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Located in the Ruhr in west central Germany and connected by four autobahn highways, this city is only 40 km (25 miles) from Düsseldorf International Airport. Gelsenkirchen dates back to the twelfth century but rapidly industrialized in the nineteenth century with the discovery of coal, becoming an important European center of iron and steel production, earning itself the name of the "city of a thousand fires" and drawing the attention of Allied bombers during World War II. The city has a population of 285,000 including 10,000 people of Turkish descent. It is the centre for Coal mining and heavy industry and there is also a port on the Rhine-Herne Canal. Now with the closure of the last coal mine in the area in the late 1990s, the city is striving to reinvent itself with new technologies such as solar energy and high-tech industry.

The main attraction is a castle, the Gelsenkirchen Castle built from 16th - 18th century. Other romantic buildings include the Palace Horst, Palace Berge as well as the Haus Lüttinghof.

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