Although Dortmund had the status of an important independent town in previous times (it was the only free Imperial city in Westfalen), this appears also to have been its undoing. At the end of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), it could only get rid of foreign troops by payments of large sums of money. Dortmund became a more and more minor town (it had 4397 inhabitants in 1809) until industrialization reversed the trend. Apart from the usual coal and iron industries, it benefitted from the arrival of the Dortmund-Ems Canal, to which was connected the Rhein-Herne Canal. Dortmund was a major center for brewing beer.



The main pedestrian area in Dortmund is the west-east running Hellweg - the Hellweg goes right back to mediaeval times when it was the main route between Duisburg and the German interior. The Reinoldi Church lies at the junction of the Hellweg with another important route between Köln and Bremen. Opposite the Reinoldi Church is the Marienkirche. The building with a large U on top, seemingly looking like something to do with the underground railway is actually the former brewery of the Dortmunder Union.



Zeche Zollern


The former Zeche Zollern of the Gelsenkirchen Mining Company is the location of a museum. The Hansa Coking Works is being preserved as an industrial monument.



In the far South of the city, the heights of the Hohensyburg look over the river Ruhr. In 1900, the government of Westfalen decided to erect a monument to Kaiser Wilhelm 1 at the Porta Westfalica - upset at being overlooked, several industrialists erected a momument to the Kaiser on the Hohensyburg. According to legend, Charlemagne conquered a Saxon fortress on the heights in 775 and used it himself as a bulwark against the Saxons.





  • Westfalen Park

    Westfalen Park requires you to pay an admission charge. It is also the location of the 220 m high Florian tower (observation deck at about 140m) and adjacent to the Westfalenhalle and the Westfalenstadion. The 'Florian' used to have a bungee platform above the observation deck but in 2003 a jumper fell to their death when the rope broke. No further jumping was allowed and the platform was dismantled in 2008.