Chemnitz has been named European Capital of Culture 2025 and – not just because of that – is definitely worth a visit. The award-winning city centre is perfect for wandering around and there are some remarkable museums for top-notch art. Chemnitz was a driving force behind the Industrial Revolution in Germany and visitors can explore the city’s fascinating industrial heritage. Last but not least, Saxony’s beautiful Ore Mountains are just outside town and provide great options for combining city and nature explorations.
European Capital of Culture 2025
„I am delighted for this wonderful city and the people who live here. I am sure that the can-do spirit of the people of Chemnitz was one of the reasons why it worked out in the end. ”
The first documented mention of Chemnitz dates back to 1143
Number of districts in Chemnitz
Height of the Karl Marx Monument including its pedestal in metres
From 1953 to 1990 – for 37 years – Chemnitz was called Karl Marx Stadt
Bright colours decorate the chimney – known as Lulatsch – of the co-generation power station in Chemnitz
Industrial heritage in “Saxony’s Manchester”
Chemnitz is one of the most important centres of German industrial culture as the country’s first factories were built in the "Saxon Manchester". The construction of the first cotton mills from 1798 onwards marked the starting point for a rapid industrialisation. By the beginning of the 20th century, Chemnitz had become one of the richest cities in Germany. Numerous impressive buildings, some of them monumental factories, were built – cathedrals of industry that still characterise the look of Chemnitz today.
Tip: Many of the buildings and monuments that remind of the city’s industrial past are located in or near the city centre. Perfect for a walking tour!
Tips from Chemnitz insiders
In summer, the city’s Stadthallenpark turns into the venue for a huge cultural festival with a varied programme and fun atmosphere, including concerts, poetry slams, yoga lessons and children’s entertainment. Best: it’s all for free.
Explore the Kaßberg neighbourhood with is beautiful German Gründerzeit architecture from the turn of the 20th century. Going underground, you’ll find an extensive network of vaulted cellars, and many cosy pubs and restaurants are waiting to be discovered in this part of town.
DAStietz, a former department store, now houses the impressive Museum of Natural History, featuring a 290-million-year-old petrified forest in its covered atrium.
Try smac, a museum for archeology, for great exhibitions (ideal for families!) and don’t miss one of the best panoramic views of the city in the bay window area of the exhibition space.
Must-see museums in Chemnitz
Saxon Museum of Industry
Imposing machines, historic cars and insights into everyday culture from the times of industrialisation to the present day.
Villa Esche is a true architectural gem and internationally acclaimed major work of early Modernism. Built in 1903 according to plans by Belgian artist Henry van de Felde, it has been restored and is open to visitors.
More than 2,400 works of German art from the turn of the century, Expressionism and post-war Modernism, presented in a former bank building built in the New Objectivity style.
Chemnitz city centre
Chemnitz is a veritable mecca for architecture fans. Since 1990, the city centre has undergone unprecedented development: Where once grey concrete dominated the scene, renowned architects have created a new quarter worth seeing and living in.
Different styles meet in concentrated form and illustrate the city's eventful history: Growth and prosperity during the Gründerzeit era at the turn of the 20th century, the move towards modernity, destruction during the Second World War, the GDR era and the new self-confidence the city found after the reunification. And of course, there is no shortage of shopping and restaurant options!