Cities & Culture

Chemnitz: the discovery of the modern

Chemnitz: Neumarkt square in the evening ©CWE - Chemnitzer Wirtschaftsförderungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (CWE) (Dirk Hanus)

Where else in Germany is the term 'city of the modern' as fitting as it is in Chemnitz? While it flourished during the Industrial Revolution, the city's architecture and culture show strong modernist influences.

The best way for visitors to start their tour of Chemnitz is to climb the High Tower of the Old Town Hall, where they can enjoy idyllic views of the market square and overlooking the city's rooftops. Did you know that Chemnitz city centre was never fully reconstructed after it was destroyed in 1945? After Germany reunified, architects including Helmut Jahn, Christoph Ingenhoven and Hans Kollhoff ended up designing totally new structures. A modernist approach and a process of motion and innovation have given the new centre its distinctive look. The main shopping street has a particular urban charm and blends the historical and the modern to great effect. Chemnitz's Kassberg district, for example, is one of the largest and most beautiful 19th-century districts in Europe.

Alongside the remarkable city centre, visitors also appreciate the wide array of culture, with theatres, museums, galleries and the Stadthalle civic centre, which regularly hosts festivals and other events. The outstanding Gunzenhauser Museum with its fabulous collection of classical modern works is also worth a visit. The DAStietz cultural centre, home of the Museum of Natural History, the City Library and the New Saxony Gallery, is another attraction in itself. Just around the corner are numerous restaurants, cafés and clubs with plenty to offer early birds and night owls.

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