"Chemnitz - A City in Transition" Top 5 Page for this destination Chemnitz by King_Golo
Chemnitz Travel Guide: 137 reviews and 627 photos
Chemnitz is probably not on the must-visit list of the average tourist to Germany. Basically an industrial city, moulded by long times of machine and tool production and completely destroyed in the World War II, Chemnitz nowadays faces new tasks. It is trying to become a city worth living in despite the numerous empty buildings, the ugly remains of 40 years of socialist architecture, the relatively high unemployment rate and its rapidly ageing population. According to statistics, Chemnitz is the German city with the oldest average age. Naturally, all these factors do not attract young people to come to Chemnitz. Add to this the notorious Saxon dialect which even Germans often find hard to understand, and you can see why the city has long been avoided by travellers and potential newcomers alike. However...
However, Chemnitz is probably one of the fastest-changing cities in Germany. With most of the factories gone, the city is now focusing on different things There's a university of some 10,000 students, a lively city centre that has changed its looks completely several times over the course of the last two decades, a buzzing art scene with poetry slams in the Weltecho as well as Picasso exhibitions in the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz and lots of other things to discover. Come back a few years later, and you'll be marvelling at what Chemnitz has done to jazz up its looks again. One of the latest additions to the city panorama was the painting of the 301m high chimney of the Heizkraftwerk Nord. Saxony's highest building was transformed completely by the French artist Daniel Buren who changed the boring concrete grey to 7 colourful rings. Consequently, the chimney is now lovingly called "striped sock" by Chemnitzers!
Chemnitz may not be the most beautiful place in the world, but it's well worth a visit, particularly if you are interested in cities in transformation. Unfortunately, the official city marketing tries to reinvent Chemnitz every second year instead of focusing on its tried and tested qualities. It is no use trying to repudiate the city's past - its industrial roots and its long years as the socialist model city - and neither its present - the years of decline after the German Reunification and the slow steps towards a new self-confidence - if what many tourists are coming for are exactly these things. One example of the marketing bureau's stupidity: Chemnitz's best-known sight is the giant Karl Marx head in the city centre which was sculpted in 1973 by the Soviet artist Lew Kerbel. As Chemnitz was called Karl-Marx-Stadt for most of the GDR years, the monument does have its place in city history. However, the marketing brochures used to ignore both these facts and the existence of the Nischl, as Chemnitzers call the head. The city should instead be proud on what it has got!
Check out my many Chemnitz tips and have a look at Saxony's other big cities: Dresden, Leipzig and Zwickau. Or just continue your random virtual tour of my pages here!
- Pros:Lots of things to discover if you give the city a chance
- Cons:Not as many obvious sights as in Dresden or Leipzig
- In a nutshell:A City in Transition
Easily one of the most beautiful sights of Chemnitz: Wasserschloss Klaffenbach. The castle was built in Renaissance... more travel advice
Chemnitz is home to a very rare species: The city still has a watchman! Watchmen were common in the Middle Ages and... more travel advice
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Chemnitz Travel Guide
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