The Neanderthal is a small valley five kilometers to the east of Düsseldorf. The valley was named after Joachim Neander who lived nearby. It was here in 1856 that he discovered the fossils of Homo neanderthalensis, also known as Neanderthal Man.
The Neanderthal valley was originally a scenic paradise. A limestone canyon with waterfalls and caves. However, industrial mining during the 19th and 20th centuries removed almost all of the limestone and dramatically changed the shape of the valley. It was during such a mining operation that the bones of the original Neanderthal man were found in a cave. Neither the cave nor the cliff in which it was located exist anymore.
There is, however, a museum that you can visit. It is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 6pm and admission is €6.50 for adults. They have fossils on display as well as various multimedia exhibits that explain the evolution of man.
See: Neanderthal museum
Neanderthals lived between 230,000 and 28,000 years ago in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. They started to die out after modern humans appeared in Europe. By 20,000 years ago they were exitinct. It was not known whether modern humans destroyed them, or whether their distinctive characteristics disappeared through interbreeding. Contrary to popular belief, Neanderthals had larger brains than modern humans, and almost the same manual dexterity too. They never managed to develop sophisticated culture and technology though.