"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 and Cons
  • 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
  • Last visit to Chemnitz: Apr 2015
  • Intro Updated Jun 6, 2015
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Reviews (44)

Comments (25)

  • Anjuschka's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Wonderful page about Chemnitz... I still have to read most of your tips and hope I will be able to write more about Chemnitz myself soon...
    I took lots of pictures and just have to put some useful tips together... ;)

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo
    Oct 21, 2011 at 5:29 AM

    Hi Golo, "Konkurrenz" will ich selbstverständlich nicht machen;-) Ich war gerade mal zwei Tage in Chemnitz - hätte aber ohne Weiteres die doppelte Zeit gebrauchen können. Du siehst ja mit kundigem Blick, was auf meiner Seite alles fehlt, z.B. die Museen, das Innere von Rathaus und Kirchen. Next time! Ich finde solche Städte, nach deren Schätzen man ein bisschen suchen muss und in denen man Entwicklungen sieht, viel interessanter als hochglanzpolierte Touristenzentren. Übrigens war mir Deine Seite bei der Vorbereitung sehr hilfreich! Grüße, Kathrin

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jul 26, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    I am planning a trip to Dresden and areas around there. If time permits, we may get to Chemnitz, however, also want to see all those castles in the valley nearby. You did a great job of describing this city and the the pictures wonderful

  • MikeBird's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    Did the Jesus statue ever return? I have really enjoyed reading about Chemnitz - you've made it sound erally appealing. I wonder if you could do the same for Milton Keynes in the UK? Mike

  • alancollins's Profile Photo
    Oct 2, 2008 at 2:00 AM

    Nice tips and photos. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to visit Chemnitz when I was in the area last year.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2008 at 6:44 AM

    This is a wonderful presentation for your adopted city. Love the pics of the swan and the castle reflected in the lake. Good descriptions of bike and hiking trails ... art tours. Good job all the way around.

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2007 at 12:27 PM

    Nice useful tips, thanks for sharing.

  • budapest8's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2007 at 4:21 AM

    Nice new pictures. Not the sort of place I would travel to as a destination, but definite one I would spend time in if passing through.Greetings from Hungary. Tim

  • Jefie's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2007 at 8:01 AM

    I just had to see a bit of Chemnitz after having talked about it so much over the weekend. I want my chocolate Karl Marx head!! :oD

  • IMthat1girl000's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2007 at 7:19 PM

    Very beautiful home, good tips. I would love to go there.......sigh......so many places to go so little time! Best wishes to you!

King_Golo Used To Live Here!


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