Places of industrial culture

August Horch Museum

In 1975 first practical considerations were made to establish an automotive museum in Zwickau. Due to a scarce financial situation the ideas remained undone. It was not until 1988 that an unused cafeteria of the car factory “Sachsenring” could be turned into a permanent automotive exhibition. Initially it hosted 14 vintage cars, among them one Horch, one DKW and various IFA-automobiles such as the P 50, the P 70 and the upper class limo P 240.

After 1990 and the collapse of the GDR the funding body of the museum changed often. It was not until December 2000 that the car manufacturer Audi and the city of Zwickau started to cooperate in order to reform the August Horch Museum as a limited liability corporation with a charitable, non profit interest (gGmbH). Audi and Zwickau hold equal shares.
In 2002 comprehensive restoration works started and in September 2004 the automotive museum with a newly designed exhibition opened in the historical buildings of the Audi factory. In 2005 the exhibition was extended by the former office building and the August Horch Mansion to a size of about 3.000 square meters.

The restoration was facilitated by a generous donation by Audi and by the subsidies of the State of Saxony and the German federal government. The maintenance and extension of the museum in the past 15 years was secured by the city of Zwickau and the cultural support (Kulturraumförderung) of the state of Saxony.
After more than four years of construction works the museum expansion could be opened in November 2017. The exhibition space was more than doubled and now provides 6,500 square metres. The museum currently possesses a little more than 200 large-size exhibits, of which about 110 are shown in the permanent exhibition. Another 50 large-sized exhibits in the permanent exhibition are permanent loans.

The August Horch Museum - the cradle of the Audi brand
Trabi 500 in the 2018 expanded exhibition area

The factory owner's villa - Villa Wolf/Mocc

In 1881 the Zwickau engineer Carl Wolf developed the pit safety lamp. Compared to the oil-operated lamps, it not only stood out with its better luminosity and cleanliness. Above all, it indicated the threat of underground firedamp explosions. After a patent was applied for in 1882, the actual production of this innovative product, which may have saved the lives of many miners, began when Friemann & Wolf founded the company in 1884 as a machine and mining lamp factory. The company quickly became a globally active company with branch offices in Germany and subsidiaries in Belgium, France, England, Austria-Hungary and the USA. Within a short time, the company had become the largest pit lamp manufacturer in the world. However, this success did not mean that the resourceful employees were resting on their laurels. In the years that followed, they also had a decisive influence on the development of electric pit lamps. In 1907, the world's first head lamps were built with nickel-cadmium batteries, after electric head lamps with lead batteries had been available since 1903. Battery manufacturing is the historical foundation on which successful companies such as Johnson Controls and Hoppecke build today.

Carl Wolf had the villa built in 1910 on the western edge of Zwickau's city centre. The striking building with Art Nouveau elements was designed by the Zwickau architect Johannes Zimmermann, the construction of the neo-baroque building was carried out by master builder Curt Zäuner from Zwickau. The villa remained in family ownership until 1945 and was then used commercially. In 1960 the building was converted into the HO restaurant "Mocca-Milchbar", which was followed by another extensive reconstruction in the 1980s. Since 2007, various public events have been held under the name "Villa Mocc", but the building can also be rented for private and company celebrations.

Villa Mocc

Paradise Bridge and MuldeParadies

The Paradise Bridge, completed in 1900, is a unique testimony to the art of Saxon engineering and steel construction. The previous wooden construction with roofing from the 17th century had to make way for the - modern for those times - steel rivet construction. At 69 metres long and 12 metres wide, it is one of Zwickau's landmarks. From 15 June to 1 July 1945 the Paradise Bridge served as a kind of border crossing. The depression formed the demarcation line between Soviet and American-occupied territory in Zwickau. Until 1979, when today's Glück-Auf-Brücke was built a few steps away, it was the most important connection between the city centre and the areas east of the river.

Several miners also used the bridge to get from their apartments in the city centre to the shafts and factories located on the bridge hill, for example. This was one of the reasons for building a mining memorial in the immediate vicinity. An implied tunnel and a bench with a miner made of bronze are supplemented by reliefs that contain explanations about mining. This work of art by Jo Harbort is a reminder of the coal mining in the Zwickau area and is a tribute and thanks to the miners for their work.

At the same time, it marks the southern end of the MuldeParadies, which - having received several awards - is one of the most beautiful parks in Saxony. The construction over the federal road made it possible to create an area with paths and meadows that invites you to walk and linger and offers two playgrounds. The river stage, a barbecue area and historical elements complete the complex. Furthermore, as part of the Mulde Cycle Route, the national Luther Trail and the Santiago de Compostela, it invites you to enjoy the region's beautiful cycling and hiking tours.

Paradise Bridge
View of the MuldeParadies from the opposite side of the Mulde

The Old Gasometer

North of the MuldeParadies and directly opposite the impressive Renaissance Palace Osterstein is the brick round of the Old Gasometer. Today it is one of Zwickau's most important industrial monuments. At the same time it is an impressive example of how new life can move into old walls. The construction of a gasworks became necessary in 1853 with the installation of public gas lighting. A second gas container was built four years later. The Wilhelminian gasometer on the edge of the city centre, which is still preserved today, was the third of these containers. It was completed in 1875 with a capacity of 3,000 m3. The gas was produced from coal, with tar, coke and ammonia as by-products. The plant was in operation until 1900. After the shutdown, the gasometer served as a storage hall. Since the mid-1990s, the city administration, architects and associations have been developing concepts for the preservation of this architectural monument and its future use as a community centre. In 1998, Zwickau city council decided to extend the property. After 15 months of construction, the building was handed over to the operator "Alter Gasometer e. V. - Socio-cultural Centre" on 23 August 2000. The renovation was supported by the European Union, the federal government and the state.

Today a wide variety of concerts, theatre performances, festivals and celebrations, conferences and readings take place here. The socio-cultural centre with its three thematic areas of cultural, youth and democracy work offers space for associations, institutions and groups. The club house for example houses the youth club, the coordination office of the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance and the coordination office of the Zwickau Partnership for Democracy as well as a rehearsal room for bands. The Alte Gasometer e. V. is also involved in numerous cooperation projects, such as the city festival, the intercultural festival or the "Historical Village".

The Sociocultural Center Zwickau
Inside the "Old Gasometer"

More Places of industrial culture

Galerie am Domhof

Today's Galerie am Domhof was opened in 1878 as an exhibition hall of the city art association Zwickauer Kunstverein.

The neoclassical style building is partly built on medieval foundations of a former Latin school. Together with the restored medieval Priesterhäuser (priests' houses) and St. Mary's Cathedral, the building forms a special urban ensemble in the centre of Zwickau.

The Galerie am Domhof sees itself as a meeting place for artists and art lovers. In the three rooms on the upper floor of the building, six to eight large, changing special exhibitions from various genres of contemporary art are presented each year.

Associations such as the Kunstverein Zwickau e.V., the Gesellschaft für christlich-jüdische Zusammenarbeit or the Förderstudio Literatur have their headquarters here.

Goldener Anker

Even though this building does not look its age, its structure dates back to 1480. Martin Römer, councillor and alderman, as well as chief tax officer of the silver mining industry, had this town house built with a grand crow-stepped gable and two alcoves. This is the very place where Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck exchanged their second kiss when the young pianist was in town for a concert and stayed at the Goldener Anker. In 1870, the building was reconstructed in the Gründerzeit style.

Main rail station

This clinker building, designed by the German National Railway's head architect, Otto Falck, was constructed between 1933 and 1936 as an expression of the architectural developments of the 1920s, thus emulating the contemporary zeitgeist.


The Johannisbad is a unique architectural gem.

It combines the periods of Art Nouveau and neo-Gothic with a touch of oriental bathing culture and nowadays houses a swimming pool, sauna and a modern wellness area. The building on the Mulde River was originally conceived by the director of the hospitals.

Coal Miners' Trail

The coal mining industry shaped the development and appearance of the Zwickau region over a period of around 700 years. Although the city's last coal mine was closed in 1978, the industry has left behind a strong legacy to remind Zwickau's residents and visitors, alike, of its centuries-old history.

Lukaskirche (St Luke's Church)

The Lukaskirche (St Luke's Church) is a three-naved neo-Gothic column basilica laid out in the shape of a cross. Its imposing 60-metre-tall western spire towers high above Planitz Castle hill, a testament to the economic boom brought about by the region's mining industry.


In the 19th century, Zwickau experienced an economic upswing which caused the population to boom. As a result, the city outgrew the Moritzkirche (St Moritz's Church) on today's Hölderlinstrasse and so the parish council decided to build a new, larger and more beautiful place of worship.

City Hall

The most imposing building on the Hauptmarkt (main market square) is the City Hall. After a devastating fire in 1403, it was rebuilt in the style of the high and late Gothic period. The Jakobskapelle (Chapel of St James) dating from the period 1473 to 1477 survives in its original state. The late Gothic triple-nave room is remarkable for its ribbed vaulting, for its Renaissance doorway, and for its murals completed in 1614.