Chemnitz  is situated in southwest Saxony, Germany. Originally based around a monastry, the setlement was granted city status in 1170. Due to its location at the foot of the Erzgebirge (literally ore mountains) in the sixteenth century Chemnitz began to grow in size an importance. Initially as a place of trade and later as the base of industrial production.
The increase in Sachsen coal mining during the 18th century allowed Chemnitz to develop into one of the most important centres of the German machine and textile industries - factors which gave it the nickname of "little Manchester". Several large areas of the city were built during this period including Kaßberg and Sonnenberg. Due to the economic importance of Chemnitz it was a prime target for the Allied air force during World War II. By 1945 the city had undergone near to total destruction. Between 1953 and 1990 Chemnitz was renamed as Karl-Marx-Stadt (even though Marx himself had never visited nor had anything to do with the city's contemporary history). A great deal of new building occurred during this period, much of which remains today. The large bronze head was presented to the town's people in 1971.
Today the city has a population of around 250,000, making it the fourth largest city in East Germany.
Unlike Berlin and Leipzig, Chemnitz has experienced much less of demolition and rebuilding since the reunification. Modern buildings like the new department store, communist era flats and more historic buildings are within walking distance of each other. Parts of Chemnitz allow a glimpse into how a city of the DDR felt and looked, something that is increasingly hard to find in the neuen Bundesländer.
Even with this the centre of Chemnitz has been described as "Germany's most recent city centre". The initial commercial investment after reunification focussed on large out-of-town shopping centres and it wasn't until 1999 that major building activity started in the city centre. Comparable only to Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, a whole new quarter of the city has been reconstructed in recent years. New buildings include the Kaufhof Department Store by Helmut Jahn, Galerie Roter Turm (facade by Hans Kollhoff) and Peek&Cloppenburg Clothing Store by Ingenhofen and Partner.
Chemnitz, as part of the Sachsen-Franken-Magistrale (train route connecting Saxony and Franconia), can be easily accessed by train from several of the other cities in Saxony but also from Bavaria and Thuringia.
Although there is only one direct train from and to Berlin each day (with the so-called "Vogtlandbahn"), Chemnitz is well linked within the German railway system which is widely regarded as the most developed rail network in the world.
Unfortunately Chemnitz doesn't have its own airport anymore. The nearest airports are:
The airports in Dresden and Leipzig both have their own train stations and can comfortably be reached with one stop over in either Dresden Main Station (Hbf) or Leipzig Main Station (Hbf).
Chemnitz is situated at the junction of the motorways A4 and A72.
Like many East German cities, Chemnitz has an expansive network of public transport comprising mainly of buses and trams.
A map of the tram/bus network can be obtained from the tourist information office, found near to the main square in the city centre.
Chemnitz has several cinemas dotted around the city. The majority of films will be in German (it is Germany!). These cinemas include:
The city centre has several larger chain stores, as well as many smaller independent stores.
Chemnitz comprises a large number of shopping malls, both located in the city centre and in the suburbs (e.g. Sachsenallee, Chemnitz/Centre, Vita-Centre, Neefepark, Galerie Roter Turm, etc.
There are several good, reasonably priced restaurants dotted around the main square (in front of the town hall). Several have tables and chairs extending out into the square, something worth doing if the weather good.
Again situated around the main square, bakeries/butchers can be found. If the market is on, there are also several Imbiss stalls selling freshly cooked sausages and other snacks.
Chemnitz has a wide range of bars and pubs. Some of these, especially those in the city centre, offer both outdoor and indoor seating areas.
Alex, Neumarkt 2, . M-Th 9AM-1PM, F,Sa 9AM-3PM, Sun & Bank Holidays 9AM-2:30PM. Alex bar's and restaurants are found in many German towns and cities. The bar-restaurant-cafe is found on the main square in the city centre and has a large summer terrace.
There are about 20 hotels and a large number of guest houses ("Pensionen" or "Fremdenzimmer") in Chemnitz and its nearest suburbs.
There is a youth hostel, found within the eastern suburbs.
Chemnitz is undoubtably THE place to stay if you would like to discover Saxony, Thuringia, Franconia and Bohemia with all of their amazing cultural and archeological highlights as well as the stunning and scenic landscape of Saxony and the Ore Mountains!