It’s Unna, not Una. Very different from the Italian and Spanish word but just as charming as these two languages. You wonder what I am rambling about? Unna, my hometown. A small-scale city right at the Eastern border of the Ruhr Area in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany.
I am a small town girl but I’ve always been able to enjoy the perks of living in the Ruhr Area. An area that’s so dense – we have the highest amounts of people and highways in one area in all of Germany. Jump into your car – 20 minutes later you’re in Dortmund, further 20 or 25 minutes lay Bochum and Essen. And just a bit further you have the famous cities Cologne and Dusseldorf.
I absolutely enjoyed growing up in a small town. Well, as a teenager you sometimes curse it. Not many cafes or bars to visit, public transport sucks and sometimes you fell claustrophobic. Looking back, now I can appreciate the tranquillity and small town feel of the place I call home.
Now the facts. Unna was first ever mentioned as a settlement area in 1032. So you can imagine what Unna’s old part of the city centre looks like. Crooked half-timbered houses everywhere. From those ancient times, Unna still also upholds parts its former town wall which used to wrap around the whole city.
The city’s landmark is a donkey fountain which is located on the central market square. It is not a traditional landmark with a historical meaning but it has asserted itself as a symbol for the city.
As someone who grew up in Unna, there are two main highlights throughout the year. The “Un(n)a Festa Italiana” (takes place every other year) is the biggest Italian festival north of the Alps and attracts around 250,000 visitors each year. The special highlight are the illuminated archways which are imported from Bari, Italy each time.
The city’s flagship the “Stadtfest”, is the city’s annual celebration which takes place in September. Each year it traditionally commences with the “Altbierabend” (an evening dedicated to a special German ale). Over the course of the weekend there are numerous shows, events and concerts taking place on up to seven stages. Having moved away from home over 5 years ago, the Stadtfest is the one event which reunites everyone. All of my friends and me mark this weekend in our calendars to make sure we can come home to Unna.
If you’re in the area – make sure to stop by. The next Stadtfest is coming up quickly! This year it’ll take place between 04 to 06 September 2015. You can access the event’s Facebook page here.
As far and wide as I might go with my travels, it is comforting to know that there’s always this one place you can go back to and recharge – home.