Dortmund, Germany: the most detailed and comprehensive city guide, the main sights of Dortmund with photos and descriptions, location on the map.
City of Dortmund (Germany)
Dortmund is a city in the west of Germany in North Rhine-Westphalia, one of the largest industrial centers of the country. With over half a million inhabitants, the city is located in the Ruhr area, Germany’s largest industrial agglomeration, and is the second largest in Ruhr and eighth largest in the country. The main pillars of Dortmund’s strength and wealth have been coal mining, steel production, and beer production. Today, though, the mines are mostly closed and the steelworks are giving way to high-tech industries. In Dortmund it is now difficult to find striking sights, interesting historical and cultural monuments. It is a city of workers and engineers, factories and various industries. It was not always like this, but apparently it will remain so.
Geography and climate
Dortmund is in the west of the Ruhr district on the Emscher river at the foothills of the Arde and Sauerland foothills. The highest point of the city is 86 meters. In the vicinity of the city there are several artificial lakes.
Emscher River (Dortmund)
The climate of Dortmund is temperate. The city is located in the transition zone between Atlantic and continental climate. That is why winters are mild and summers are cool. The average annual temperature is about 9-10 degrees. Mostly southwest winds blow. Rainfall for the year 700-800 mm. In summer it usually rains, while in winter the rain can be fine and prolonged.
Dortmund in winter
Dortmund was founded in the late 9th century. Until the middle of the 12th century it was a small settlement. In 1152, Friedrich Barbarossa settled here, who greatly rebuilt the city after a fire. After that, Dortmund begins to grow and develop rapidly. The city becomes a member of the Hanseatic League, receives city privileges and corresponding rights.
The city’s development continued until the Thirty Years’ War. After the war, the city falls into a certain decline. Although the status of the imperial city Dortmund remains until 1803. During the Napoleonic wars Dortmund is part of the province of Westphalia.
In the mid-19th century, thanks to coal mining and steel production, a new period of prosperity begins. Dortmund becomes one of the main industrial centers of Germany. In World War II, 98% of the old city was destroyed, but in the 50s of the 20th century Dortmund rose almost completely from the ruins.
How to get there?
Dortmund is a major transportation hub of West Germany. The city has an airport. A large international airport is also located in Dusseldorf. Rail services are also very well developed. Trains take you to Dortmund from most major cities in Germany. Buses also run very well. There are flights to Dortmund from many cities in Germany and Europe. By car you can get to the city on the A1, A2, A40, A42, A44 and A45.
Shopping and shopping
In the center of Dortmund you can find many different stores from clothing, shoes and souvenirs to electronics. Most of the stores are located around the Hellweg shopping district.
It should also be noted that the Christmas market in Dortmund is considered one of the largest in Germany.
In Dortmund you can find many dining establishments for all tastes and wallets. Most are, of course, located in the center. On Brückstraße you can find a large selection of fast food. We recommend stopping by the traditional Bierhäuser, where you can taste local beer and sausages.
Dortmund Christmas Market
Attractions in Dortmund
Unfortunately, almost all of Dortmund’s major landmarks were destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in the 1950s of the 20th century.
Old Town Hall
The old town hall is an ancient building in which the city authorities met. It is mentioned already in the 13th century. This building was visited by Emperor Charles IV. In addition, it also served a trading function. Here expensive goods and wine were sold. At the end of the 19th century a new neo-Renaissance style red sandstone building was added to the old town hall. In 2002, an exhibition hall was added. The Old Town Hall is located in the historic center of Dortmund, just south of the Old Market.
Old Market (Dortmund)
The Old Market is the oldest square in Dortmund, known since the 12th century. A popular meeting place for residents and visitors.
St. Rinald’s Church in Dortmund
A little further away is one of Dortmund’s main landmarks and symbols, the Church of St. Rinald. This Romanesque church was founded in the 13th century and is one of the oldest in the city. The interior of the church contains many ancient objects of culture and art, which were donated to the church in the 15th century. The 104-meter-high bell tower has a viewing platform.
Church of St. Peter
The Church of St. Peter is a Gothic church founded in the early 14th century. During the bombing of World War II, it was almost completely destroyed. The church of St. Peter stands on Dortmund’s main medieval tract, the Hellweg.
Church of St. Mary
The St. Mary’s Church is a Romanesque church from the 15th century with Gothic elements. The first mention of the church dates back to the second half of the 13th century. It belongs to the Evangelical confession.
Church of the Holy Trinity
The Church of the Holy Trinity is a Catholic church on the outskirts of Dortmund. It was founded for workers during the industrialization of the 19th century.
The Rodenberg House is a beautiful baroque building on the River Emscher. It comes from a medieval water castle from the 12th century.
On the outskirts of Dortmund are the ancient ruins of Seaburg Castle, built in the 11th century from sandstone on the site of an 8th-century Saxon fortress conquered by Charlemagne. The castle was destroyed in the 13th century.
Westfalenstadion is the largest stadium in Germany, the home of famous soccer club Borussia. It is one of the best soccer stadiums in the world. The stadium adjoins the park of the same name.
Also in Dortmund there are several interesting museums: the Museum of Art and Culture, the Museum of Natural History, the zoo, picturesque natural parks and artificial lakes.
Park in Dortmund
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The 20 best sights in Dortmund
Dortmund is the center of mining, steel and beer production in Germany. But it is best known around the world for its beer and its famous sports club Borussia. At first glance Dortmund is rough like all industrial cities, but close inspection reveals its charming inner world.
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Who should come to Dortmund and why?
This city on the Rhine is visited in large numbers by soccer fans. Dortmund is the home stadium of Borussia, the popular German club. The entire sports infrastructure of the city disposes not only to attend a match of the favorite team, but also to try your hand at various sports.
The old city is the center of architecture and industry. It will be interesting for historians and connoisseurs of the beauty of old buildings. Dortmund has beautiful cathedrals, churches and medieval castles.
Parks, promenades, children’s entertainment and educational centers, lots of playgrounds, museums, zoos and other infrastructure for children make Dortmund attractive for families with children.
historic sights and architecture
Old Town Hall
The town hall was built in the late 19th century right in the center of Dortmund on Peace Square. As it should be strategically important objects, it is decorated with the coat of arms of the city and belongs to the municipality. At the same place previously was installed a similar structure. The current one is a kind of its successor. The building has an exhibition hall, which is made of mirror and steel construction.
St. Peter’s Church
The building belongs to the Evangelical Community of Germany. From time immemorial, St. Peter’s Church has been called the “Golden Wonder of Westphalia.” Petrikirchhof was built in the Middle Ages. It has a square shape and a high spire, which reaches 105 meters.
The altar of the cathedral is its main relic. It was once brought here from Antwerp and decorated with gilded sculptures. In the open state on the altar you can see the stages of the cross of Jesus Christ. When closed, the scenes of the Eucharist can be viewed.
The reconstructed medieval structure was part of the city wall and used to be a part of the fortification complex of the city. It reaches a height of 30 meters and is set on pillars that prevent the foundations from sagging. The building has six stories with small windows.
Nowadays historical exhibitions are held in the tower. The museum collection consists of German household items, clothing and weapons.
House of Dellwig
Delvig’s house is called a castle on the water. This building was first mentioned in chronicles of the XIII century. The building was built for the knight Hermann von Dellwig. One of the last owners of the family castle was the widow of George Arnold Delvig, who lived in the XVII century.
Today the building is the property of the city. It is rented to a private person, so excursions in the area are not held – only the local history museum is located nearby.
Once the owner of this castle was the Duke of Salm, who ruled the country in the XIV century. Architects have tried with the design of the building – its facade is made in the Baroque style. Today on the territory of Wasserburg-Anholt there is a hotel on one side and a museum on the other.
The hotel rooms are decorated in a medieval style. Everything here seems to remind of the times of knights and beautiful ladies: antique sofas, dishes and other outlandish objects. On the territory of the castle there is a reserve, where deer, pheasants and other animals roam freely.
Church of St. Rinald
The church was formerly a Catholic church, but today it belongs to the Evangelical community in Germany. In pre-war times the church was a magnificent structure, the first stone of which was laid already in the Middle Ages. It is regarded by the Germans as a symbol of the Hanseatic city.
The architectural style of the building is varied: it is a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The highlight of the church of St. Rinald is the organ donated by the Walcker company.
Cultural sights and museums
Brauerei-Museum (Brewery Museum)
This authentic museum is not immediately visible in the city – at the entrance you’ll see only a small flag indicating the home of a private brewing collection. The Brauerei-Museum was founded in the early 1980s. Previously, the building was the machine shop of the Hansa brewery.
At first, the collection was rather didactic, educational. The general public became aware of the museum’s existence only in 2006, when it was opened for the second time after its purchase by a new owner. Today, guided tours are offered, and steam engines and logos of different breweries are among the exhibits.
Museum of the Cookbook
This unique museum, which has no analogues in the world, is called the “most delicious” in Germany. It was founded relatively recently – just over 30 years ago. Museum does not have an impressive history, but that is not what makes it so valuable.
Most of its collection consists of recipes by Frau Davidis, who compiled the cult German cookbook and simply a legendary personality. Exhibits also include antique stoves and kitchen utensils.
On weekends and holidays, the organizers often hold exhibitions and lectures on food culture and healthy eating.
This theater is one of the largest in Germany. Its original building from 1904 was destroyed in World War II. It was possible to reconstruct the structure in the 60s. Designers have developed a new project in a futuristic style – now the unusual roof of the opera house attracts the attention of visitors.
Museum of German soccer
Probably no other city in Germany has such a significant history of soccer. Dortmund’s sporting traditions are embodied in the collection of the museum, which was built opposite the railway station.
Among the exhibits are the outfit of the Borussia team, models of the first stadiums, and the history of the World Cup. The main mass of visitors are, of course, fans who come to the city after their favorite teams.
Hansa Coke Plant
The plant is an industrial landmark of Dortmund. It was built just in the heyday of industry – the 1930s. Today it is a cultural center, which many tourists and visitors seek to visit.
Employees of the plant acquaint visitors with the technology of coke coal production, as well as offer to explore the heavy machinery to understand the principle of their operation.
It concentrates a collection of contemporary art. The repository was founded in the 1940s, but was originally based in another building. In 2010, a special U-shaped tower structure was built for the Ostvall Museum.
Among the exhibits of the museum are photographs, paintings, sculptures of famous figures of the 20th century: Otto Müller, Ernst Kirchner, Emil Nold. In addition to German painters, works by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali and Wassily Kandinsky are on display.
Mine Museum “Zehe Zollern”
The exterior of this industrial building is more like a castle: magnificent Byzantine architecture, roofs topped with domes, imposing half-timbered buildings. Paul Knobbe was in charge of the design.
After the building was commissioned, it was nicknamed the “Castle of Labor”. And it corresponded to reality. Coal was extracted in the mine since the end of the 19th century up to the middle of the 20th century. Today its territory hosts a museum dedicated to the social and cultural history of the country.
To the south of the Westenhölweg shopping street is the town market. The square in front of it is filled with all kinds of sights. A splendid fountain made of brass attracts attention.
According to historical data, German merchants used to form a guild around the market. They also lived in nearby houses. Since the 15th century there was a building on the square, which housed the headquarters of one of the oldest breweries in Germany – Wenkers. Today the market is the site of festive events at Christmas.
Florianturm TV Tower
Located on the territory of Westfalenpark. The height of the building reaches just over 200 meters. Its main feature is the presence of an observation deck – with it tourists admire the city.
Florianturm was built in the mid-twentieth century. Then, before the construction of skyscrapers, it was considered the highest in the country. In the 2000s, when bungee jumping was popular, the tower was a center for providing special equipment to extreme people. But after the accident it was forbidden.
Travelers and visitors to the city do not have to look long for this street – it passes near the central station. Originally Westenhölweg was the main trading route of Dortmund, the founder of which was Charlemagne. Even today there are numerous boutiques and stores, where you can buy souvenirs, and quite a few restaurants and cafes, which in the evenings filled with visitors to capacity.
Statistics says that this street is the busiest in Germany. The street is one of the busiest in Germany. 13,000 people in an hour passed through Westenheilweg several years ago.
Signal Iduna Park.
Local team Borussia needed their own stadium since the 1960s, but its construction was constantly delayed due to lack of funds. Things got off the ground ten years later – and only when the city was due to host the FIFA World Cup.
The arena was built in the shortest possible time – less than three years. Today it is the club’s home ground, where teams meet at the highest level.
Parks and squares
Dortmund itself is located in the historical part of Germany – Westfalenpark. The park and was so named because of its geographical location. Today it is considered one of the best in the country. It was founded in the late 19th century by wealthy citizens of the city. The territory was landscaped for several years.
In the 60’s for the first time on the territory of the reserve held a horticultural exhibition. At the same time a lot of new things appeared in the park: children’s railroad, cable cars. In the center of Westfalenpark is the Floriantum Tower, which offers a marvelous view of the city.
Dortmund Park was founded in the early 19th century, on its vast territory (65 hectares) grows a large number of cacti, succulents, ferns, tropical plants, lemongrass. Many of them are grown in greenhouses. The Romberg Park got its name because of the noble family of the Romenbergs, who once owned this area.
The zoo occupies a vast area, which is entirely covered with vegetation. The animals are not the only ones who enjoy life at the zoo. Tourists and locals come here to take a break from everyday life, to relax and enjoy the solitude.
The zoo contains over 230 species of animals and birds, including pheasants, peacocks, owls and parrots. All of them are allowed to feed under the supervision of staff of the institution.