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Karl-Marx-Stadt

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Karl-Marx-Stadt

For other uses, see Chemnitz (disambiguation).

Chemnitz

View over Chemnitz

Coat of arms
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
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 government region Direktionsbezirk Chemnitz. 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

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

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.

During World War II, Chemnitz contained factories that produced military hardware and a Flossenbürg forced labour 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:





  • 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, 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 (English: Karl Marx City).

Sights

Tourist sights include the Kassberg neighbourhood 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 (Saxony).

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

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

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

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


Roads

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 Niederfrohna and Leipzig is still under construction. Within the administrative area of Chemnitz there are eight motorway exits (Ausfahrt).

Public transport

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 the weekend, and before bank holidays, the city is served at night 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

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

Famous residents

Honorary citizens

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Chemnitz is twinned with:

References

External links

Saxony portal

  • (German) Official site of Chemnitz

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