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Gelsenkirchen Guide


Gelsenkirchen city is located in the region North Rhine Westphalia of Germany and is situated in the north of the Ruhr region. Car hire in Gelsenkirchen is ideal for seeing the sights in comfort and at your own leisurely pace. Book through us and we will compare the market to help find you cheap deals on car hire in Gelsenkirchen. The majority of sights can be toured on foot but if you wish to travel to the outer parts then we recommend car rentals as a convenient transport option.


Before the 19th century Gelsenkirchen was a small village, but the Industrial Revolution caused a significant growth in the cities population. When the mining of coal began in 1840 the population in the city began to rise and by the 20th century it was considered as the most important town in Europe for coal mining.

Gelsenkirchen was called the city of a thousand fires because of the flares of mine gasses being burned in the night. In 1928 the town merged with the city of Buer and Horst and it was renamed Gelsenkirchen-Buer, it was renamed again in 1930 and became Gelsenkirchen. It was an important area for coal mining and oil refining during the Nazi era and as a result it became a target for bombing raids by the Allied Forces during World War II.

Explore Gelsenkirchen

Gelsenkirchen has many attractive sites. It's most important historical building is the Horst Castle, which is a venue for conferences and events as well as housing the local government offices. Tourists can also visit the first church in the town, the ecclesia Buron (church at Buer).

The Emscher River is a small river and tributary of the Rhine that flows through the Ruhr area. Another attractive place to visit is the city forest of Buer. Tourists to the city will find many of the old air-raid shelters that were used to protect the civilian population during World War II. In Germany these took the form of high-rise bunkers or Hochbunkers. They are unique to Germany and were built above ground rather than below it. They took many forms but all consisted of large concrete blocks. Some of the official buildings in the city such as the Hans-Sachs-Haus and the Buer town hall still have their air-raid shelters in their original form.

The synagogue in Gelsenkirchen is another tourist attraction. The original synagogue was burnt down during the anti-Jewish riots of Kristallnacht. Work on the new synagogue began in 2004 and officially opened in February 2005.

The Gelsenberg Lager is a popular tourist attraction as it was one of the many concentration camps in the area where approximately 2,000 Jewish women from Hungary were imprisoned and forced to move piles of rubble from Gelsenberg Benzin AG. The Gelsenzentrum contains historical documents associated with the camp.

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