© Holger Stein Fotografie

Industrial heritage

Explore Saxony’s fascinating industrial heritage

From the late18th century to World War II, Saxony was Germany's leading industrial region.The affinity of the Saxons for technology goes back to mining, which started as early as in the 12th century. From Chemnitz, the „cradle of German engineering“, the process spread throughout the whole region and led to a very diverse industry with many world market leaders. Access to the markets was very easy since Leipzig was the leading trade fair location in the world. This golden age ended abruptly after World War II when Saxony had the misfortune of falling behind the Iron Curtain. However, Saxony remained the centre of industrial production in the GDR and one of the key industrial regions in the entire Eastern Bloc.

The German Reunification marked a completely new beginning, which brought an end to many things, but also opened up new opportunities. Important former industrial sites were preserved as museums where historic technology can often still be demonstrated. Other technical monuments, like some of the narrow-gauge steam train lines, the steamboats on the Elbe River or the aerial tram in Dresden, are still in daily operation. But the industrial age produced also other kinds of architecture like the villas of the rich industrialists or Germany’s first city, Hellerau, today part of Dresden. Explore Saxony's industrial history to learn all about traditional industries like mining, car construction, textile manufacturing and many others that are part of this region’s rich industrial history. Here’s just a selection of highly-recommended attractions:

Highlights

Knappenrode Energy Factory

© Holger Stein Fotografie

Chemnitz Industrial Museum

© Wolfgang Gärtner / TMGS

Saxon Steam Railway Route

© Christian Sacher

Saxon Steamboat Company

© S. Rose Fotografie

Villa Esche in Chemnitz

© Wolfgang Thieme, CWE

Saxon Silver Route

© Szymon_Nitka

Don't miss: August Horch Museum in Zwickau

In Zwickau, one August Horch kicked off the history of automotive engineering in Saxony in 1904. Car buffs will find a lot to love in the local August Horch Museum, including luxurious Horch, Audi, Wanderer, DKW or VW models of times gone by, but also the iconic small cars, known as Trabant, which were produced by the former East German car manufacturer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau until 1991.

The August Horch Museum is one of only two museums in Germany located at an original production site, in this case of Audi and Trabant, so expect lots of authentic spirit. Visitors can experience a unique journey through 117 years of car manufacturing in western Saxony with around 150 exhibits on display. The Museum is also one of only three anchor points in Saxony that are part of the European Route of Industrial Culture.

Industrial heritage sites in Saxony

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