Once Germany's largest industrial hub, the Ruhr region - including major cities like Dortmund, Essen and Bochum - was a European Capital of Culture in 2010.
Essen's Cathedral is worth a visit
The Zollverein coal mine is Essen's most prominent landmark. The industrial monument is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and a popular cultural destination. The grounds are a prime example of Essen's structural transformation: No longer a working mine, the site now features museums and studios and hosts a range of cultural events.
There's more to Essen than its rich industrial history. Among the sights to see is the Folkwang Museum, one of the world's oldest and most prominent museums for art of the 19th and 20th centuries. It received an extensive makeover by star architect David Chipperfield and reopened earlier this year.
The Essen Cathedral is home to numerous world-class works of art - chiefly dating back to the Ottonian and Salian periods. The Villa Huegel museum, once the Krupp family home, is a symbol of the industrial era.
More from the Ruhr region
Dortmund, another city with an industrial tradition on the Ruhr River, is home to film director Adolf Winkelmann. Much of his work is an homage to the Ruhr region. In the video below, he'll show you around his three favorite spots in town.
From Visit Germany
Editor: Kate Bowen