About 100 hectares north of Essen, Shaft XII, Shaft 1/2/8 and the Zollverein coking plant are now part of the World Heritage. It began in 1847 and ended in 1986 as the last coal was brought to the surface. 1993 the coking plant closed down. In 2001 Zollverein was inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Even today blastfurnaces, gasometers and pithead towers continue to give the Ruhrgebiet its own unique features.The area has 750 years of industrial history and undergone a great structural transformation which has been taking place for several decades. The old factories - many of which are under preservation. They havenevertheless been transformed into lively industrial venues and attractive centres for cultural events.
There is a project entitled "The Industrial Heritage Trail", a approx. 400 km circular route around the Ruhrgebiet, to show the region's industrial heritage to visitors. There are six important museums of technical and social history, many panorama points and a series of significant workers'settlements. A worthwhile area to visit.
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