Esch (am Alzette)
The skyline of Esch-sur-Alzette|
The skyline of Esch-sur-Alzette
|Motto: 'Ago ergo sum'|
|First Settled||980 BC|
|• Mayor||Erna Schoepges|
|• Estimate (2009)||5,981,300|
|Time zone||Marmorian Standard Time (UTC+4)|
|• Summer (DST)||Van Luxemburger DST (UTC+5) (UTC)|
|Postal Code||11000 (AA-ZZ)|
|License plate code||EA|
Historical evidence proves that the first settlement within what is now the city of Esch was probably created around 980 BC, even though permanent settlements in the area are known to have been established well before this date.
Since the city council introduced the controversional 'City of the Future' in 1923, Esch has been the scene of large-scale demolitions of historical buildings in the 1920s till 1940s. Almost the entire historical city centre has been demolished over the course of those 20 years, allowing the construction of skyscrapers and wide boulevards. Consequently, Esch is the only city in Van Luxemburg which allows the construction of buildings over 150 metres in height within the city centre. Nevertheless, the controversial decision to demolish the historical buildings in the city centre was largely reverted after the 1950s, with the few remaining buildings being carefully protected and restored. This has resulted in the curious appearance of Esch's city center, where the 5-star Transmaredoratica Hotel (a building dating back to 1811) is located close to the Firema Tower, constructed in 2008, standing at a height of 248 metres.
The city is also the largest and most important in the nation in economic terms: It houses the headquarters of VLT Automotive, as well as several factories of the same manufacturer. The port of ‘Esch’ serves thousands of ships every year, being one of the main shipping ports for exporting VLT products. Furthermore, it also serves as the main shipping port for most of Van Luxemburg's other products, including foodstuffs, electronics and other major exports. Due to the city's economic importance, it has also grown to be the largest city in the Grand Duchy, numbering nearly 6 million inhabitants. Furthermore, it accommodates one of the best known Van Luxemburger universities, the University of Esch-sur-Alzette.
Esch-sur-Alzette may serve as one of the most important railway hubs, together with Luxembourg, which is only 100 kilometres away. Between the two cities, a HST travels every 30 minutes, with sprinter and intercity trains leaving every 5 to 10 minutes, respectively. Therefore, a rail line no less than 8 tracks wide has been constructed between the two cities. Esch-sur-Alzette central station is a location which is perhaps the most important hub of the national HST network, and is either the start or end point for most national high-speed services. No less than twelve other stations have an Intercity classification, meaning the more important trains stop at these stations. A suburban rail system, as well as a metro network, make sure travellers can get to the main stations in the agglomeration. The metro system is, unlike any other rail system in Esch-sur-Alzette, provided by the Gemengliche Transport Gesellschaft (GTG), which is operated by the city council of Esch-sur-Alzette.
Furthermore, the A1 Autobahn to Luxembourg is also no less than 4 lanes wide in every direction, with the ring road around Esch-sur-Alzette being 8 lanes wide in every direction. A complete system of local B-class motorways and expressways further completes the accessibility by road. The Rue Grand-Ducale, a boulevard along the waterfront is perhaps the most well-known street in the Grand Duchy, together with the Boulevard Senneville in Luxembourg. The road stretches from one end of the city to the other, and leads along the headquarters of the most important companies in the nation, as well as several of the more expensive shops in the city.
Unlike most large cities, Esch does not have an international airport of its own. Instead, the majority of the flights to Esch-sur-Alzette in fact have the destination Luxembourg-Courtemanche or Luxembourg-Findel International Airport. This is no problem whatsoever, as both airports are less than an hour away from the city centre, both by train and by car. All trains stop on both airports, and they are located just a few km off the motorway, making airport transfer easy. For domestic flights, however, the city has the Flughafen Dreyer located within the city, suitable for smaller jets. JetVL maintains a bi-hourly service with this airport from Luxembourg-Courtemanche, making it possibly one of the shortest flight times possible, at a distance of just over 50 km.
Esch is by far the largest port in the Grand Duchy. The main product being shipped from the seaport is cars, coming from all automobile plants in the region. Containers full of consumer electronics, spare parts and food also leave this port to be delivered to the world. This makes the port of Esch one of the biggest in Maredoratica.