About Zwickau

Zwickau (German pronunciation: [ˈtsvɪkaʊ]) in Germany, belongs to an industrial and economical core region. Nowadays it is the capital city of the district of Zwickau. The city is situated in a valley at the foot of the Erzgebirge mountains and is also part of the so-called Saxon triangle metropolitan area, an economic network which includes Leipzig-Halle, Dresden and Chemnitz. The city has slightly fewer than 100,000 inhabitants, but has a regional catchment area of over 480,000 people. From 1834 until 1952 Zwickau was the former seat of the government of the south-western region of Saxony. Zwickau, known as the city of Automobiles and Robert Schumann, is the cradle of the Saxon automotive industry with an over one hundred year old tradition. The city has a long history of automotive development and automobile industry along with Auto Union. Well known beyond Germany's borders are trademarks such as Horch, Audi, Trabant and Volkswagen. Since 2000 the great history of brands is presented by the new August-Horch Museum[4] inside the former Audi Works of Zwickau. The West Saxon University of Applied Sciences of Zwickau (Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau) has always been an important centre for education and training of automotive engineers. The valley of the 166 km long Zwickauer Mulde river stretches from the Vogtland to the Colditz Castle at the other end. The Silver Road, Saxony's longest tourist route, connects Dresden with Zwickau. The German ADAC City Guide recently wrote: "The town of Zwickau has transformed itself over the years from a traditional mining town into an elegant Art-Nouveau town, which is well worth discovering." The city easily can be reached by car via the nearby Autobahns A4 and A72. The city has a main railway station (Zwickau-Hbf) and is also reachable via a public airfield which takes light aircraft. In 2011, the city was associated with the so-called "Zwickau cell", a neo-Nazi group from Thuringia responsible for several murders and bank robberies

History at a Glance

The city of Zwickau has an almost 900-year-old history. As early as the 14th century there was domestic hard-coal processing. 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. After Wittenberg, it became the first city in Europe to join the Lutheran Reformation. In the 19th century the city's economy was driven by industrial hard-coal mining. The old city of Zwickau, perched on a hill, is surrounded by heights with extensive forests and a scenic municipal park. Its surroundings offer many opportunities for excursions - to the Hartenstein area, for example, with its castle "Stein", and the "Prinzenhöhle", with its castle "Wolfsbrunn" (nowadays a luxury 5-star Hotel), as well as the Auersberg (1019 meters) with the popular winter sport region of Johanngeorgenstadt and the Vogtland. In the Old Town the Cathedral and the Gewandhaus (historic cloth merchants' hall) recall the flourishing ecclesiastical, trade and artistic life of the 16th century, which was based on Schneeberg silver. Zwickau was the main site of the Saxon coal miners, and at the same time one of the most important industrial towns of the country. It is also the cradle of the Saxon automobile industry. When the noise of the shops subsides, one can hear the music of Robert Schumann (1810–1856), which is a special cultural event of art and history for all visitors to the city. The German actor Gert Fröbe, well known as the bad guy Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond film Goldfinger, was born in Zwickau. On April 17, 1945, the Second World War ended for Zwickau when the city was occupied by the US Army. After the withdrawal of the US Army on June 30, 1945 Zwickau was occupied by the Soviet Red Army. Between 1944 and 2003, the city had a population of more than 100,000 inhabitants. Today, the most important employer in the region is Volkswagen-Saxony Ltd. which assembles its models Golf, Passat and Phaeton in the Zwickau-Mosel vehicle plant. Audi-AG together with the city of Zwickau operates the August Horch Museum in the former Audi works.