The former East Germany city of Chemnitz is one of the most underrated places in Germany. It was known as Karl-Marx-Stadt in honor of the famous Prussian public figure, Karl Marx. After the German reunification, the government held a referendum for a new name for the city and 76 percent of the population voted to have the original name instead, Chemnitz.
During World War II, the city was heavily bombarded and destroyed and has since been rebuilt to become what it is today. Like many other East German cities, Chemnitz has evolved tremendously to catch up with its counterparts in the west. There are loads to do and explore in and around this heavily revamped city. To avoid walking around aimlessly, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best places to visit here in Chemnitz.
1. State Museum of Archaeology
Ever thought of what the state of Saxony looked liked thousands of years ago? Here, you can have a feel of what it was like to be one of the very first humans to step into this territory. The State Museum of Archaeology houses a plethora of interesting artifacts which were retrieved during the excavations conducted by the Archaeological Heritage Office of Saxony.
There are over 6,200 items on display, some dating back over 300,000 years ago. Stretched over three floors, you’ll have plenty of things to discover and learn as you move through the different time periods in each floor. There’s also an English audio guide available for you if you’d like to have an additional aural experience during your time here.
State Museum of Archaeology
Address: stefan-heym-pl. 1, 09111 Chemnitz, Germany
Website: State Museum of Archaeology
2. Wasserschloss Klaffenbach
The beautiful Wasserschloss Klaffenbach sits just south in the outskirts of Chemnitz. Built in the 16th century, it once belonged to the famous German Mintmaster, Wolf Hünerkopf. Nowadays, the place hosts a variety of cultural events relating to arts and crafts, often housing exhibitions there.
You can walk about the compound of this castle and soak in the calm atmosphere. There’s also a cafe and restaurant inside where you can indulge in good food while chilling at the place. Due to its picturesque location by the river, you might be lucky enough to witness a wedding procession going on here.
Address: Wasserschloßweg 6, 09123 Chemnitz, Germany
Website: Wasserschloss Klaffenbach
3. Rabenstein Castle Chemnitz
Known locally as Burg Rabenstein, this castle is one of the smallest Medieval castles in Saxony. It was first mentioned in the 14th century by the Holy Roman Emperor, Louis IV and was made as a fief for Frederick II in the event that he dies without any male heirs. Currently, the castle belongs to the Chemnitz Castle Hill Museum.
The castle walls are only 180 meters (591 feet) long and the area inside is only as big as 2 hectares (5 acres). As part of the Castle Hill Museum, you can also learn about how life was like in the Middle Ages and how the castles were built. If you’re a castle enthusiast, here’s another place for you.
Rabenstein Castle Chemnitz
Address: Oberfrohnaer Str. 149, 09117 Chemnitz, Germany
4. Botanischer Garten
Now if you’d like to catch a piece of greenery in the concrete jungle, drop by the Botanischer Garten (Botanical Garden) and soak in the lush greenery of the area. You can visit the greenhouse and discover the plants within or simply hang out with the cute animals at the animal walk. The animal walk is one of a kind in Germany as you get to interact with cute little animals such as ponies, pigs, and sheep. If you’re an avid walker, you can simply stroll along the huge 12-hectare (30-acre) compound and breathe in the fresh air.
Address: Leipziger Str. 147, 09114 Chemnitz, Germany
Website: Botanischer Garten (In German)
The Schlosskirche in Chemnitz is one of the two churches dedicated to Saint Petrin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony. The first church in the location was built in the 12th century with a Benedictine monastery attached to it. In the 14th century, the church was reconstructed and was rebuilt in a late Gothic style. It also suffered bombings during World War II but has since been restored to its former state. Considered as a jewel of the city, the Schlosskirche is a place not to be missed.
Address: 09113 Chemnitz, Germany
Website: Schlosskirche (In German)
6. Schlossberg Museum
Located in the same compound as the Schlosskirche is the Schlossberg Museum. The place that houses the museum was once a Benedictine monastery in the 12th century. It was further renovated and new parts were added during its 400 years as a monastery.
Nowadays though, the place houses important artifacts which show cases Chemnitz’s long history. Perhaps the coolest of all are the reconstructed rooms, which date back from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance periods. These “exhibits” are also used for functions and events within the museum.
Address: Schloßberg 12, 09113 Chemnitz, Germany
Website: Schlossberg Museum
7. Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz
Now, if you’re into art and paintings, a visit to Kunstsammlungen is a must. Situated in the König Albert Museum, the Kunstsammlungen has a whopping diversity of impressive works by painters of the Dresden Romantic period such as Clausen-Dahl and Kersting. A wide selection of Impressionist artwork is also on display as well as art from West Germany since 1945. To round it off, they’ve got over 1,500 paintings and 200 sculptures from sculptors around the region. In 2010, the Kunstammlungen was awarded the “Museum of the Year” by the International Art Criticism Associaton (AICA).
Address: Theaterpl. 1, 09111 Chemnitz, Germany
Website: Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz (In German)
8. Karl Marx Monument
This is perhaps the most notable landmark in Chemnitz. The bust sculpture of Karl Marx is one of the largest in the world which is only second to a statue of Lenin’s head in Russia. After Chemnitz was renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt, the eastern German government decided to build a statue honoring the namesake of the city. After the reunification of Germany, there have been heated debates about demolishing the monument but it still stands tall today.
Karl Marx Monument
Address: Brückenstraße 10, 09111 Chemnitz, Germany
9. Villa Esche
Villa Esche is a perfect example of a modern early 20th-century building. It was designed by Henry Van de Velde and was constructed in 1903. Many different parties have occupied the place as their bases such as the Soviet military command and the German Ministry for State and Security. Today though, the place is an amazing cultural venue which hosts performances of various different art forms. The villa also houses the first Henry Van de Velde museum in Germany.
Address: Parkstraße 58, 09120 Chemnitz, Germany
Website: Villa Esche
10. Parkeisenbahn Chemnitz
Unleash your inner child and go on a joyride on the trains in the Parkeisenbahn. This family-friendly attraction will bring you around a forest as you sit inside a cute little train which meanders around it. It’s especially great if you’re into trains and cute little cabins. The locomotive trains are a surefire way to evoke some kind of nostalgia in you. There are also loads of activities to do there for kids and if you’re holidaying with your family and children, the Parkeisenbahn is the place to be.
Address: Küchwaldring 24, 09113 Chemnitz, Germany
Website: Parkeisenbahn Chemnitz (In German)
Drop by Chemnitz
With our list of things to do here in Chemnitz, rest assured that you’ll have a crazy fun time there. There’s loads to see and do and you’ll be busy hopping around everywhere. Now it’s up to you to start up the fun. Simply pack your bags, grab your tickets and fly away on a new adventure to Chemnitz.
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