Located about 12 mi/19 km southwest of Luxembourg City, Esch sur Alzette, Luxembourg's second-largest city, was originally the center of Luxembourg's iron and steel industry. Now all that remains are two blast furnace monuments. The large, steel-beam street lights in the pedestrian shopping area leave no doubts about the area's history.
Several art-deco buildings, built after a mining boom in the late 1800s, have been preserved. Esch's reputation as a business services and manufacturing center is balanced by a lively cultural life: It has an excellent musical conservatory and theater.
In the nearby town of Rumelange is the National Museum of Mines, housed, appropriately enough, in an old mine. Also close by is Gaigenberg, a large hilltop park with an animal park and recreation center.
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