Essen, City of Industrial History and Artistic Present
Essen, located on the Ruhr River, is one of Germany’s ten biggest cities. Governed by abbesses for more than 1000 years, Essen is a center for arts, history of coal and steel manufacturing, and even a major tourist attraction today.
The history of Essen starts in the 800’s; in 852 Aflrid von Hildesheim created a convent. This convent was created for daughters of the Saxon high nobility. The majority of the settlers to come by this convent were farmers. The Essen Cathedral, the convent, was destroyed in a fire in 946; the reconstruction lasted for many years ending in 967. The foundation remained intact and is still Essen’s Cathedral’s foundation to this day. The Werden abbey church was affected by two fires and rebuilt twice around the year of 1275, the earliest signs of written literature come from this church. Also in this year the Collegiate Church is also consumed with fire, but rebuilt in gothic style as it is today. Fires were big in Essen and nearly 300 years later a massive fire consumes all signs of the middle ages.
Continuation of the history of buildings in Essen starts again in the late 1800 when the Essen City Theatre is officially opened in 1892 as a gift from the industrialist Friedrich Grillo. A few years later in 1913 a synagogue is built by Edmund Körner, it is one of the biggest Jewish meeting houses in Germany. Two good future sightseeing opportunities come when in 1922 the Essen Kunstmusseum is created and is today’s Folkwang College for Music, Theatre and Dance. The other is GRUGA-park on Lake Baldeney; unemployed works in the early 30’s created a settling basin for suspended matter to keep the River Ruhr clean.
Essen was not automatically a city it took from 852 to 1896 for it finally to become a complete city. During the time frame of 971 to 1011, Prioress Mathilde was one of the first three prioresses from the Saxon royal or imperial family, her efforts in improving the cathedrals treasure with valuable objects created the treasure house into one of the most significant of its kind in Europe. Marketing rights were a big step to create Essen into a possibility of a town, in June of 1041 king Heinrich III gave Essen Marketing rights. Another event on the road to cityhood was being captured in 1244 by Konrad von Hochstadten; Essen gained its own city signet. Also Hochstadten creates a constitution of the Marketing rights that it already has.
The population was a major factor keeping the future city of Essen from becoming a city. By the end of the 14th century the population only gained 1,000 people (from 3,000 to 4,000). The “Black Death” was a big factor in slow population growth. Even by 1818 the population had not passed 4,500 citizens, only until two years after did the city see drastic changes in population. The major changes mainly came from incoming foreigners searching for jobs. Maria Kunigunde was the last abbess for the district had disbanded in 1803; three years later the French took control of Essen, though in the Vienna congress in 1815 Prussia was granted ownership of it. Finally after much population growth, total population of 100,000, Essen officially becomes a city.
Essen was a major coal industry until it was out of demand and it became a center for arts. The history of Industry starts in 1349 when Emperor Karl IV granted the abbesses to mine mineral resources within their land. Silver was the direct benefit from this right. Only 20 years later were they give the right to extract coal by Emperor Charles IV. The first mention of coal in Essen was only in 1371, and was not in extreme need until a century later in 1450 when mines started to appear. Not only was there coal and silver manufacturing but there were guns in production during the 1470’s, already 50 years later the Essen forge is producing 14,000 guns and pistols. The result of all this manufacturing and mining was the clearing of forests, for the increasing...
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