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Sometimes, it’s fun to be surprised. Not only does Recklinghausen have a great walking tour, but the tourist circuit is well marked and enticing. The walk around the town center with labelled attractions can be downloaded in English (or one of several other languages) from the town website.

Icon Museum
The Icon Museum is a must must. Yes, I said that twice. These intricate golden masterpieces are painted on wood and are both visually stunning and humorous. Humorous? Yes. While the main themes include the Madonna and child and other recognizable Christian favorites, there are a whole variety of obscure saints whose lives and deaths are tragically and fantastically depicted in icon form. A few of the icons are fabulously bejewelled. Please see the museum website, but be aware that the pictures don’t do the real deals justice. The stories printed next to the icons were often as good as the icons themselves, but they are only printed in German. Icon Museum

St. Peter’s Provost Church
Directly across the square from the Icon Museum is St. Peter’s Provost Church (Petruskirche). Built in the 13th century, this church has clearly suffered some lost windows, but they have been more than suitably replaced with elaborate and undulating black and white glass. The altar is seemingly baroque, with its golden adornments. The Stations of the Cross are the most darkly beautiful that I have ever seen. They are actual paintings, clearly mimicking the grandiose icons across the way, with intensely golden painted skies.

Nooks and Crannies
There are plenty of nooks and crannies in Recklinghausen, so be sure to get off the walking tour track from time to time to check out the little alleyways, called Gasse, for “alley” or “lane”. The mix of very old and modern architecture fits well together here.

Old Wall & Tower
On the Herzogwall is the last piece of the old town wall. The tower is quite tall and well maintained. Right around the corner is the Engelsburg, which according to the website, is the most beautiful building in Recklinghausen. I beg to differ, but the building does have a Best Western hotel and a nice looking restaurant within. There is something to be said for modern convenience, and hopefully this enables the building to remain standing.

City Hall
The town hall is on the Kasierwall to the southeast of the city center. The building is big and impressive and sports a golden rendition of the town seal as well as a “Ratskeller” restaurant in the basement. The hall has a large open space before it, with a wonderful statue of people lifting a replica of the city. The metaphor is not lost here, and I find the sentiment genuine.

How to get there: Many regional trains from the Ruhr area go through Recklinghausen. A number of InterCity (IC) trains also pass through from Düsseldorf, Münster and Duisburg. There were also a number of bus connections to the surrounding cities.

Great things: The city did an impressive job of collecting and presenting tourist information, which makes this a great daytrip from the Dortmund area.

Date of visit: October 5, 2006

Recklinghausen website: