Zwickau, Saxony, Germany

History | Economic history | Boundaries | Incorporations | Economy | Education | Transport | Culture : Museums

🇩🇪 Zwickau is the fourth-largest city of the Free State of Saxony and it is the seat of the Zwickau District. The West Saxon city is situated in the valley of the Zwickau Mulde, and lies in a string of cities sitting in the densely populated foreland of the Elster and Ore Mountains stretching from Plauen in the south-west via Zwickau, Chemnitz and Freiberg to Dresden in the northeast. From 1834 until 1952, Zwickau was the seat of the government of the south-western region of Saxony.

The name of the city is of Sorbian origin and may refer to Svarog, the Slavic god of fire and of the sun. Zwickau is the seat of the West Saxon University of Zwickau (Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau) with campuses in Zwickau, Markneukirchen, Reichenbach im Vogtland and Schneeberg (Erzgebirge). The city is the birthplace of composer Robert Schumann.

As cradle of Audi's forerunner Horch and as seat of the Sachsenring company which produced (then still as VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau) East Germany's most popular car, the Trabant, Zwickau has historically been one of the centres of the German automotive industry, with a tradition over one hundred years old, including other car makers like Auto Union and Volkswagen.

The valley of the 166-kilometre (103-mile) long Zwickau Mulde River stretches from the Vogtland to Colditz Castle at the other end. The Silver Road, Saxony's longest tourist route, connects Dresden with Zwickau.

Zwickau can be reached by car via the nearby Autobahns A4 and A72, the main railway station (Zwickau Hauptbahnhof), via a public airfield which takes light aircraft, and by bike along river the Zwickau Mulde River on the so-called Mulderadweg.


History The region around Zwickau was settled by Sorbs as early as the 7th century AD. The name Zwickau is probably a Germanization of the Sorbian toponym Šwikawa, which derives from Svarozič, the Slavic Sun and fire god. In the 10th century, German settlers began arriving and the native Slavs were Germanized. A trading place known as terretorio Zcwickaw (in Medieval Latin) was mentioned in 1118. The settlement received a town charter in 1212, and hosted Franciscans and Cistercians during the 13th century. Zwickau was a free imperial city from 1290 to 1323, but was subsequently granted to the Margraviate of Meissen. Although regional mining began in 1316, extensive mining increased with the discovery of silver in the Schneeberg in 1470. Because of the silver ore deposits in the Erzgebirge, Zwickau developed in the 15th and 16th centuries and grew to be an important economic and cultural centre of Saxony.

Its nine churches include the Gothic church of St. Mary (1451–1536), with a spire 285 ft (87 m) high and a bell weighing 51 tons. The church contains an altar with wood carvings, eight paintings by Michael Wohlgemuth and a pietà in carved and painted wood by Peter Breuer.

The late Gothic church of St. Catharine has an altar piece ascribed to Lucas Cranach the elder, and is remembered because Thomas Müntzer was once pastor there (1520–22). The city hall was begun in 1404 and rebuilt many times since. The municipal archives include documents dating back to the 13th century.

Early printed books from the Middle Ages, historical documents, letters and books are kept in the City Archives (e.g. Meister Singer volumes by Hans Sachs (1494–1576)), and in the School Library founded by scholars and by the city clerk Stephan Roth during the Reformation.

In 1520 Martin Luther dedicated his treatise "On the Freedom of the Christian Man" to his friend Hermann Muehlpfort, the Lord Mayor of Zwickau. The Anabaptist movement of 1525 began at Zwickau under the inspiration of the "Zwickau prophets". After Wittenberg, it became the first city in Europe to join the Lutheran Reformation. The late Gothic Gewandhaus (cloth merchants' hall), was built in 1522–24 and is now converted into a theatre. The city was seriously damaged during the Thirty Years' War.

The old city of Zwickau, perched on a hill, is surrounded by heights with extensive forests and a municipal park. Near the city are the Hartenstein area, for example, with Stein and Wolfsbrunn castles and the Prinzenhöhle cave, as well as the Auersberg peak (1019 meters) and the winter sports areas around Johanngeorgenstadt and the Vogtland.

In the Old Town the Cathedral and the Gewandhaus (cloth merchants' hall) originate in the 16th century and when Schneeberg silver was traded. In the 19th century the city's economy was driven by industrial coal mining and later by automobile manufacturing.

During World War II, in 1942, a Nazi show trial of the members of the Czarny Legion  Polish underground resistance organization from Gostyń was held in Zwickau, after which 12 members were executed in Dresden, and several dozen were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, where 37 of them died. In May 1942, five Polish students of the Salesian Oratory in Poznań, known as the Poznań Five  or five of the 108 Blessed Polish Martyrs of World War II, were imprisoned in Zwickau, before being executed in Dresden. A subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp was located in Zwickau, whose prisoners were mostly Poles and Russians, but also Italians, French, Hungarians, Jews, Czechs, Germans and others.

On 17 April 1945, US troops entered the city. They withdrew on 30 June 1945 and handed Zwickau to the Soviet Red Army. Between 1944 and 2003, the city had a population of over 100,000.

A major employer is Volkswagen which assembles its ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5 models, as well as Audi and Cupra EV's in the Zwickau-Mosel vehicle plant.


Economic history Coal mining Coal mining is mentioned as early as 1348. However, mining on an industrial scale first started in the early 19th century. The coal mines of Zwickau and the neighbouring Oelsnitz-Lugau coalfield contributed significantly to the industrialisation of the region and the city.

In 1885 Carl Wolf invented an improved gas-detecting safety mining-lamp. He held the first world patent for it. Together with his business partner Friemann he founded the "Friemann & Wolf" factory. Coal mining ceased in 1978. About 230 million tonnes had been mined to a depth of over 1,000 metres. In 1992 Zwickau's last coke oven plant was closed.

Many industrial branches developed in the city in the wake of the coal mining industry: mining equipment, iron and steel works, textile, machinery in addition to chemical, porcelain, paper, glass, dyestuffs, wire goods, tinware, stockings, and curtains. There were also steam saw-mills, diamond and glass polishing works, iron-foundries, and breweries.

Automotive industry In 1904 the Horch automobile plant was founded, followed by the Audi factory in 1909. In 1932 both brands were incorporated into Auto Union but retained their independent trademarks. The Auto Union racing cars, developed by Ferdinand Porsche and Robert Eberan von Eberhorst, driven by Bernd Rosemeyer, Hans Stuck, Tazio Nuvolari, Ernst von Delius, became well known all over the world.[example needed] During World War II, the Nazi government operated a satellite camp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp in Zwickau which was sited near the Horch Auto Union plant. The Nazi administration built a hard labour prison camp at Osterstein Castle. Both camps were liberated by the US Army in 1945. On 1 August 1945 military administration was handed over to the Soviet Army. The Auto Union factories of Horch and Audi were dismantled by the Soviets; Auto Union relocated to Ingolstadt, Bavaria, evolving into the present day Audi company. In 1948 all large companies were seized by the East German government.

With the founding of the German Democratic Republic in 1949 in East Germany, post-war reconstruction began. In 1958 the Horch and Audi factories were merged into the Sachsenring plant. At the Sachsenring automotive plant the compact Trabant cars were manufactured. These small cars had a two-cylinder, two-stroke engine. The car was the first vehicle in the world to be industrially manufactured with a plastic car body. The former VEB Sachsenring manufacturing site was acquired by Volkswagen in 1990 and has since been redeveloped as an engine and transmission manufacturing facility.

Audi-AG together with the city of Zwickau operates the August Horch Museum in the former Audi works.

Uranium mining Two major industrial facilities of the Soviet SDAG Wismut were situated in the city: the uranium mill in Zwickau-Crossen, producing uranium concentrate from ores mined in the Erzgebirge and Thuringia, and the machine building plant in Zwickau-Cainsdorf producing equipment for the uranium mines and mills of East Germany. Uranium milling ended in 1989, and after the unification the Wismut machine building plant was sold to a private investor.


Boundaries Zwickau is bounded by Mülsen, Reinsdorf, Wilkau-Hasslau, Hirschfeld (Verwaltungsgemeinschaft Kirchberg), Lichtentanne, Werdau, Neukirchen, Crimmitschau, Dennheritz (Verwaltungsgemeinschaft Crimmitschau), and the city of Glauchau.


Incorporations • 1895: Pölbitz • 1902: Marienthal • 1905: Eckersbach • 1922: Weissenborn • 1923: Schedewitz • 1939: Brand and Bockwa • 1944: Oberhohndorf and Planitz • 1953: Auerbach, Pöhlau, and Niederhohndorf • 1993: Hartmannsdorf • 1996: Rottmannsdorf • 1996: Crossen (with 4 municipalities on January 1, 1994, Schneppendorf) • 1999: Cainsdorf, Mosel, Oberrothenbach, and Schlunzig, along with Hüttelsgrün (Lichtentanne) and Freiheitssiedlung.


Economy The production of the Trabant was discontinued after German reunification, but Volkswagen built a new factory, and Sachsenring is now a supplier for the automobile industry. Nowadays the headquarters of the Volkswagen-Saxony Ltd. (a VW subsidiary) is in the northern part of Zwickau.


Education Zwickau is home to the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, with about 4,700 students and two campuses within the boundaries of Zwickau.

Dr. Martin Luther School (Dr. Martin Luther Schule) is a grade 1-4 school of the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church in Zwickau.


Transport The city is close to the A4 (Dresden-Erfurt) and A72 (Hof-Chemnitz) Autobahns.

Zwickau Hauptbahnhof is on the Dresden–Werdau line, part of the Saxon-Franconian trunk line, connecting Nuremberg and Dresden. There are further railway connections to Leipzig as well as Karlovy Vary and Cheb in the Czech Republic. The core element of Zwickau's urban public transport system is the Zwickau tramway network; the system is also the prototype of the so-called Zwickau Model for such systems.

The closest airport is Leipzig-Altenburg, which has no scheduled commercial flights. The nearest major airports are Leipzig/Halle Airport and Dresden Airport, both of which offer a large number of national and international flights.


Culture: Museums In the city centre there are three museums: an art museum from the 19th century and the houses of priests from 13th century, both located next to St. Mary's church. Just around the corner there is the Robert-Schumann museum. The museums offer different collections dedicated to the history of the city, as well as art and a mineralogical, palaeontological and geological collection with many specimens from the city and the nearby Ore Mountains.

Zwickau is the birthplace of the composer Robert Schumann. The house where he was born in 1810 still stands in the marketplace. This is now called Robert Schumann House and is a museum dedicated to him.

The histories of the Audi and Horch automobile factories are presented at the August Horch Museum Zwickau. The museum is an Anchor Point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (EIRH).

Image: Adobe Stock Sliver #284031920

Zwickau has a population of over 89,000 people. Zwickau also forms the centre of the wider Zwickau District which has a population of over 312,033 people. It is also a part of the larger Saxony State.

To set up a UBI Lab for Zwickau see: Twitter:

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Zwickau has links with:

🇩🇪 Dortmund, Germany 🇨🇿 Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic 🇺🇦 Volodymyr, Ukraine 🇨🇳 Yandu, China 🇳🇱 Zaanstad, Netherlands
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Zwickau is: -167.502,-50.715

Locations Near: Zwickau 12.4976,50.7147

🇩🇪 Altenburg 12.444,50.992 d: 31.1  

🇩🇪 Greiz 12.183,50.65 d: 23.3  

🇩🇪 Borna 12.5,51.127 d: 45.8  

🇩🇪 Gera 12.098,50.888 d: 34  

🇩🇪 Chemnitz 12.921,50.837 d: 32.7  

🇩🇪 Plauen 12.117,50.483 d: 37.2  

🇩🇪 Annaberg-Buchholz 13.002,50.58 d: 38.6  

🇩🇪 Leipzig 12.373,51.336 d: 69.6  

🇩🇪 Eisenberg 11.9,50.967 d: 50.5  

🇨🇿 Cheb 12.367,50.067 d: 72.6  

Antipodal to: Zwickau -167.502,-50.715

🇹🇴 Nuku'alofa -175.216,-21.136 d: 16657.8  

🇦🇸 Pago Pago -170.701,-14.279 d: 15953.4  

🇼🇸 Apia -171.76,-13.833 d: 15896  

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 15997.1  

🇺🇸 Hilo -155.089,19.725 d: 12088.5  

🇺🇸 Maui -156.446,20.72 d: 11998.2  

🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 11984.1  

🇺🇸 Wailuku -156.505,20.894 d: 11979.8  

🇺🇸 Kahului -156.466,20.891 d: 11979.5  

🇺🇸 Honolulu -157.85,21.3 d: 11951.6  

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