Clockwise from top: view over the city centre, astronomical clock, St John's Church, old market, St Mark's Church, old and new city hall
|Subdivisions||5 city boroughs with 38 parts|
|• Lord mayor (2021–28)||Steffen Zenner (CDU)|
|• Total||102.11 km2 (39.42 sq mi)|
|Elevation||412 m (1,352 ft)|
|• Density||620/km2 (1,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Vehicle registration||V, AE, OVL, PL, RC|
Plauen (German pronunciation: [ˈplaʊən]; Czech: Plavno) is, with around 65,000 inhabitants, the fifth-largest city of Saxony, Germany after Leipzig, Dresden, Chemnitz and Zwickau, the second-largest city of the Vogtland after Gera, as well as the largest city in the Saxon Vogtland (German: Sächsisches Vogtland). The city lies on the river White Elster (Weiße Elster; a tributary of the Saale), in the Central Vogtlandian Hill Country. Plauen is the southwesternmost city of a string of cities sitting in the densely populated foreland of the Elster and Ore Mountains, stretching from Plauen in the southwest via Zwickau, Chemnitz and Freiberg to Dresden in the northeast. It is the capital of the Vogtland District. Plauen borders Thuringia to the north, and it is also situated near the Saxon border with Bavaria (Franconia) and the Czech Republic (Bohemia).
Although being a Saxon city, the regional Vogtlandian dialect spoken in Plauen is a (Saxon-influenced) East Franconian variant related to the dialects of neighbouring Franconia in Bavaria. The name of the city as well as the names of many of its boroughs are of Slavic origin. Plauen and the surrounding Saxon Vogtland are known as the centre of the German embroidery and lace industry.
Plauen was founded by Polabian Slavs in the 12th century as "Plawe" and was passed to the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1327. The town was captured by the Archbishop of Magdeburg, Lippold von Bredow, in 1384. In 1466, it was passed to Albertine Saxony and later in 1569 to the Electorate of Saxony. Plauen became incorporated into the Kingdom of Saxony in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars, and in 1871 it became part of the German Empire.
In the late-19th century, Plauen became a centre of textile manufacturing, specializing in Chemical lace, called Plauen lace. Around 1910, Plauen, as an industrial 'boomtown' of the region, reached its population peak (1910 census: 121,000, 1912: 128,000). Plauen's population, however, has shrunk dramatically since the Second World War (1939: 111,000 inhabitants).
In the 1930s, Plauen hosted the first chapter of the Nazi Party outside of Bavaria.
During the war, the Nazis operated a prison in the town, and three subcamps of the Flossenbürg concentration camp. 500 women, mostly Polish, but also Russian, Italian, French, Yugoslavian and Croatian, were imprisoned and used as forced labour in the first two subcamps, and 50 men from various countries were imprisoned in the third subcamp. It was occupied by American troops on 16 April 1945 but was left to Red Army on 1 July 1945. On December 15, 1945, the city issued 7 semi-postal postage stamps of its own to raise money for reconstruction.
From 1945 onwards, Plauen fell into the Soviet occupation zone of Germany, which later became the German Democratic Republic (1949-1990). Plauen hosted a large Red Army occupation garrison and, in the last years of the GDR (DDR), an officer school of the Border Guards ("Grenztruppen der DDR"). The first mass demonstration against the communist regime in the GDR began in Plauen on 7 October 1989; this was the beginning of a series of mass demonstrations across the country and ultimately led to the re-unification of Germany in 1990.
The exposé Fast Food Nation gives special mention to Plauen as the first city of the GDR to have a McDonald's restaurant following the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
In the district reform of 1 July 2008, Plauen lost its urban district status and was merged into the district Vogtlandkreis.
The Jewish community of Plauen dates back to the early 14th century  and numbered up to several houndreds between world wars. A reform-Jewish, bauhaus-style synagogue was opened in 1930, only to be demolished in 1938 during the Krystallnacht.
Plauen becoming a Nazi stronghold, attacks against the Jewish community were frequented in the 1920s. Physical signalling Jews are documented from 1932. Most of the Jewish population either left or was killed during the holocaust. Today, no Jewish community exists in Plauen. The city of Plauen maintains few sites in the city to commemorate the past Jewish life in Plauen, such as the Jewish Cemetery.
A 3D-model of the Jewish Synagogue of Plauen was designed by Prof. Marc Grellert and his team from the TU Darmstadt as a part of his project to 3D design German synagogues that were demolished before, during and after the WW2. https://www.architektur.tu-darmstadt.de/fachbereich/aktuelles_arch/architektur_news_details_133952.de.jsp
The first freely elected mayor after German reunification was Rolf Magerkord of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who served from 1990 to 2000. The mayor was originally chosen by the city council, but since 1994 has been directly elected. Ralf Oberdorfer of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) was mayor between 2000 and 2021. The most recent mayoral election was held in two rounds on 13 June and 4 July 2021, in which Steffen Zenner (CDU) was elected.
The most recent city council election was held on 26 May 2019, and the results were as follows:
|Christian Democratic Union (CDU)||20,717||23.7||11.7||11||5|
|Alternative for Germany (AfD)||17,464||20.0||New||11||New|
|The Left (Die Linke)||12,728||14.5||6.9||6||3|
|Social Democratic Party (SPD)||12,245||14.0||5.0||6||2|
|Free Democratic Party (FDP)||8,687||9.9||2.6||4||1|
|Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne)||7,529||8.6||2.7||3||1|
|Initiative Plauen (WV)||4,752||5.4||0.4||2||±0|
|The III. Path||3,366||3.8||New||1||New|
|Source: Wahlen in Sachsen|
Plauen (Vogtland) Oberer Bahnhof lies on the Leipzig–Hof line. The section of this line through Plauen is part of the Saxon-Franconian trunk line running between Nürnberg, Hof, Plauen, Zwickau, Chemnitz and Dresden. The city had another station, Plauen (Vogtland) Unterer station (now defunct), on the Elster Valley Railway. There is a plan to rename the Oberer (Upper) station into Plauen Hauptbahnhof (Main Station).
Vogtlandbahn (Vogtland Railway), a regional train company, operates services from Plauen to Hof, Werdau, Chemnitz, Zwickau, Falkenstein and Adorf within Germany and Cheb in the Czech Republic. At these stations, there are other Vogtlandbahn services to Munich, Regensburg, Marktredwitz, Dresden and Leipzig within Germany and Karlovy Vary and Prague in the Czech Republic. A Vogtlandbahn Express Bus service runs between Plauen and Berlin Schönefeld Airport and Zoological Garden.
The Plauen Straßenbahn is a tramway that has 6 lines connecting the centre of city, Plauen-Tunnel stop, to the surrounding areas and the Oberer railway station.
Plauen is home to a University of Applied Sciences with about 300 students and a DIPLOMA Fachhochschule.
Plauen is twinned with:
The urban district of Jößnitz is twinned with Heilsbronn, Germany.
Old market square
Old city hall
Church of St. Mark
Commemorative plaque in Plauen for the mass demonstration of 1989