Altenburg, Thuringia, Germany

Agriculture, industry and services | Transport

🇩🇪 Altenburg is a city in Thuringia, Germany, located 40 km south of Leipzig, 90 km west of Dresden and 100 km east of Erfurt. It is the capital of the Altenburger Land district and part of a polycentric old-industrial textile and metal production region between Gera, Zwickau and Chemnitz. Today, the city and its rural county is part of the Central German Metropolitan Region.

Altenburg was first mentioned in 976 and later became one of the first German cities within former Slavic area, east of the Saale river (as part of the medieval Ostsiedlung movement). The emperor Frederick Barbarossa visited Altenburg several times between 1165 and 1188, hence the town is named a Barbarossa town today. Since the 17th century, Altenburg was the residence of different Ernestine duchies, of whom the Saxe-Altenburg persisted until the end of monarchy in Germany in 1918. Industrialization reached Altenburg and the region quite early in the first half of the 19th century and flourished until the Great Depression around 1930. Economic malaise set in while Altenburg was in East Germany and continued after German reunification in 1990, evidenced by a decline in population, high unemployment and house vacancy rates.

The main sights of Altenburg are the castle, the Lindenau-Museum, the historic city centre (most buildings are from early-modern origin) and the Gründerzeit architecture around the center. The popular German card game Skat was developed in Altenburg during the 1810s and the founder of the famous Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus, lived and worked in Altenburg between 1810 and 1817.

Altenburg lies in the flat and fertile landscape of Osterland on the Pleiße river in the very east of Thuringia, next to the neighbouring federal state of Saxony.


Agriculture, industry and services Agriculture plays an important role in the region, because the Loess soil around the city is very fertile. 69% of the municipal territory is in agricultural use, both for cultivation and cattle farming. A famous product of the region is Altenburger Ziegenkäse, a soft cheese of goat milk with some caraway seed inside with protected Geographical indication. Another typical dish of Altenburg is Mutzbraten, a flame-grilled pork speciality. Altenburg is also known for its mustard, which is produced by Altenburger Senf und Feinkost. Altenburger beer also enjoys some popularity.

The industry of Altenburg was based on the production of textiles and hardware during the 19th and 20th century, but most of the companies did not survive the transition to capitalism after German reunification. Altenburg was especially known for its sewing machine production from companies like Vesta. Today, the main branches are food industries (with a factory of Vion NV amongst others) and engineering with car component production in focus. The Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur produced the Gumpert Apollo super-car between 2005 and its bankruptcy in 2013. Altenburg is also noted for produced playing cards. The Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik (playing card factory) was founded in 1831; today it is a subsidiary company of Cartamundi and market leader in Germany. In 2012, there were 19 companies with more than 20 workers in industrial sector, employing 1,400 people and generating an overall turnover of €451 million.

Altenburg is a regional service hub for retail, hospitals, government, culture etc. Tourism doesn't play a big role, although the city hosts many historic sights and is a local centre of culture with theater and museums. In 2012, 37,000 hotel guests had 87,000 overnight stays in Altenburg.


Transport Altenburg was the first city in Thuringia with connection to the railway, established in 1842 with the Leipzig–Hof line. Initially, Altenburg station was a terminus station, which became impractical as traffic grew, so a new through station was built in 1878 in the north-east of the city. In addition to the connections to Leipzig (1842) and Hof/Zwickau (1844), some more lines were established to Glauchau (1858, via Gößnitz), to Gera (1865, via Gößnitz), to Zeitz (1872, abandoned in 2002) and to Narsdorf (1901, abandoned in 1998). Today, the Altenburg station is the only station within the municipality, after the Paditz station (on the Hof line) and the North Altenburg station (on the Zeitz line) were closed. There are some regional trains to Leipzig, Zwickau and Erfurt (via Gera and Jena) today. Glauchau can be reached by changing trains in the near Gößnitz station. With the rollout of the Leipzig City Tunnel in December 2013, the services on the Leipzig–Hof/Zwickau line were reorganized and integrated in the S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland with connections to Leipzig twice an hour. The connection to long-distance trains is carried out via Leipzig (north and east), Jena (south) and Erfurt (west), since the last long-distance trains on the Leipzig–Hof line ceased operating in 2006.

Altenburg is situated between two Autobahns: the A4 (Erfurt–Dresden) passes approximately 20 km (12 mi) south and the A72 (Leipzig–Chemnitz) passes approximately 20 km (12 mi) east of the city. Regional traffic is carried by the three national roads in Altenburg. The B7 is the connection to Gera (and A4 in Erfurt direction) in the south-west and to Rochlitz in the north-east, the B93 runs to Borna (and A72 in Leipzig direction) in the north and to Zwickau in the south and the B180 links Altenburg with Zeitz in the west and Hohenstein-Ernstthal (and A72/A4 in Chemnitz and Dresden direction via secondary road 1357) in the south-east. An important secondary road connects Altenburg with Gera north to the B7 via Lumpzig. The B7 and B93 bypass the town centre on a ring road to absorb the transit traffic between Leipzig and Zwickau.

The Leipzig-Altenburg Airport, a former Soviet military airport, is situated 5 km (3 mi) east of the city and was used by Ryanair for flights to London Stansted, Barcelona-Girona and Edinburgh until 2011. Currently, there are no public flights at this airport. The next regional airport is located in Leipzig/Halle (60 km (37 mi) to the north).

Biking is becoming more popular since the construction of long-distance cycle tracks began in the 1990s. Both the Pleiße track, along the Pleiße valley from Werdau near Zwickau to Leipzig, and the Thuringian city track (Radweg Thüringer Städtekette) from Eisenach via Erfurt, Weimar, Jena and Gera to Altenburg, connect points of tourist interest.

Local public transport within Altenburg is based exclusively on buses. Six lines connect the outlying quarters to the inner city. Furthermore, there are some regional bus services to the villages in the district. The Altenburg Tramway was in operation from 1895 until 1920.

Image: Adobe Stock Edler von Rabenstein #233720128

Altenburg has a population of over 35,970 people. Altenburg also forms one of the centres of the wider Central German metropolitan area which has a population of over 4,360,000 people.

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Twin Towns, Sister Cities Altenburg has links with:

🇺🇸 Hickory, USA 🇩🇪 Offenburg, Germany 🇨🇭 Olten, Switzerland 🇨🇿 Zlín, Czech Republic
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Altenburg is: -167.556,-50.992

Locations Near: Altenburg 12.4443,50.9922

🇩🇪 Borna 12.5,51.127 d: 15.5  

🇩🇪 Zwickau 12.498,50.715 d: 31.1  

🇩🇪 Leipzig 12.373,51.336 d: 38.5  

🇩🇪 Gera 12.098,50.888 d: 26.9  

🇩🇪 Greiz 12.183,50.65 d: 42.2  

🇩🇪 Chemnitz 12.921,50.837 d: 37.6  

🇩🇪 Weißenfels 11.967,51.2 d: 40.6  

🇩🇪 Delitzsch 12.333,51.517 d: 58.8  

🇩🇪 Eisenberg 11.9,50.967 d: 38.2  

🇩🇪 Merseburg 11.983,51.35 d: 51.1  

Antipodal to: Altenburg -167.556,-50.992

🇹🇴 Nuku'alofa -175.216,-21.136 d: 16628.8  

🇦🇸 Pago Pago -170.701,-14.279 d: 15923  

🇼🇸 Apia -171.76,-13.833 d: 15865.8  

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 15968.5  

🇺🇸 Hilo -155.089,19.725 d: 12057.6  

🇺🇸 Maui -156.446,20.72 d: 11967.2  

🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 11953.1  

🇺🇸 Wailuku -156.505,20.894 d: 11948.8  

🇺🇸 Kahului -156.466,20.891 d: 11948.5  

🇺🇸 Honolulu -157.85,21.3 d: 11920.5  

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