I do have a certain “test area” for all my new cameras, Phoenix West, which is a former steel factory. But there is far more to this area than the ruins, rust, and nostalgia. Dortmund is a worker city with quite some tradition. It has been the beer capital and has also been a big site for heavy industries. But time passed by, many breweries and steel works had to close down as parts of the companies got sold to the far east. At least you can still visit some places reflecting the city’s former glory.
One of these spots is Phoenix.
It had been a part of the Hoesch Company located in Dortmund Hörde. Phoenix consisted of two parts located across the Hörde subburb: Phoenix east and Phoenix west. As a child, I was fascinated by Phoenix east. I lived nearby, and every night I could see how they burnt the gas that was created as a side product of the steel cooking process. It looked like a giant torch burning every night and I actually thought that “Phoenix” was the perfect name for it. Of course, this was not healthy for the people situated near or for the environment – you can still see the marks the dust left on the walls of the houses nearby.
After Phoenix east closed down, a few years passed and the whole site got wrecked to build a small lake. This process is close to being finished right now, there is nothing left that reminds you of the factory except some old pipelines that lead to the other complex: Phoenix west.
Several parts of this factory were sold and shipped to China (and are still in use over there), but some of the significant buildings still exist. As a Dortmund child, I really like the old machinery and buildings, so after it closed down, I took the chance to climb up the stairs to the top of the tower. At that time I was not interested in photography, so there are no photos. Today it is already closed, but I guess it will be opened to the public in the future, as they are going to renew the stairs to make it a part of the “route of industry culture”. There are also many newly-built offices and companies around.
I really like this MadMax appeal. Especially all those structures and details, which are perfect to check if your gear is working or how crisp your pictures are. I hope it will not take too long to open up the tower again.
But this is not all. There are also some parks around like the Romberg Park or the Westfalenpark. There is a historical bridge nearby and also nature is trying to reclaim parts of the area.
So, if you have had enough of the ruins from the past, you can also go for a walk in Romberg Park, which is quite nice:
Romberg Park is a place you can just go to hang around and enjoy its “near to natural” feeling.
If you prefer completely styled parks with playgrounds for your little ones and all that, you can visit the Westfalenpark. It was created for a “garden fair” in 1959 around the “Florian”, Dortmund’s broadcasting tower. I really enjoyed the Westfalenpark, especially it’s “Chinese Corner”, with wide areas to play frisbee and hang around with friends. In the late summer there is also a big music festival being held at the park, the “Juicy Beats Festival”, but I guess this would make for a location on its own.