Chemnitz (kĕmˈnĭts) [key], formerly Karl-Marx-Stadt kärl-märks-shtät, city (1994 pop. 279,520), Saxony, E central Germany, on the Chemnitz River. It is a major industrial center and an important road and rail junction; it has become one of the most heavily polluted cities in Europe. Manufactures include machine tools, machinery, chemicals, private and commercial vehicles, and textiles. Nearby is a large open-pit lignite mine. Of Wendish origin, the city was chartered in 1143, when it was also granted a linen-weaving monopoly. It grew as a trade center, was devastated in the Thirty Years War (1618–48), and recovered its prosperity after the introduction (late 17th cent.) of cotton milling. Noteworthy buildings of the city include two Renaissance-style city halls (one built in 1496 and the other in 1911) and a late-Gothic church, the Stadtkirche (1136). The city was renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1953 but returned to its original name shortly after German reunification in 1990.
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