Essen (2008 pop. 579,000) is a medium-sized German city located on the Ruhr River in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and is the focal point of the Ruhr industrial region. Once one of Germany's most important centers of coal and steel production, Essen was famous in the early 20th century as the home of the Krupp family ironworks. In recent years, however, Essen has diversified into service and high-tech industries. The last coal mine in the region closed down in 1986.

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