Chemnitz

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Chemnitz
Skyline of Chemnitz
Skyline of Chemnitz
Flag of Chemnitz
Flag
Coat of arms of Chemnitz
Coat of arms
Chemnitz  is located in Germany
Chemnitz
Chemnitz
Coordinates: 50°50′N 12°55′E / 50.833°N 12.917°E / 50.833; 12.917Coordinates: 50°50′N 12°55′E / 50.833°N 12.917°E / 50.833; 12.917
Country Germany
State Saxony
District Urban districts of Germany
Government
 • Mayor Barbara Ludwig (SPD)
Area
 • Total 220.85 km2 (85.27 sq mi)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 241,210
 • Density 1,100/km2 (2,800/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 09001–09247
Dialling codes

0371 037200 (Wittgensdorf) 037209 (Einsiedel) 03722 (Röhrsdorf)

03726 (Euba)
Vehicle registration C

Chemnitz (German pronunciation: [ˈkɛmnɪt͡s] ( ); Czech: Saská Kamenice; known from 1953 to 1990 as Karl-Marx-Stadt) is the third-largest city in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. Chemnitz is an independent city which is not part of any county and seat of the Landesdirektion Sachsen. Located in the northern foothills of the Ore Mountains, it is part of the Central German Metropolitan Region. The city's economy is based on the service sector and manufacturing industry. Chemnitz University of Technology has around 10,000 students.

Etymology[edit]

Chemnitz is named after the river Chemnitz, a small tributary of the Zwickauer Mulde. The word "Chemnitz" is from the Sorbian language (Upper Sorbian: Kamjenica), and means "stony [brook]". The word is composed of the Slavic word kamen meaning "stone" and the feminine suffix -ica. It is known in Czech as Saská Kamenice. There are many other towns named Kamenica or Kamenice in areas with past or present Slavic settlement.

History[edit]

An early Slavic tribe's settlement was located at Kamienica, and the first documented use of Chemnitz was the 1143 site of a Benedictine monastery around which a settlement grew. Circa 1170 Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor granted it the rights of an imperial city. In 1307, the town became subordinate to the margraviate of Meissen (the predecessor of the Saxon state). In Medieval Times Chemnitz became a centre of textile production and trade. More than one third of the population worked in textile production. By the early 19th century Chemnitz had become an industrial centre (sometimes called "the Saxon Manchester"). In 1913, Chemnitz had a population of 320,000 and, like Leipzig and Dresden, was larger at that time than today. After losing inhabitants due to the first World War Chemnitz grew rapidly again and reached its all-time peak of 360.250 inhabitants in 1930. Before the world economic crises, it was supposed that the city keeps on growing and would become a "Millionenstadt" (engl. Megacity, literally: city with at least one million inhabitants) by incorporating also fast growing smaller towns and municipals around it.

During World War II, Chemnitz contained factories that produced military hardware and a Flossenbürg forced labor subcamp (500 female inmates) for Astra-Werke AG.[2] The oil refinery was a target for bombers during the Oil Campaign of World War II, and Operation Thunderclap attacks included the following raids:

Old and new city hall
Chemnitz University of Technology
Chemnitz Opera
Former department store Schocken
The Mercure Hotel, Chemnitz
Bust of Karl Marx, the city's erstwhile namesake.
  • 14/15 February 1945: The first major raid on Chemnitz used 717 RAF bombers, but due to cloud cover most bombs fell over open countryside.
  • 2/3–5 March: USAAF bombers attacked the marshalling yards.[3]
  • 5 March: 760 RAF bombers attacked.

The headquarters of the auto manufacturer Auto Union were also based in Chemnitz since 1932 and its buildings were also badly damaged. At the end of the war, the company's executives fled and relocated the company in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, where it evolved into the modern day Audi company.

The World War II bombings left most of the city in ruins,[citation needed] and post-war, the East German reconstruction included large low rise (and later high-rise plattenbau) housing. Some tourist sites were reconstructed during the DDR era and after German reunification.

From 10 May 1953 to 21 June 1990, Chemnitz was named Karl-Marx-Stadt (Karl Marx City).

Sights[edit]

Tourist sights include the Kassberg neighborhood with 18th and 19th century buildings and the Karl Marx Monument by Lev Kerbel, nicknamed "Nischel" (a Saxon dialect word for head) by the locals. Landmarks include the Old Town Hall with its Renaissance portal (15th century), the castle on the site of the former monastery, and the area around the opera house and the old university. The most conspicuous landmark is the red tower built in the late 12th or early 13th century as part of the city wall.

The Chemnitz petrified forest is located in the courtyard of Kulturkaufhaus Tietz. It is one of the very few in existence, and dates back several million years. Also within the city limits, in the district of Rabenstein, is the smallest castle in Saxony, Rabenstein Castle.

The city has changed considerably since German reunification. Most of its industry is now gone and the core of the city has been rebuilt with many small shops as well as huge shopping centres. Many of these shops have well known names, including Zara, H & M, Esprit, Galeria Kaufhof, Leiser Shoes, and Peek & Cloppenburg. The large "Galerie Roter Turm" (Red Tower) shopping centre is very popular with young people.

The Chemnitz Industrial Museum is an Anchor Point of ERIH, the European Route of Industrial Heritage.

The Museum Gunzenhauser, formerly a bank, opened on 1 December 2007. Dr Alfred Gunzenhauser, who lived in Munich, had a collection of some 2,500 pieces of modern art, including many paintings and drawings by Otto Dix, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and others. The Botanischer Garten Chemnitz is a municipal botanical garden, and the Arktisch-Alpiner Garten der Walter-Meusel-Stiftung is a non-profit garden specializing in arctic and alpine plants.

Urban renewal[edit]

Heavy destruction in World War II as well as post-war demolition to erect a truly socialist city centre left the city with a vast open space around its town hall where once a vibrant city heart had been. Because of massive investment in out-of-town shopping right after reunification, it was not until 1999 that major building activity was started in the centre. Comparable to Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, a whole new quarter of the city was constructed in recent years. New buildings include the Kaufhof Department store by Helmut Jahn, Galerie Roter Turm with a façade by Hans Kollhoff and Peek & Cloppenburg clothing store by Ingenhofen and Partner.

Economy[edit]

Chemnitz is the largest city of the Chemnitz-Zwickau urban area and is one of the most important economic areas of Germany's new federal states. Chemnitz had a GDP of about €6.3 billion in 2004. Since about 2000, the city's economy has recorded high annual GDP growth rates; Chemnitz is among the top ten German cities in terms of growth rate. The local and regional economic structure is characterized by medium-sized companies, with the heavy industrial sectors of mechanical engineering, metal processing, and vehicle manufacturing as the most significant industries.

Over several years, the unemployment rate has steadily decreased to 13.9% (July 2007). About 100,000 people are employed, of whom about 46,000 commute from other municipalities.[4] 16.3% of employees in Chemnitz have a university or college degree, twice the average rate in Germany.

Demography[edit]

Chemnitz's population since 1790

After German reunification Saxony faced a significant population decrease. Since 1990 Chemnitz has lost more than 20 percent of its inhabitants. In 2006 the BBC reported the city of Chemnitz had the lowest birth rate in the world.[5]

Transport[edit]

Map of tram and Stadtbahn network

Roads[edit]

Chemnitz is crossed by the two motorways (Autobahn) A4 ErfurtDresden and A72 HofLeipzig. The motorway junction Kreuz Chemnitz is situated in the northwestern area of the city. The motorway A72 between Borna and Leipzig is still under construction. Within the administrative area of Chemnitz there are eight motorway exits (Ausfahrt).

Public transport[edit]

Public transport within Chemnitz is provided with tram and bus, as well as by the Stadtbahn. Nowadays, the city and its surroundings are served by one Stadtbahn line, five lines of the Chemnitz tramway network, 27 city bus lines, as well as several regional bus lines. At night, the city is served by two bus lines, two tram lines, and the Stadtbahn line.

The length of the tram, Stadtbahn and bus networks is 28.73 km (17.85 mi), 16.3 km (10.13 mi) and 326.08 km (202.62 mi) respectively. In August 2012, electro-diesel trams were ordered from Vossloh, to support an expansion of the light rail network to 226 km (140 mi), with new routes serving Burgstädt, Mittweida and Hainichen.[6]

Airports[edit]

Near Chemnitz there are three airports, including the two international airports of Saxony in Dresden and Leipzig. Both Leipzig/Halle Airport and Dresden Airport are situated about 70 km (43 mi) from Chemnitz and offer numerous continental as well as intercontinental flights.

Chemnitz also has a small commercial airport (Verkehrslandeplatz Chemnitz Jahnsdorf) about 13.5 km (8.4 mi) south of the city. When its current upgrade is completed it will have an asphalt runway 1,400 m (4,600 ft) long and 20 m (66 ft) wide.

Sports[edit]

Famous residents[edit]

Honorary citizens[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Chemnitz is twinned with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen – Bevölkerung des Freistaates Sachsen jeweils am Monatsende ausgewählter Berichtsmonate nach Gemeinden". Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen (in German). 17 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Victor, Edward. "Chemnitz, Germany". Retrieved 23 March 2009. 
  3. ^ COMBAT CHRONOLOGY OF THE US ARMY AIR FORCES http://paul.rutgers.edu
  4. ^ Internetseite des Bundestagsabgeordneten Detlef Müller (SPD) mit Kennzahlen zur Chemnitzer Wirtschaft
  5. ^ "German births decline to new low". BBC NEWS. 15 August 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Chemnitz orders electro-diesel tram-trains – Railway Gazette". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Medmestno in mednarodno sodelovanje". Mestna občina Ljubljana (Ljubljana City) (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  8. ^ "Miasta partnerskie – Urząd Miasta Łodzi [via WaybackMachine.com]". City of Łódź (in Polish). Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  9. ^ "Twin Towns". www.amazingdusseldorf.com. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 

External links[edit]