Unna is just a hop, skip and a jump from Dortmund. Come and enjoy the jewel box houses, the windy streets and the cool and industrial modern Center for International Light Art.
From the train station, you are right on the edge of the city. Walk up the stairs and you are in the Rathausplatz, complete with the new and modern city hall and St. Katarina’s church. The information points with sightseeing information are scattered fairly regularly around the city, but since the streets are rather windy and not super well marked, a map from the tourist information office is recommended.
To get to the office, walk down Bahnhofstraße to the market place and take a right on Massener Straße to Lindenplatz. The tourist information office is located in the zib building, which is also home to the center for adult education and the Center for International Light Art.
Fachwerkhäuser - Meisterhaus
The timber framed houses are what make many of the little German cities so exciting and unique, and Unna is no exception. The houses hear had more color than usual and it is worthwhile to spend some time examining some of the details on the houses in the marketplace.
The “Altdeutsche Bierstuben”, or old German bier parlor, is another great example of the timber framed houses in Unna. Walk down Hertingerstraße from the marketplace and you will see other examples of this typical architecture. Today, the Bierstuben is called the Meisterhaus, and is a working restaurant.
Center for International Light Art – Zentrum für Internationale Lichtkunst
This funky museum is without a doubt the coolest thing in town. Admission is only with a guided tour, which lasts one hour. The center uses the old brewery building to showcase its art. Each room contains a piece from a different international artist, and all pieces involve intense lighting, which often tricks the eye and tickles the other senses. Be prepared to take off your shoes, be spooked, hear voices, see some strobe lighting and see things that aren’t there at all.
English tours are available for a group of 10 or more.
Next to the big church in the Kirchplatz, the Nicolaiviertel was named after D. Phillipp Nicolai, who was the town priest, founder of the choral and hymn writer. The houses on the small alleyway to the north of the church, signed as the “Nicolai4tel” have a unique structure, but are also timber framed. Check out the Hellweg Museum for more information on Mr. Nicolai.
The Hellweg Museum was undergoing some construction while I visited, but the workers assured me that all would be finished around November 2007. The museum is a little history museum, with a few different floors with a little bit of this and that. There is information on the ground floor about the town during medieval times and the Hellweg, which was a trading route between Duisburg and Paderborn.
The museum is listed as Burg on the sight seeing list and is located next to the town wall and the gardens on the Ostring.
The church is modern, having been built in the 1930’s. What is most impressive inside is the glass artwork. The construction behind the huge crucifix at the altar is of glass sheets, with black and grey painted patterns. Similar glass design can be seen on the left hand side of the church around the statue of St. Katarina, above the tiny sarcophagus. This church has some nice little modern treasures and is worth the visit.
How to get there: Easy. From the Dortmund main train station, take one of the regional trains (direction:Soest) to Unna. The trip is 25 minutes and trains leave twice an hour, every hour.
Great things:The old colourful timber framed houses and the Center for International Light Art are definitely the highlights of Unna.
Date of visit: August 30, 2007