Industrial Heritage in Leipzig and the Region

Industrial Architecture in Leipzig

Even when exploring the city today, you will be amazed to see traces everywhere of the industrial era that shaped Leipzig. In addition to expansive industrial buildings in the west of Leipzig, the Alte Messegelände (old trade fair grounds) in the east and the 170-year-old WERK2 culture factory in Connewitz to the south are among the most important monuments to industrial heritage.

Unique highlight: an area of over 90 ha (200 acres) has been preserved as a monument to industrial architecture in the trendy district of Plagwitz! This part of the city in the west of Leipzig was the first large-scale industrial area in Germany developed according to a plan. Closely linked to the history of Plagwitz, the entrepreneurial culture was significantly influenced by Dr Carl Erdmann Heine (1819-1888). Thanks to his dedication between 1840 and 1880, Leipzig became a pioneer of German industrialisation. 

Heine's passion for the economic use of waterways and his desire to establish industry and housing led to the creation of an area bursting with living quarters, jobs and unique transport routes such as theKarl Heine Canal.

Leipzig, a Hub for Art and Culture

Thanks to the successful renovation and conversion of former Wilhelminian style buildings, many magnificent brick structures can still be admired in the west of Leipzig today. Exclusive lofts and cultural centres have been created in former factory buildings.

For example, theSpinnerei, which was once the largest cotton mill in Europe, now offers an enormously wide range of attractions for art lovers while remaining a creative home for Leipzig artists. 

Would you like to explore other industrial buildings with unique charm? You will also find what you are looking for in the neighbouring district of Lindenau, where the Tapetenwerk (wall paper factory) and the Kunstkraftwerk arts centre await your visit.

Industrial Architecture in Leipzig

Spinnerei Art Centre


© CC-BY |, Philipp Kirschner



© CC-BY |, Philipp Kirschner

Kunstkraftwerk Leipzig


© CC-BY |, Tom Williger

Industrial Heritage in the Leipzig Region

In addition to castles and palaces, family-friendly waterways and an idyllic moorland landscape, the local industrial heritage is also one of the major attractions in the Leipzig region.

Historical railways, technical monuments and mills are testament to mining and industrial history that can still be marvelled at today, allowing you to experience industrial heritage live. 

There are special tours on the theme of industrial heritage that are perfect to explore for yourself.

Historic railways

"Experience industrial heritage in a different way – for example, during a ride on the over 125-year-old Döllnitz railway. The roots of the "Wilder Robert" narrow-gauge railway go back a long way in history. For decades, its main purpose was to transport china clay and agricultural products With its steam and diesel locomotives, the light railway is one of the most important tourist attractions in the region today.

Further south in the Leipzig region, the "Historic Coal Railway" is fitted with a diesel engine and traverses the border between Saxony and Thuringia. You can experience real mining tradition, enjoy idyllic landscapes and also visit sights along the way. 
If you have never ridden a horse-drawn tram, we strongly recommend visiting Döbeln, also known as Stiefelstadt or "Boot City". Here, Germany's only inner-city horse-drawn tram has been rolling again since 2007. Visit the German Horse Tramway Museum to learn about the history of horse trams.

Mining Tradition

Here you can discover the legacy of coal mining

Until 1990, lignite mining dominated the landscape around Leipzig. Today, a wide range of museums and artefacts tell the story of the former mining tradition.

The belt stackerin the Mining and Technology Park can be seen from afar. The open-air exhibition next to the A 38 motorway succeeds in bringing the topic of mining to the younger generations in an exciting way. You can also experience the traces of the past by riding on the historic coal train or visiting mining museums and former briquette factories.

Tip: We recommend the Industrial Heritage Combi Ticket for €20 per person.

You can find more information in the flyer "On the Trail of Lignite in the Southern Leipzig New Lake District".

© Sven Bartsch

Mills and Millers

In past centuries, the mills were always an important part of life . They provided people with food and work and were considered a meeting place for conversation and interaction. They also reflected the latest technology and inventions.

Today, mills are once again enjoying renewed popularity thanks to their old-fashioned technology and traditions as well as the romance of an age long gone. Every year, these technical monuments attract interested visitors to the German Mill Day on Whit Monday. Between April and October, you can attend numerous events. You can visit mills – alone or guided – and experience various cultural highlights. From time to time, you may even hear the traditional miller's greeting "Glück zu" (may good fortune be with you).

Technological Monuments to Industrialisation

Old Walls. New ideas – Leipzig and its surrounding region look back on an eventful industrial history. There are still many places where you can marvel at the historical evidence of industry and technology. Some industrial machines are fully functional and can in many cases be seen in action, for example in the Mining Technology Park or in the historic Erbs brickworks. Many other historical attractions are not just "dead museums" but places full of life and dedicated to the preservation of old traditions. 

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