Discover History: Klostertor - Theaterstraße


What is known as Schloßbergmuseum and Schloßkirche today used to be a Benedictine monastery. The road that led there from the town went through the Klostertor gate and the monastery district. This watercolour by A. Gottschaldt shows the Klostertor gate around 1820, and is taken from a lithograph by W. Flemming from around 1900.

From the monastery to the city

The Klostertor gate was the northern exit from the city, leading to the monastery hamlet and mill, and eventually the Benedictine monastery on the Schloßberg hill. The street name Innere Klosterstraße still bears witness to the monastery today.

The hamlet grew rapidly through to the 15th century, particularly as a result of the fl ourishing linen industry and private bleacheries. At this time, a coppersmith named Jacob built the city‘s second copper hammer mill in front of the Klostertor. The construction of the Klostertor tower has been dated to 1547. The style imitates that of the Johannistor tower, including its baroque roof. It bears the crest of the Elector Moritz and of the city, along with the inscription: “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain”.

Since the Klostertor provided access to the main road to Rochlitz and Leipzig, its bridge was the fi rst to be built in stone in the early 1580s. Ten years later, the bridges at the Niklastor, Johannistor, and Chemnitztor gates followed suit. In 1829, the gate, which was now mostly an obstacle to traffi c in the growing city, was fi nally demolished. The stone bridge over Klostergraben (“monastery moat”), which had already been fi lled in, was demolished and a wide road linking Innere and Äußere Klosterstraße was built.


The theatre, picture here in about 1900, was located in the middle of what is today the Theaterstraße. It burned down on 5 March 1945.

Where is the theatre on Theaterstraße?

If you’re wondering, you need to take a look at the history of Chemnitz, because there was once a theatre on this spot. But first things first.

City theatre in a growing urban centre Travelling theatre companies performed in the old cloth hall on the marketplace until the early 19th century. From 1806 onwards, the theatre was located in the rear courtyard of the Hotel de Saxe on the former horse market, directly over a stable. These temporary premises, with their characteristic smell, were closed in 1836, when the theatre company commissioned architect Johann Traugott Heining to construct a new city theatre next to the former Klostertor.

The building, which had capacity for 1,000 spectators, was inaugurated on 7th February 1938 and cost an impressive 132,000 marks. After the building was transferred to municipal ownership in 1862, it was refurbished and extended on the basis of designs by the theatre architect Titz. It celebrated its reopening on 18th December 1865 with a performance of The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart.


City playhouse instead of City Theatre

When municipal architect Richard Möbius completed the Theaterplatz with the King Albert Museum and the reconstruction of the city theatre, the building on Theaterstraße was rededicated as the city playhouse. It was burned to the ground in the Second World War.

The ruin was removed in the following years. In 1951, the street was renamed Wilhelm-Pieck-Strasse.

Forty years later, in 1991, its former name was restored. It continues to follow the course of what used to be the city moat today.

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