City Tour of Chemnitz: On the Way to the European Capital of Culture 2025

Chemnitz is a city of doers. With our unconventional doer mentality, we skilfully combine the aspects of an innovation and science location with a lively arts and culture scene. This also convinced the international jury to choose Chemnitz as the European Capital of Culture 2025. Chemnitz presented a convincing concept under the motto "C the Unseen". And under the motto "See the C" we invite our conference and congress guests to a special guided tour of the city. Join us on a foray through the city centre and be impressed by all that Chemnitz already has to offer now and in 2025.

Sustainability is a Chemnitz invention!

Our tour starts at the new Carlowitz Congress Center Chemnitz - the Centre for Knowledge and Conscience. It opened its doors at the end of 2020. Located directly at the Stadthalle Chemnitz in the heart of the city centre, it offers an innovative ambience for creative exchange and sustainable encounters. Did you know that sustainability is a Chemnitz invention? Hans Carl von Carlowitz, born in Chemnitz-Rabenstein, first used this term in 1713. This fact inspired and was instrumental in the naming of the new congress centre. The guiding principle of sustainable events is lived out in as many facets as possible in the Carlowitz Congress Centre. If you look through the large window panes at the entrance, your gaze will inevitably linger on the mossy and illuminated glass floor at the foot of the stairs. And there are other green oases hidden in the building complex, which not only likes to let its guests float over moss, but also provides emotional experiences through numerous events, concerts and cabaret performances. The typical characteristics of the Stadthalle/Hotelhochhaus building complex - and now also the integrated Congress Centre - have dominated the Chemnitz cityscape since 1974. The striking façade of exposed concrete, Rochlitz porphyry and glass never fails to fascinate on a tour of Chemnitz.

Carlowitz Congress Centre (c) Steffen-Spitzner
Carlowitz Congress Centre (c) Steffen-Spitzner

Pulsating life in the pub mile

From the Carlowitz Congress Centre we walk a few steps into the shopping and promenade streets of Chemnitz city centre. There we are greeted by 14 bronze emperor penguins on the Inner Klosterstraße. The artwork by Peter Kallfels points the way south and is named after the longitude that connects the Innere Klosterstraße with Antarctica: "12 degrees 55 minutes 11 seconds longitude east". The ground at their feet is painted with the outline of the city of Chemnitz, which strongly resembles that of Antarctica. The penguin group has become a popular photo motif.

Chemnitz's pub mile begins directly behind the penguins. Restaurants, bars and cafés invite you to linger. Especially on warm days, this little alley is very popular with tourists and locals.

Penguins in Chemnitz city centre (c) Ulf-Dahl
The Penguin Group in front of the entrance to the Chemnitz Pub Mile (c) Ulf-Dahl

New Chemnitz city centre: historic town hall and award-winning modern glass facades

We continue our walk through the pub mile directly to the market square. Chemnitz city centre - or rather the city centre of "Karl-Marx-Stadt", as the city was called between 1953 and 1990 - was almost completely destroyed during World War 2 and thus completely rebuilt after 1989. Renowned architects created a new and modern structure for the city centre. At the same time, the few historic buildings still characterise the city centre of Chemnitz today. Among them is the Siegertsche Haus am Markt with a magnificent baroque façade

The fate of Chemnitz is controlled at the place where the city's history originated: in the Old and New Town Halls on the Markt. Due to the enormous growth of the city as an industrial location and commercial metropolis, the new town hall has supplemented the old offices since 1911. Particularly worth experiencing on a trip to Chemnitz are the Green Salon and the 48-bell carillon. Modern department stores, residential and shopping quarters, restaurants and rows of shops with a mixture of large chain shops and individual, regional shops line up around the market square. Chemnitz's city centre continues to develop architecturally. On the market square, construction of a market fountain began in spring 2021. The work of the German artist Daniel Widrig, who lives in London, consists of sculptures up to 2.80 metres tall made of shiny bright stainless steel. In interaction with the water, they provide an interesting eye-catcher on the market. 

The oldest building in the city of Chemnitz gave the "fit" bottle its appearance

Our walk takes us further through the city centre to the next sights, the Stadthallenpark and the Red Tower - the oldest structure in the city of Chemnitz. It was built as a first fortification in the 12th century and fended off enemies a little later as part of the city wall. A few centuries later, its shape was the inspiration for the packaging of the well-known washing-up liquid "fit". Today, the striking structure functions as a popular tourist attraction.

In 1974, Karl Wienke designed the Park am Roten Turm, also known as Stadthallenpark, directly in front of the Chemnitz Stadthalle. He furnished the grounds with works of art and multi-layered plantings. The Stadthallenpark is the green lung of Chemnitz city centre and provides a wonderful backdrop for open-air events. For example, the "Fête de la Musique" and the "Parksommer" cultural festival have established themselves here and created a favourite cultural place. The audience at the "Parksommer" appreciates the special, relaxed atmosphere on picnic blankets and deckchairs around the Caucasian wingnut - a beautiful tree with a sprawling, shady crown of leaves.

Emergence of a cultural quarter

From Stadthallenpark we continue towards Theaterplatz. We walk along the Street of Nations, which is lined with buildings of countless architectural styles. Among others, with outstanding buildings of Eastern Modernism with corners, edges and art on the building.

With the famous Chemnitz Opera House, the King Albert Museum and St. Peter's Church , the Theatre Square is one of the most beautiful architectural ensembles in the city. The König-Albert-Museum is part of the Chemnitz Art Collections, which enjoy a high regional, national and international reputation due to its lively and highly regarded exhibition activities. (The Chemnitz Art Collections comprise a complex of various museums and institutions: In addition to the art collections on Theaterplatz, lovers of the fine arts should also pay a visit to the Gunzenhauser Museum, the Schloßberg Museum with Rabenstein Castle or the Henry van de Velde Museum in Villa Esche. The exhibitions focus on international modernism as well as important thematic and individual presentations).

Further plans for the construction of a new cultural quarter at the opera house are already on the drawing board. The project would create an urban connection between the centre and the Brühl quarter. And that is exactly where we are going now. Our path leads us past Schillerpark, where an unusual art object from the "Gegenwarten" exhibition can currently be admired. Karl Marx's intestine winds its way through the park, in fitting proportions to the impassable Karl Marx head in Brückenstraße. The project of the Chemnitz Art Collections was created as part of the Capital of Culture application and presents a total of 20 sensational works of art in public space.

Art object: Karl Marx's intestine (c) City of Chemnitz
Art object: Karl Marx's intestine (c) City of Chemnitz

Arriving at Brühl, the nostalgic lettering "Brühl Boulevard" at the entrance immediately catches our eye. Forgotten for a few years, the people who made it happen in the neighbourhood have now achieved a great deal. Brühl has developed into a vibrant residential and business district. Today, you can enjoy delicacies from small manufacturers and producers, such as meat specialities from Fleischladen Feinkost & Restaurant or "Eierlikörz" from the Eierlikörmanufaktur. Young entrepreneurs and creative people are passionate about their craft and their ideas. The Brühl as the lively centre of a future university quarter around the central library in the Alte Aktienspinnerei and other facilities of the TU Chemnitz. These are the visions for this district on its way to becoming the European Capital of Culture.

The "Nischl": The most famous landmark of the city of Chemnitz

Our tour of the sights takes us further north-east of the city centre to the Stadtbad Chemnitz. Opened in 1935 as one of the most modern swimming pools in Europe, it is considered an important monument of architectural modernism. Even today, the grandiose and nobly restored Bauhaus architecture is fascinating. Probably the most famous Chemnitz sight is only a few steps away from the Stadtbad. We stroll back towards the city centre to the Karl Marx Monument. The philosopher Karl Marx was the patron saint of the city of Chemnitz between 1953 and 1990. His bronze bust, which is 2 x 13 metres high and weighs 40 tonnes, has been a prominent feature of the cityscape ever since. The second largest portrait bust in the world is called "Nischl" by the inhabitants with a wink.

The last stop on our Chemnitz city tour is the State Museum of Archaeology Chemnitz, or smac for short. In 2014 the new museum moved into the listed building, which was built according to plans by the famous architect Erich Mendelsohn and opened and became famous in 1930 as the Schocken department stores'. The smac is Saxony's only museum where 300,000 years of human history can be experienced.

After about 120 minutes, our tour of Chemnitz comes to an end, but hopefully not their enthusiasm for our city. A city that holds so many unseen treasures and looks forward to showing them to tourists from all over Europe.

Conclusion: See the C - Chemnitz is a multifaceted city with a maker's spirit and exciting architecture from many eras.

There is much to discover in Chemnitz: architecturally fascinating buildings from the Wilhelminian period, industrial monuments and futuristic buildings from the modern era. They all shape today's cityscape and thus bridge the gap between yesterday and today and tomorrow. Anyone who takes a stroll through Chemnitz will discover a city that stands for the idea of modernity in its liveliness and constant change and has not forgotten its roots.

Have we aroused your curiosity about the European Capital of Culture 2025?

Who better to introduce you to our city than the residents themselves? Chemnitz has many faces and beautiful places to discover and visit. We present our employees' favourite places in the city on our website, which you can reach on foot or by bike from the city centre.

You can read even more tips here:

Visit Chemnitz magazine as PDF/e-paper

From |2022-01-10T11:31:27+01:0016April 2021|General, Locations|0 comments

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Yvonne is responsible for Marketing & PR at C³ Chemnitzer Veranstaltungszentren GmbH.
E-mail: | Phone: +49 (0)371 4508-648

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