Monuments in Zwickau
Favorite thing: There are quite a number of monuments in Zwickau, some just sculptures with not so much deeper meaning behind, but others that remind of important persons or events. As there are so many I didn't want to write single tips about each of them - didn't want y'all to fall asleep :-) Instead an overview of those I thought are worth to mention:
Pic 1 - Robert Schumann, the composer. Well, I guess almost everyone has heard of him, better yet, has listened to works of him. I am a big fan of music of the Romantic era and Robert Schumann is one of my favourite composers. He is one of the famous sons of the city and there is also a wonderful museum in the house where he was born - see separate tip. This monument is a work of Johannes Hartmann from Leipzig (1901). It is vis-a-vis the theatre on Hauptmarkt square.
Pic 2 - a work of the local sculptor Berthold Dietz, to find in Schwanenteich park.
Pic 3 - this monument is also located right next to the theatre (Gewandhaus), a bit remote on the eastern side (Neuberinplatz). Friederike Caroline Neuber ("die Neuberin") was born 8 March 1697 in nearby Reichenbach/Vogtland and died 29 Nov 1760 in Dresden-Laubegast (monument there, too). They moved to Zwickau where she grew up until she ran away with her lover from her despotic father in 1716. They joined roaming theatre groups until she founded the Neuber'sche comedy company in Leipzig in 1727. She got a ducal privilege for establishing a permanent theatre in Leipzig at the Brühl, right in the centre. Together with Leipzig's Johann Gottfried Gottsched she was the big reformer of theatre play in Germany: She took care of discipline, education, steady pay for the actors etc. From 1734 on she went on tour with her company again. The monument is a work of Wolfgang Jacob from Gundelfingen (2005). The inscription reads: "I want them all in the theatre also those who you condemn."
Pic 4 - Reformer Thomas Müntzer had his first job as preacher in Zwickau at St. Katharinen church from Oct 1520 to April 1521. The monument commemorating him and his work was created 1989 on occasion of his 500th birthday and put up right in front of St. Katharinen church.
Pic 5 - This monument commemorates the victims of WWII. Nothing wrong with that, but it is quite an ugly ensemble with a few flower beds but mostly concrete/stone created in the communist era. Yuck. It is on the northern end of Schwanenteich lake in the park of the same name - the view of the lake is the best here.
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- Arts and Culture
Fountains and water games in Zwickau
Favorite thing: Zwickau has a number of interesting, sometimes funny fountains and water games. My favourite is the one on Kornmarkt square - a water wheel and five corn bags - that reminds people of the former mill at this place. The fountain is made of French granite, created by sculptor Wolfgang Jacob from Gundelfingen (pic 1).
Pic 2 shows the "Brunnen der Freundschaft" (Fountain of friendship). No idea why the title, and as you can see it wasn't in operation when I visited. It is located at Schumannplatz, northern end of the old town. Pretty setting.
Pic 3 shows Schwanenbrunnen ("Swan fountain") in a small park right by the Central bus station. It was a donation by entrepreneur Albin Barth in 1932. The fountain is surrounded by pergolas and benches, frequented mostly by kids that just hang out.
Pic 4 is the "Kids round dance" fountain, properly placed right in front of the theatre and next to the Schumann monument. It is a work of local sculptor Berthold Dietz from 1968.
Pic 5 is another fountain next to the Gewandhaus, the theatre building.
Parks and Gardens
Favorite thing: You might be tired of the city, too much architecture, shopping or whatever after a while. Time to recover, spending time in a park and rest - easy to do in Zwickau, the next one is never far away. Best is the Schwanenteichpark (separate tip), perfect for a short excursion is Schloss Planitz with park and park-like cemetery (separate tip). But there are more gardens and 'green' places in Zwickau. First off, there's the Mulde river with trees, lawns and gardens to both sides.
Pics 1 and 2 show the garden that belongs to the "Neue Welt" concert hall and ballroom. It's pretty far north of the old town, best with trams 4 or 7 or by bike. Unfortunately it is not as beautifully preserved as it once was, the sculptures are (poor) copies, there are fewer flower beds than before ... but it is still a nice place.
Pic 3 was taken right be the river, at the eastern end of the old town. The park is called "Mulden-Paradies" - below it runs the city tunnel of a major road. It will take a while until the trees, shrubs and flowers will be old/big enough, but you can already spend a relaxing time there on a not-so-hot day.
Pics 4 and 5 were taken in the park at Johannisbad, called Schlobigpark after the donator of the ground and the funds to create it. Pretty close to the old town, old trees provide shade on hot summer days. It's quite much frequented by the locals and looked good to hang out.
Art Nouveau (and other early 20th century) arch.
Favorite thing: Zwickau has outstanding examples of Art Nouveau architecture, like the Neue Welt concert and ball house, the Johannisbad and Luther church (separate tips for all of them) but it also has many examples of that style in the residential area north of the old town as well as in Bahnhofstraße and in the old town.
The part of Nordvorstadt district closer to the old town was constructed in the 19th century, the part farther north later, around the turn of the century and in the early 20th century. Thus you find Art Nouveau (and also Art Deco/Reform architecture) there. Some excellent examples are to see on the pictures. My suggestion is to take the tram to stop Kurt-Eisner-Straße and turn left. Right away you'll come across the houses on pics 1-3. Pic 5 shows a detail of a villa next to August-Horch-Museum, pic 4 was taken at Walther-Rathenau-Straße.
More pics, especially on later architecture of the early 20th century in travelogues.
19th century architecture outside the old town
Favorite thing: Zwickau is a city with many remarkable buildings, even ensembles, constructed in the 19th century. It was the era when the population of the cities grew rapidly, apartments had to built as well as buildings for administration, churches, schools etc. The city walls around the old town were torn down and replaced by impressive buildings along a "ring" street. In Zwickau the Mulde river encloses the eastern old town so the "ring" was limited to the other three directions.
The southern district has only few remarkable houses of that era. One is the building for the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo (pic 1).
The most impressive ensemble of 19th century architecture in Zwickau is probably find between the old town and the Schwanenteich park - a school (Gerhart-Hauptmann-Gymnasium, pic 5) in Neo-Renaissance style (1866-70), the courthouse vis-a-vis (1876-79) in Frech Neo-Renaissance style and the Post- and Telegraph building (1883/84) in German Neo-Renaissance style form a square (Platz der Deutschen Einheit), designed with flower beds, lawns and trees.
The Nordvorstadt district also has plenty of houses built in that era. Closer to the old town they form blocks along the streets, farther north they are single houses/villas with nice gardens. Pics 2 and 3 show examples at Clara-Zetkin-Straße and Kolpingstraße - it's really hard to pick a few as there are so many beautiful (and almost all restored!) houses.
The Bahnhofstraße is another area where you find sumptuous townhouses in Neo-styles from the 19th century (pic 4). The upper part toward the train station is not totally restored yet, so you better walk along the lower end and pass the upper end riding a tram or bus.
- Historical Travel
Old Town - a wild mix of architecture
Favorite thing: Zwickau's old town is not picture-perfect like that of other German towns. It is a wild mix of architectural styles, something is preserved from almost every epoque (hardly Baroque, though). Some buildings have tips in the "Things To Do" category. Others are not important enough to be mentioned separatly but I'll try to give a quick summary here.
Townhouses from the 15th century in late Gothic style are the so called "Dünnebierhaus" (Neuberinplatz 1, a block east of the town hall, pics 1 and 2) and the "Martin-Römer-Haus", Hauptmarkt 8 (pic 3). Martin Römer was one of the wealthiest men of Saxony at his time, based on mining and trade. The house is from 1479, remarkable is the gable with the coat-of-arms. His brother, Nickel Römer, commissioned Arnold von Westfalen, the famous architect who also constructed the Albrechtsburg in Meißen, to build his house (now called "Dünnebierhaus") in 1480. Very typical is the shape of the windows. Nowadays it hosts offices of the town's administration. The beautiful hall upstairs with original wooden ceilings is the civil registry office.
The townhouses to the right on pic 3 (Hauptmarkt 9/10) are good examples for the 19th century architecture. These are very ornate in Neo-Baroque style, erected 1894/95.
Pic 4 shows Innere Plauensche Straße, a Neo-Gothic building to the right from the 1870s and an Art Nouveau house to the left (also pic 5). They form an impressive entrance to the old town, coming from the train station. The Art Nouveau building was erected 1907 and is an example of the less ornate and floral, more severe Art Nouveau style. You're welcome to enter the house, it is a passage open to the public (pic 5). You can see beautiful, colourful Art Nouveau stained-glass windows inside.
Fondest memory: It is a shame that the communists tore down the eastern part of the old town that was basically well preserved. Instead they built smaller and really large apartment blocks in plain architecture. I'd like to say they form an interesting contrast to the older architecture, but that's only partially true - it applies to the smaller blocks along Katharinenstraße and the eastern end of Hauptmarkt, but definitely not to the huge blocks along the Mulde river (pic 1). They are restored, interesting murals were created on their facades and I believe it is not too bad to live there, but they're an eyesore for the cityscape.
Well done were the buildings of the College of Applied Sciences in the southwestern old town. They are from the 1950s, form nice courtyards and fit into the older structures well. A nice constrast is the modern College library building.
More pictures in travelogues.
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