A trip on the suspension railway, a visit to the German Tool Museum and time to relax in Müngsten Viaduct Park – just some of the attractions in the triangle of cities known as the Bergisch Three. These three neighbouring cities in the north of Bergisches Land are collectively known as the “Bergisch three”. They each have their own special attractions, however, making a visit well worthwhile. What all three cities have in common is their picturesque hilly location and their industrial heritage, the traces of which still shape the region today.
Suspension railway and dance theatre
Wuppertal’s main attraction for tourists is undoubtedly its suspension railway, a world-famous landmark which has enjoyed protected status since 1997. Built in 1901 as “a suspended monorail”, today it is both a tourist attraction and an important means of public transport. Suspended eight to twelve metres above the ground, passengers are conveyed from station to station, over river and land, in a comfortable ride from the northeast to the southwest of the city.
The largest city in the Bergisch Three triangle is also famous for its variety of museums. The Von der Heydt Museum is home to a world-class art collection with works spanning the 16th century to the present day. Meanwhile, the “Historisches Zentrum” museum is dedicated to the region’s early industrial heritage. Another part of this museum complex is the Engelshaus, which was once home to businessman, philosopher and historian Friedrich Engels.
Wuppertal is also well known in the dance scene as the location of the internationally renowned Tanztheater Pina Bausch. The dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, who died in 2009, is remembered as one of the key figures in the performing arts, having revolutionised the world of dance and created the genre of dance theatre.
Nature lovers will also feel right at home in Wuppertal, which could justifiably call itself Germany’s greenest city on account of the green spaces that make up over a third of its total area. An extensive parkland with a fine mature tree population is also home to Wuppertal Zoo. Here, visitors can admire around 5,000 animals with just short of 500 different species represented. Another park with plenty to see is Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden, where walkers will come across modern sculptures from contemporary artists amid the greenery.
The “Maritime City on the Mountain”
Smaller than Wuppertal is Remscheid, the third biggest city in the Bergisch triangle. Its nickname of “Maritime City on the Mountain” may sound odd at first. But there is a simple explanation: Remscheid is the highest of the Bergisch Three cities and formerly enjoyed busy trade with overseas countries. In times past, the city had an excellent reputation as a centre for tool design and manufacture, mechanical engineering and steel forming. The Bergisch natural resources of wood, iron ore and water power formed the basis for exemplary industrial development as early as the Middle Ages. This made Remscheid was a very suitable choice as home for the German Tool Museum.
In addition to its industrial heritage, Remscheid also has an important place in medical history. The birthplace of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, the discoverer of X-rays, is located in the Lennep district close to the German Röntgen Museum. Here, visitors can learn all about the history of this important medical discovery.
The “City of Blades”
The final city of the Bergisch Three to introduce is Solingen, and we can say that this city really cuts a fine profile. That is because Solingen has made a name for itself internationally as the “City of Blades”. It is still the centre of the German cutlery and flatware industry, and the “Solingen” indication of origin is known around the world as a mark of quality for knives of all kinds. So it is only logical that the city is also home to the Deutsches Klingenmuseum (German Blade Museum). This substantial collection displays cutlery, bladed weapons and cutting implements from every era and culture.
Schloss Burg offers visitors another opportunity to explore the past. The largest reconstructed castle complex in North Rhine-Westphalia dates from the 12th century and was once the seat of power of the Counts of Berg, from whom the “Bergisches Land” region gets its name. A more recent Solingen attraction that nevertheless also has plenty of history to tell is the Müngsten Viaduct, linking the cities of Solingen and Remscheid. It still holds the title of Germany’s highest railway viaduct and is regarded as one of the most beautiful of its kind. At its feet lies Müngsten Viaduct Park, an amenity for games, picnics and walks.
When it’s time for a break, visitors should not miss the Bergisch Kaffeetafel, a type of spread offered by many cafés and restaurants in the region. But be sure to arrive on an empty stomach: this Bergisch speciality is far more filling than a normal coffee break.