Recreation and an idyllic rural environment can be found within and right on the doorstep of the Ruhr Metropolis. Some are great villages that are historically highly valuable and can be a pleasure to visit with the whole family. The first is in the Ruhr region.
Xanten is the only town in Germany that starts with the letter X. The 800 year-old town is known as a place of pilgrimage. According to legend, a boy was cured when he found the statue of Maria, which he had seen in his dreams in the little village Marienbaum, a small place nearby. Also very considerable is the so-called Klever Tor, a city gate from the 14th century, which today accommodates flats. But the most important figure of the village is the patron saint of the cathedral, Saint Victor, who was executed by Roman legionaries because of his Christian faith. Believers have made pilgrimages to his grave since the early Middle Ages. The village thereby got his name “ad Sanctus” and was formerly known as Santen.
An absolute historical sensation is Mettmann, only a short distance south of mülheim an der Ruhr. This snug little town with the epithet Neanderthalstadt owes its name to two grand personalities. On the one hand Joachim Neander, a poet of very famous anthems. On the other, the sensational finding of a prehistoric human in 1856 who bears even today the symbolic name Neanderthaler. Those wishing to learn more about the prehistoric remains of our forefathers should visit the Evolution path, the Neanderthal museum and also the glacial animal park.
Dormagen is known as a substantial economic location in the triangle of Cologne, Mönchengladbach and Düsseldorf. It lures investors from trade and industry with its very good traffic connection. It has much to offer for leisure, education and shopping for its inhabitants so the small municipality is unequivocal also for families. An attractive sight is the district named Zons, which is proof of the early beginnings of the settlement with its many medieval walls and towers. Also the construction of the Romanesque basilica of the cloister of Knechtsteden is worth a visit.
Discover a stone’s throw south-east from Mettmann a gem of a small, historical village named Gruiten, which possibly originates from the year 1,000 AD. In 1975 it was combined with Haan so that the number of inhabitants grew to approximately 7,500 people. The tradition-conscious inhabitants cherish the many wonderful and well-preserved half-timbered houses in the original village. The arrangement of old churches and dwellings reveals the structure of typical villages of the Bergisches Land in former times. A pure Western German landscape.