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The city of Chemnitz is located in the west of the Free State of Saxony. It is located at the foot of the Ore Mountains in the Kesseltal of the Chemnitz river of the same name, which forms from the Zwönitz and Würschnitz near Altchemnitz and flows into the Zwickau Mulde after 82 km between Wechselburg and Lunzenau. Chemnitz describes itself as the city of modernity.

Emerging from a Benedictine monastery, the imperial city of Chemnitz was founded in the 12th century. After the city had repeatedly been pledged to the Meissen margraves in the 13th century, it elected Margrave Friedrich the Freidigen as its patron bailiff in 1308 and was given to Meissen as a pledge by Johann von Böhmen as imperial vicar in 1311 and by Emperor Ludwig in 1329. Although badly affected by the Hussite Wars, Chemnitz soon rose again, and also as Wilhelm III. had burned down the city in the civil war (1449), it quickly rose again. When Saxony was divided (August 26, 1485), Chemnitz fell to the Ernestine Line and in 1539 accepted the Reformation. During the Schmalkaldic War it fell to Duke Moritz, but was soon snatched away from him by Elector Johann Friedrich. The Thirty Years War completely destroyed the city's prosperity. After it burned down in 1617 and in 1632 the Swedes put it in ashes, it lay desolate and deserted. Here Banér defeated the Saxon army on April 14, 1639. The rise as an important trading center in the Vorerzgebirge followed in the course of the emerging mining in the Erzgebirge in the 16th century, the establishment of the city as a trading and later as an industrial location.

The linen weaving mill had been at home in Chemnitz since ancient times, which was later joined by the bleaching, dyeing and cloth manufacturing. Supported primarily by coal mining in West Saxony, Chemnitz developed into one of the most important centers of German mechanical engineering and the textile industry in the 19th century. Chemnitz was also called Little Manchester or Russchemnitz at this time. During this time, among other things, the large working-class neighborhoods built in the Art Nouveau style (Kaßberg, Sonnenberg) were created.

The economic importance ensured that Chemnitz was a primary target for the Allied air forces in World War II, so that the city was almost completely destroyed in 1945.

From 1953 to 1990 Chemnitz was called Karl-Marx-Stadt - although Karl Marx never visited the city - and was the capital of the district of the same name. Many buildings still bear witness to its industrial and, above all, socialist past, more than in other cities in the new federal states.