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Old June 9th, 2018, 04:26 PM   #2321
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Chemnits seems like it has some nice high density historic suburban areas though
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Old June 9th, 2018, 04:42 PM   #2322
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Chemnitz was a stunning too. But interestingly, not a featured destination before the war, never had a preeminent position as an architectural jewel, was considered a 'working mans city', and thought of as fairly common. Yet, as we see in these photos, Chemnitz, too, was steeped in elegant design and thoughtful beauty.
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Old June 9th, 2018, 06:25 PM   #2323
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But interestingly, not a featured destination before the war, never had a preeminent position as an architectural jewel, was considered a 'working mans city', and thought of as fairly common. Yet, as we see in these photos, Chemnitz, too, was steeped in elegant design and thoughtful beauty.

Well, standards were higher back then.
What we now cherish as gems are mostly lucky remains of former splendor.
In Russia it's pretty much the same. Though it wasn't war (or at least not only war) in our case but years of Soviet barbarity and post-Soviet neglect.
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Old June 9th, 2018, 06:27 PM   #2324
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The communist government cleared away the few central buildings that did survive and rebuilt Chemnitz as a 'model socialist city'.

It was even renamed to Karl-Marx-Stadt to fit better.
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Old June 9th, 2018, 09:18 PM   #2325
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It was even renamed to Karl-Marx-Stadt to fit better.
Was the city in any way related to Marx?


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Virtually nothing. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if not a is single building in the pictures I posted still exists.

Chemnitz was bombed heavily in March 1945, a couple of weeks after Dresden. The entire oldtown was destroyed, as well as significant chunks of the rest of the city. The communist government cleared away the few central buildings that did survive and rebuilt Chemnitz as a 'model socialist city'.



The bare bit in the middle is essentially the heart of the former old town.


Absolutely shocking and sad. I wonder why the communists on the Polish side of the border thought and acted differently.
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Old June 9th, 2018, 09:40 PM   #2326
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Did they? Take a look at Katowice, a city of comparable industrial importance.

I think the city center of Chemnitz is quite iconic, besides its modernness and it still has some very nice historic quarters.
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Old June 9th, 2018, 10:12 PM   #2327
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Katowice didn't have much quality historic buildings that could be rebuild in the first place. Unlike Chemnitz which existed since 1300s, Katowice only got city rights in 1865. Katowice is a product of a commodity boom and rose within 20 years or so. Most of its architecture were familoki, i.e. low-quality worker's apartment buildings and buildings directly related to industry. Some bits of better pre-WW1 are preserved though.
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Old June 10th, 2018, 01:09 AM   #2328
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The communists proposed to do to Warsaw's old town and Gdansk (also totally devastated) what was done to Chemnitz. Warsaw had a clever champion in architect Jan Zachwatowicz who knew how to convince the commies how important it was to the legitimacy of the regime to maintain a connection to the past and rebuilding the old towns would confirm it.
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Old June 10th, 2018, 01:17 AM   #2329
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The communists proposed to do to Warsaw's old town and Gdansk (also totally devastated) what was done to Chemnitz. Warsaw had a clever champion in architect Jan Zachwatowicz who knew how to convince the commies how important it was to the legitimacy of the regime to maintain a connection to the past and rebuilding the old towns would confirm it.
Thank god for this man..if only we had more like him at the time
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Old June 10th, 2018, 02:19 AM   #2330
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I think the city center of Chemnitz is quite iconic, besides its modernness and it still has some very nice historic quarters.
Iconically ugly. I've never heard anyone speak of it with anything but disgust and derision, in real life and on the internet.
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Old June 10th, 2018, 02:41 AM   #2331
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Chemnitz was a stunning too. But interestingly, not a featured destination before the war, never had a preeminent position as an architectural jewel, was considered a 'working mans city', and thought of as fairly common. Yet, as we see in these photos, Chemnitz, too, was steeped in elegant design and thoughtful beauty.
I guess this goes back to the pervading architectural preoccupation with unity and beauty in that era. Architecture was not merely seen as a functional necessity, it was a means through which civic pride for the city could be expressed. I've heard some people talk about the idea of 'cultural capital' -- that is, investing in the culture and expression of the city itself even if there is no immediate financial benefit. I don't mean just adding an Opera house or a theatre; it was about bettering the city as a single, connected, almost organic entity, especially with regards to the public realm. Sort of the old "Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her." This is a mentality that simply doesn't exist today.

I think before Chemnitz's major industry emerged, it was just another pretty Saxon town. I like this impression from around 1840:

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Old June 11th, 2018, 10:39 PM   #2332
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Was the city in any way related to Marx?
AFAIK, no direct connection. I have no idea why was this exact city chosen to bear Marx's name.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 12:47 AM   #2333
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Thank god for this man..if only we had more like him at the time
I have somewhere heard that soviets were convinced by by Polish stories and history how they have fought against "imperialistic germany and Teutonic ordin" for ages and Warsaw was one of the most important resistance centres. Rebuilding Warsaw could be used as a symbol of eastern might and western weakness (strong people rise from ashes). After all, Russians wanted propaganda material and Polish people their old town, Stalin liked this idea and agreed with rebuilding.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 02:43 AM   #2334
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AFAIK, no direct connection. I have no idea why was this exact city chosen to bear Marx's name.
It was renamed in 1953, on the 70th anniversary of Marx's death. It had something to do with Chemnitz being an old workers city I think.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 07:35 AM   #2335
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Originally, the communist party intended to name the town they built for the new steel works (Eisenhüttenkombinat Ost) near Fürstenberg/Oder "Karl-Marx-Stadt", today Eisenhüttenstadt. 1953 was the 70th death year of Marx. But 10 days after the decision was made to name the new city that way, Stalin died and the SED changed its plans "honoring" Stalin instead.
So instead of Eisenhüttenstadt, Chemnitz was chosen to bear the name Karl Marx. Which wasn't easy, as Marx never set a foot in the city. But Chemnitz was one of the earliest industrial cities in Germany, bearing the nick name "Saxon Manchester". Saxons made up quite a big portion of the SED Elites back then because it had been a hotspot for socialist and communist groups for decades.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 12:30 PM   #2336
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In a strange twist, Katowice which you mentioned above, was also briefly renamed after Stalin's death into Stalinogród. The name reverted back into Katowice in 1956.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 04:50 PM   #2337
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Berlin, Bülowstraße
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Old June 13th, 2018, 04:54 PM   #2338
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The thing I miss most about organic old cities is quirky strange little things like that ^...modern cities just all functional, everything as efficient as possible..all the nooks and crannies and kinks and bumps that gave cities character and personality all ironed out
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Old June 13th, 2018, 05:02 PM   #2339
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I have somewhere heard that soviets were convinced by by Polish stories and history how they have fought against "imperialistic germany and Teutonic ordin" for ages and Warsaw was one of the most important resistance centres. Rebuilding Warsaw could be used as a symbol of eastern might and western weakness (strong people rise from ashes). After all, Russians wanted propaganda material and Polish people their old town, Stalin liked this idea and agreed with rebuilding.
interesting angle but I have never come across such an argument. Russians certainly didn't want Poland's or Warsaw's stature raised, but rather viewed Warsaw as a regional or provincial city.

From what I recall of Chemnitz, didn't it require a massive clean-up after the Russians retreated and the wall came down. I remember stories that surfaced in the media post Berlin wall that revealed how filthy this region was its environment destroyed by heavy industry and its toxic by-products. Looks like a model of environmental stewardship now.
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Old June 16th, 2018, 07:41 PM   #2340
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Chemnitz



















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