Essen is a city in the central part of the Ruhr Area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. For the year 2010, Essen is the European Capital of Culture on behalf of the whole Ruhr Area. Together with the neighbouring city of Mülheim an der Ruhr and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Essen maintains Essen/Mülheim Airport. It was heavily damaged during the war, yet partly reconstructed and used by the Allies as a repairing airport since the view is less often obscured there than at Düsseldorf Airport. Essen/Mülheim nowadays mainly serves occasional air traffic, the base of a fleet of airships and Germany's oldest public flight training company.
The city's fair grounds, Messe Essen, host some 50 trade fairs each year. With
around 530,000 visitors each year, Essen Motor Show, the top international car
tuning fair, is by far the largest event held there.
The former church of Essen Abbey and nowadays seat of the Bishop of Essen is a Gothic hall church made from light sandstone. The first church on the premises dates back to between 845 and 870; the current church was constructed after a former church had burnt down in 1275. However, the important westwork and crypt have survived from Ottonian times. The cathedral is located right in the centre of the city, which evolved around it. It is not spectacular in appearance and the adjacent church St. Johann Baptist, is often mistakenly referred to as the cathedral. The cathedral treasury, however, ranks amongst the most important in Germany since only few art works have been lost over the centuries.