Photographer's Note

This is the unimposing origin of Ruhr river which gave its name to the Ruhr, in German Ruhrgebiet, an urban area in the state Nordrhein-Westfalen. With 4435 km² and a population of some 7.3 million (2008), it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany.

The Ruhr Area first developed as an urban region during the Industrial Revolution. Before industrialisation began in the early 19th century, the region was mostly agrarian and indistinguishable from surrounding parts of Westphalia and the Rhineland. Its loess soil made it one of the richer parts of western Germany.
The Hellweg, an important trade route, crossed the future Ruhr Area from east to west. Trade along the Hellweg spurred the growth of the medieval cities of Duisburg and Dortmund. Both were members of the Hanseatic League, and Dortmund was a free imperial city. Idustrialization began in the region with the establishment of several iron works in the late 18th century within the borders of the present-day city of Oberhausen. During the same period, locks built at Mülheim on the Ruhr allowed the expansion of coal mining further up the river and led to the expansion of Mülheim as a port. Development of the Ruhr Area’s coal deposits fueled further expansion of its iron and steel industry.
By 1850, almost 300 coal mines were in operation in the region. The coal was processed in coking ovens into coke, which was needed to fuel the region’s blast furnaces, which produced iron and steel. Employers recruited workers to the Ruhr Area’s mines and steel mills as industry expanded. The population climbed rapidly. The old cities along the Hellweg experienced rapid growth. Former villages developed into cities. Skilled workers in the mines were often housed in so-called miners’ colonies, many built by the mining firms. The Ruhr coal-mining district grew into the largest industrial region of Europe.
Before the coal deposits along the Ruhr were used up, new mines were sunk farther north.
As demand for coal slowly decreased after 1958, the area went through phases of structural crisis and industrial diversification, first developing traditional heavy industry, then moving into service industries and high technology. Still today the Ruhr is the biggest industrial region of Europe.
In 2010 Istanbul (Turkey), Pécs (Hungary) and Essen, the centre of the Ruhr, are European Capitals of Culture.

Ruhr river, having its source in an altitude of 674 metres in the low mountain range Rothaargebirge (please see map view), has a length of 221 kilometres and it meets Rhine river in an altitude of 17 m in Duisburg with the world's biggest inland harbour. The source has a productivity of 2500 litres per hour as an annual average.

Today a very popular trail for bikers follows the river in its entire course.

In workshop you can see two other views.

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Additional Photos by Frank Kaiser (Buin) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4253 W: 48 N: 10771] (42580)
  • Nordrhein-Westfalen photo
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