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Chemnitz

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Germany : Eastern Germany : Saxony : Chemnitz
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Chemnitz [1] is situated in south east 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 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 airfore during the second world war. By 1945 the city had undergne near to total destruction. Between 1953 and 1990 Chemnitz was renamed as Karl-Marx-Stadt (even though Marx had never visited). A great deal of new building occured 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.

Understand

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.

Get in

Train

Chemnitz can be accessed by train from several of the other cities in Saxony including Leipzig, from which it is about an hours journey. A state rail ticket can be purchased allowing for this.

Plane Unfortunately Chemnitz doesnt have its own airport anymore. The nearest airports are:

  • Altenburg-Nobitz (50km) Ryanair flies to here daily from London (Stansted) and twice weekly from Barcelona (Girona).
  • Dresden (81km)
  • Leipzig-Halle (125km) Wide range of operators including Air Berlin
  • A private airfield can be found in Jahnsdorf 16km away.

A bus service coordinated to flight times operates between Altenburg-Nobitz and Leipzig (12 Euro).

Get around

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.

The bronze statue of Karl Marx, Chemnitz

See

Charlie The city was called Karl-Marx-Stadt during the DDR period, and on Brückenstraße may be found a seven-meter-tall bronze head of Karl Marx - known as "Charlie" to the locals. Various souvenirs along with a selection of sweet shops selling Karl-heads made of marzipan or chocolate can be bought.

Küchwald The major green areas of central Chemnitz are the Schloßpark and the Küchwald, to the north-west and west of the city centre. The miniature railway and Kosmonautzentrum found in the Küchwald are worth a visit, especially if you're visiting the city with children.

Do

Chemnitzer FC is a soccer club in the highest amateur league in Germany (3rd Division).

Industriemuseum The museum of industry can be found a little way out from the city centre (Maps of the city centre can be got from the tourist information shop, in the front of the town hall). Much of Chemnitz's industrial heritage is detailed here with several working peices of machinery and an old fireless steam engine. There is also a souvenir shop and restaurant.

The Kosmonautzentrum "Sigmund Jähn" within the Küchwald

Buy

Shopping The city centre has several larger chain stores, as well as many smaller iindependent stores.

GDR Souvenirs The usual ostalgie souvenirs can be bought from various stores e.g. model Trabis and Ampelmänner postcards. There are also several second-hand stalls (especially in the train station) selling items from the former GDR.

Eat

Restaurants 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.

Snacks 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.

Drink

The main square has several nice bars often also serving food. As in many german cities a wide range of beers are available.

Sleep

Youth Hostel [2] There is a youth hostel, found within the eastern suburbs.

Get out

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