Former hospital building (Krankenstift)
Right next to the central bus stop corner Stiftstraße/Bahnhofstraße you see a quite picturesque building that now houses a grocery, bakery, butcher and some other shops. It is the former hospital building, erected 1842-45 in a wild mix of styles - large Gothic window roses in the southeast corner, the roof reminds of the German Renaissance with gables and chimneys. The building certainly provided pretty good conditions for treating sick people but in the early 20th century a new (and really progressive) hospital was built in the western suburbs of Zwickau.
This evangelic-Lutheran church is a sumptuous Neo-Gothic building in the residential area north of the old town, erected 1891-93 by Hans Abesser & Jürgen Kröger from Berlin. It replaced a small medieval church. Unfortunately the church was closed and I didn't have enough time to ask in the vicarage (just a few steps behind the church) for key, so I couldn't visit inside.
The exterior, as you can see on the pictures, is all brickstone, different colours (red, blue, brown) form structures/ornaments. The mighty tower in the centre accentuates the centralised building - I read that from almost each of the 1100 seats you have an unobstructed view of pulpit and altar. That and the excellent acoustics make the church a popular place for concerts - check their website.
The interior is originally preserved in Neo-Gothic style as I read. Must be pretty impressive, a reason to go back.
- Religious Travel
Viewing point Muldenwarte
Getting a view over the city is not that easy. The church tower of St. Mary is only accessible with a guided tour, other towers are not accessible at all. One of the few good viewing points is called "Muldenwarte" and is located above the right bank of the Mulde river. The view is unfortunately a bit obstructed by trees to the far right and left, but you can see the city centre pretty well.
A staircase leads up to the viewing point with a cute pavillion. Access is from the cycling/walking path on the right bank of the river. Fastest way to get there is tram #3, direction Eckersbach, stop "Brauerei", the first one after crossing the river. Turn right and in five minutes you're up there.
No idea where the name comes from, LOL. The bridge is one of the earliest mentioned (1334) in Zwickau, the long-distance road from Krakow via Dresden to Nuremberg crossed the Mulde river right here - near the previously mentioned powder tower.
1695-1900 it was a covered wooden bridge, then it was replaced by a bridge of iron, reminded me of a similar one in Wroclaw/Breslau - very typical architecture for that time. It's a pedestrian/bike bridge only nowadays.
- Historical Travel
Powder Tower and city wall
There is really not much left of the former city walls. All there is to see is a very short piece of the walls plus one tower - the so called powder tower, dating back to the 15th century. Quite unbelievable as the city was protected by two circles of huge city walls plus a good number of towers in the medieval times.
This small piece is to find at the eastern end of the old town right by the Mulde river and well to see from the cycling path there. What makes it interesting is the contrast between the small medieval structure and the huge apartment blocks from the communist era towering up behind that replaced the older townhouses in this part of the city.
- Historical Travel
Only very little of the former Cistercian convent in Zwickau remained. It was built 1240 as a dependancy of the convent in Grünhain, some miles up the river near Schwarzenberg that was established 1238. With the begin of reformation the citizens of Zwickau protested against the convent and the abbott but only in 1536 it was closed. In 1542 the buildings became home for the Latin school, first principal was the founder of mining sciences - the famous Georgius Agricola. The school grew and got an excellent reputation, later became a High School ("Gymnasium", the composer Robert Schumann a student here 1820-28), mining engineering school and nowadays - after the buildings were destroyed in WWII and replaced by others in the 1950s - the area is part of the campus of the West Saxon College of Applied Sciences.
What you can see nowadays that's left of the convent is the so called "Grünhainer Kapelle", a former chapel built about the year 1300 with beautiful vaulted ceilings. It is now a very nice restaurant (see separate tip).
- Food and Dining
The art nouveau church is located close to the train station, you'll see the steeple on the way into the city. It was built in 1902-1906 in pure Jugendstil architecture. Unfortunately the church has no regular opening hours - one would have to make an appointment with the parish office - but if you are interested in Jugendstil the exterior is already worth seeing.
For those of you who read German, the website of the Parish community has some information about the church here and also photos of the interior.
The parish was founded around 1900 when the city had grown a lot due to industrialization. Both parish and church were named after the reformator Martin Luther. He is depicted on the main portal (photo 3). In Zwickau the reformation was introduced very early, already around 1520/21. In 1522 Luther himself visited Zwickau, stayed with the mayor and held a sermon from the balcony of the town hall, as shown in the relief above the portal. The two statues show Paulus and Luther. The inscription quotes Luther's words in front of the Diet in Worms in 1521: "Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders, Gott helfe mir, Amen." ("Here I stand. I can do no other. May God help me, Amen.")
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
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