'Lulatsch' – Chemnitz, Germany - Atlas Obscura


This giant glowing "beanpole" adds much-needed pops of color to an otherwise drab power plant. 


An enormous rainbow structure towers above a German city. In the day, it looks kind of like a giant multicolored popsicle, and at night, it transforms into a massive, glowing beacon.

Chemnitz, a city in the eastern part of Germany, sits at the foothills of the Ore Mountains. Formerly known as Karl-Marx-Stadt until the country’s reunification, it has over the years struggled in terms of stature, growth, and reputation in comparison to the larger Saxonian cities of Dresden and Leipzig.

However, in the past decade, the city has begun to emerge from its post-reunification blues. In 2013, one of its largest eyesores received a facelift to help brighten up the local scenery. French artist Daniel Buren painted the 990-foot-tall (302-meter) chimney that’s been part of a local power station and transformed it into a multicolored “beanpole,” or Lulatsch as it’s locally known.

Now painted in seven pastel colors, the formerly gray and drab chimney is, as the power plant operators claim, the tallest complete work of art in the world. In 2017, the chimney received another update: new lighting that allows it to glow in the dark, illuminating the surrounding air and clouds with its rainbow hues.

Know Before You Go

The chimney is visible from the motorways and smaller roads approaching the city. A public pathway (popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists) goes right past the power station. Entry to the power station grounds is not necessary to see it up close.

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