By Arun Chitnis
Herne, a German city in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, is located in the Ruhr area. More specifically, Herne lies between the cities of Bochum and Gelsenkirchen. It was just a tiny village until the beginning of the 19th century, as were other towns in this area.
Herne became a city when the coal mining and steel production industries emerged. These industries boosted many other villages around Herne to city status, as well.
Herne, which has by now celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary, is now home to around 170,000 inhabitants. Today, Herne encompasses the former settlements of Herne, Eickel and Wanne, which were farms that came into being in the 11th and 12th centuries.
After the first coal mine began operations in 1860, the population of Herne increased many times over and, in fact, multiplied twenty-fold within a mere thirty years. This was sufficient reason to call Herne a city.
Similar dynamics went into the emergence of Wanne and Eickel, which merged to become the city of Wanne-Eickel in 1926. In 1975, the 70,000-strong Wanne-Eickel was incorporated into the city of Herne.
Herne has had its moments in history – not least of all on the 4th of June, 1940, when the Royal Air Force targeted it with a series of bombs. However, Herne’s claim to fame extends beyond historical events – it is also a significant tourist destination because of the so-called Cranger Kirmes fair in the Crange district, which adjoins the city of Herne.
This fair is held every August and is the third-largest of its kind in Germany. This event at Herne sees an average of 3,500,000 visitors each year. This major happening near Herne dates back as far as the 15th century, when farmers began trading in horses on the occasion of Saint Lawrence’s Day.
Herne’s Strünkede Castle (Schloss Strünkede) is a famous monument dating back to the twelfth century. It has been occupied by different barons throughout The Middle Ages, and today this castle – which formerly had an impressive moat – stands as a reminder of Herne’s glorious history.
It is home to the vast cultural history collection of the Emscher Museum, which has exhibited pertaining to pre-history and early history and the history of the castle in particular and Herne in general, apart from a fascinating collection of glass and ceramics.
The Municipal Gallery in Strünkede Castle Park also has impressive displays of contemporary art by artists hailing from the Ruhr area and Germany’s north-west regions. The Castle Chapel, which was built in 1272, is also located at the Castle Park. It is reportedly Herne’s oldest building.
Other sight-seeing destinations in Herne include the Teutoburgia housing estate, which originally housed miners and was later renovated to the impressive landmark it is today.
Herne also has the vastly refurbished Hülsmann Brewery and the famous Herne Town hall, not to mention the impressive Gysenberg Park and the various archaeological museums there.
Herne will also soon have a new educational institution in the form of the NRW College for Further Education. All in all, Herne is certainly not the least of visit-worthy places to consider while traveling in Germany.
© Arun Chitnis is a professional content and copywriter, proof-reader and editor. He wields his pen on a diverse range of topics, but his primary areas of interest are medical and lifestyle issues, family dynamics, parenting, natural health, home improvement, real estate, humor and fiction.
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The picturesque castle Strünkede water alone is a feast for the eyes. Year-round, it houses a museum and part of the Emschertal in summer, it attracts additional visitors to the events of the Strünkede summer. The final event is the spectacle surrounding the medieval castle. Here Ritter show their skills and jugglers and invite for a stroll through the medieval market. The highlight of this year, the jousting tournaments.
Photo source Wikipedia