Formerly, until the mid 1980s, Zollverein was one of the world's largest coal mines. Nowadays it is world heritage and visitor center. The former coal washing plant is now home of Ruhr museum.
Located along the river Ruhr, Essen was traditionally a significant coal and steel center, one of the largest in Germany. Essen has modernized, hosting a number of large German corporations and boasting a vibrant cultural offering at a number of venues, particularly the Aalto Theater, which is an architectural masterpiece and home to ballet and opera. Essen is also regarded to be a “city of shopping”, particularly since the opening of the Metropolis shopping mall.