Gelsenkirchen is the penultimate of the UEFA Euro 2024 host cities that we will introduce on this occasion. We have already written about Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen another city from the Ruhr region known for mining. One of the symbols of this city is the football club Schalke, which has not been doing very well in recent years because the team is currently in the second division.
Gelsenkirchen – Places to visit
Gelsenkirchen, unlike the other host cities we talked about earlier, is not too attractive, but even in this city, fans can visit some interesting places where they can spend time before going to the game. One such place in Gelsenkirchen is certainly Alma Park, which was built in 2013 on the premises of the former mine of the same name. Here fans could spend their free time in a very high-quality way because the park has many attractions.
Alma Park is the largest indoor amusement park in Gelsenkirchen and also in the whole of Germany. More than 100,000 visitors visit this park every year. You can’t be bored at this place because there are several live escape rooms, paintball, bubble ball, laser tag, and after the party, you can refresh yourself in the restaurant area of this park.
In addition to Alma Park, tourists who come to Gelsenkirchen can also visit one of the most modern zoos in Germany. Zoom Erlebniswelt was founded a few years after the end of World War II. This Zoo Park is owned by the city. It is known for its incredible panoramas and cultural approach. The main attraction is mostly large animals, mostly mammals. It is a very interesting concept as it is divided into three separate parts.
The first area is Alaska, where you can see wild animals such as polar bears, moose, and sea lions. There is also a cave that looks like a gold mine, and a school bus and visitors can have fun on a driving simulator with an animated floor that gives the illusion of driving an igloo on a sheet of ice. In addition to Alaska, one of the main attractions in Gelsenkirchen has an area dedicated to Africa. In this part of the Zoo, you can see monkeys, lions, zebras, hippos, and a lake with flamingos.
The last part is dedicated to Asia and is adorned with a tropical climate, where you can see orangutans, flying foxes, Siberian tigers, orchids, palm trees, and much more. As for interesting buildings in Gelsenkirchen, fans can visit Schloss Horst, an imposing Renaissance palace, one of the oldest buildings in Westphalia. It was built in the 16th century and was one of the largest palaces north of the Alps.
During the last century, this place was a recreation center and a nightclub, and during the eighties of the last century, the restoration of this palace began, in it you can see a museum exhibit dedicated to the merchants who built it. Next to this palace in Gelsenkirchen, you can visit Schloss Berge, a castle dating back to the 13th century. Maria Anna Wilhelmine was born in that place, she was the lover of the famous composer, Ludwig van Beethoven.
Now the castle is a restaurant and a hotel, and in its surroundings, there is a park with large green areas and lots of water facilities such as the Berger See lake. During the summer, this castle becomes a music stage and a market. Since this region is famous for mining, in Gelsenkirchen you can visit the Nordsternpark, which is located in the area of the former Zeche Nordstern mine.
The mine was closed three decades ago and the old transporters became promenades. A 60-meter mining tunnel is open to the public. There is also an amphitheater in the park, where a heavy metal festival is held during May. Just a ten-minute drive from Gelsenkirchen is the most beautiful coal mine in the world, Zeche Zollverein, and it is under UNESCO World Heritage protection. In Gelsenkirchen you can visit Halde Rheinelbe and Halde Rungenberg.
Rheinelbe is a mine that was closed at the end of the twenties of the last century and the end of the last millennium, it was turned into an alien peak that is more than 100 meters above sea level. At the top is a 10-meter-high monument called the Ladder to Heaven. The Rungenberg is another fitting monument to Gelsenkirchen’s industry, representing mining spoils piled up in two pyramids. At the top are two rusty reflectors that resemble giant telescopes.
In Gelsenkirchen, there is also a theme park dedicated to the film. The park is organized into seven zones and has attractions based on famous movies and TV shows. You can see a 4D cinema show for the animated film Ice Age, a ride through time accompanied by John Cleese, and a Walking Dead-themed maze.
As far as football is concerned, the symbol of Gelsenkirchen is a club called Schalke. This team was the champion of Germany seven times, with the last title being won back in 1958. In recent years, the club has been experiencing a financial crisis and is currently in the second division. Just ten years ago, Schalke played in the semi-finals of the Champions League. Schalke plays its matches at the Veltins Arena, which holds over 62,000 fans.