Dortmund, Germany

Dortmund (map) is the eighth biggest city in Germany. Located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, it covers 280.4 sq km (108.3 sq mi) and has a population of 580,000 (2011 estimate). It is one of the biggest cities in the Ruhr area.

Dortmund is located on the banks of the Ruhr River. It is also the terminus of the Dortmund-Ems Canal, which ends at Dortmund Port, the biggest canal port in Europe. The city was formerly a center for heavy industries and coal mining, but today it has shifted emphasis to medium-sized information technology companies, many in association with the local university.

The first mention of Dortmund in history appeared in AD 880, when it was known as a village called Throtmanni. After a fire razed the village, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa rebuilt it in 1152. In the 13th century Dortmund became an Imperial Free City and one of the major cities in the Hanseatic League.

During the 19th century, Dortmund developed as a center for heavy industries within the Kingdom of Prussia. The main industries in the city were coal mining and steel milling. During the Second World War, Dortmund was a center supplying petroleum, oil and lubrication to the Nazis. This made it a target for Allied bombings, which severely destroyed the city.

In the post war period, Dortmund rebuilt most of its important sights and at the same time, moved away from heavy industries to become a centre for hi-tech industries. By the end of the 20th century, it had become one of the greenest cities in Westphalia. The city is laced with a network of waterways and surrounded by farmlands and forested woodlands.

Visiting Dortmund

You can fly to Dortmund Airport (DTM) which is served by a number of low-cost carriers including easyJet, Wizzair and Air Berlin. There are no trains or trams connecting the airport to downtown, so your option include shuttle buses and taxi. The shuttle bus goes direct between the airport and Dortmund Railway Station. A journey takes about half an hour and costs €6.00. Taxis costs about €25 on the meter – insist they use the meter or get another taxi.

Places of Interest to visit in Dortmund

  1. Marienkirche
    Protestant church originally a Catholic church dating back to 1170, destroyed during the Second World War and later rebuilt.

  2. Museum am Ostwall
    Museum with an outstanding modern art collection.

  3. Museum für Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte
    This museum, of art and cultural history, showcases interiors from different time periods.

  4. Petrikirche
    14th century church in the Gothic style, renowned for its altar.

  5. Propsteikirche
    Church with an exquisite late-Gothic main altar.

  6. Reinoldkirche
    Protestant church whose original building dates back as early as AD 800.

  7. U-Tower
    Museum that was formerly the Dortmund Union Brewery.

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