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The Ruhr region in North Rhine-Westphalia, is naturally flat but dotted with hundreds of small man-made hills. These impressive elevations are called ‘halde’ in German, or pit heaps — the byproducts of nearly 170 years of coal mining in the region.

The Ruhr region is a heavily industrialized area of western Germany that was formed during the 19th and 20th century by the coal and steel industries. Ruhr’s coal mines were in great demand during the industrial age and it enabled the region to grow exponentially. At one time there were almost 300 coal mines in operation in the Ruhr area which employed thousands of workers who worked deep underground, extracting black coal from narrow seams to fuel the industries above.

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The amphitheater of Halde Haniel in Bottrop is built on top of a pit heap. Photo credit

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© Amusing Planet, 2015.


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