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Chemnitz

Chemnitz is a city in Saxony, Germany. It is located on the northern foothills of the Ore Mountains. Population: 259,246 (2001), Area 220.8 km².

The city is the third largest town of Saxony. It is named after the Chemnitz River, a small affluent of the Zwickauer Mulde River. The word "Chemnitz" is originally Sorbian and means "stony brook".

History

In 1143 there was a Benedictine monastery at the place, and the town grew around the monastery. In 1307 the town became subordinate to the margravate of Meissen (which was the predecessor of the later Saxon state). In medieval times Chemnitz became a centre of textile production and textile trade. More than one third of the population worked for the textile production. This did not change with the industrialisation: factories were established, and in the early 19th century Chemnitz had become an industrial centre ("Saxon Manchester"). In 1913 Chemnitz had a population of 320,000 and is one of very few cities, which were at that time larger than they are today.

In World War II the factories of Chemnitz produced mainly goods for the military. Therefore the city was heavily bombed and almost entirely destroyed.

The East German government decided to turn Chemnitz into a socialist model city. Boroughs full of concrete slab buildings were erected around the city centre, and most of the ancient buildings were not revived. In 1953 Chemnitz was renamed to Karl-Marx-Stadt ("Karl Marx City"). After the German Reunification in 1990 the population decided in a referendum to take the original name back.

Sights

Due to the Stalinist planning[?] of the 1950s there are few sights, although there was much restoration of old buildings after the German Reunification. There is still a giant bronze monument depicting the head of Karl Marx. Other sights include the Old Town Hall with its Renaissance portal (15th century), the Red Tower (12th century) and the castle on the territory of the former monastery.

External link

Official website (http://www.chemnitz.de) (German, English)



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