruhr winding by, offering cruises throughout the area.
If you want the older buildings here, make sure you don’t miss a visit to Johanniskirche with its sharply pointed spire. The Rathausturm in downtown is a dominant sand-colored building with a domed roof supported on romanesque pillars that looks too heavy to be supported by the roof!
Outside of downtown is the Villa Hügel, a large property dating from the Krupp dynasty — a prosperous steel-working family who made themselves a great fortune — and they spent it well here!
To the north of Witten you could find yourself investigating the path of the disused railway, straight past the backs of houses and past warehouses, teasing you with a taste of the working history of the city. If you are a history buff, you may wish to get yourself onto one of the many routes offered as part of the Industrial Heritage Trails throughout this region.
Whether on foot, cycling or in a car, you can discover these adapted structures throughout the Ruhrgebiet — the Ruhr Area — including a visit underground in Bochum’s Mining Museum into an old working coal pit, or 62 meters up onto a platform in an old mining lift.
Zollverein to the west of Witten, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its adaptation of industrial buildings.