Essen, Germany is a city in the center of the Ruhr Area in North Rhine-Westphalia, located on the Ruhr River. The city was named European Capital of Culture for 2010 on behalf of the whole Ruhr Area.
Essen receives a large number of visitors to around 50 trade fairs held each year. The Essen Motor Show alone attracts around 530,000 visitors each year. Also popular are the international car tuning fair, the SPIEL fair which is the world's largest consumer fair for gaming, and the Techno-Classica (vintage cars) fair.
Essen also boasts some unique tourist attractions for those travellors who are weary of castles and cathedrals. The Zollverein Industrial Complex is a closed coal mine and coking plant where temporary art exhibits are often housed. This large sub-surface coal mine has been awarded World Cultural Heritage status by UNESCO.
Also worth a visit is the Alte Synagoge, which was destroyed by fire in 1938 and was restored after World War II. Today this synagogue is the largest to be found north of the Alps.