FLAG EN, a busy manufacturing town of Saxony, in the government district of Zwickau, is situated on the Elster, 60 miles to the south of Leipsic. It was formerly the capital of the Voigtland, a territory governed directly by the imperial voigts or bailiffs, and this name still clings in popular speech to the hilly manufacturing district in which it lies. The most prominent buildings are the fine Gothic church of St John, the town-house (about 1550), the new post-office, and the loftily-situated old castle of Hradschin, now occupied by a law court. Plauen is now the chief place in Germany for the manufacture of embroidered white goods of all kinds, and for the finishing of woven cotton fabrics. Dyeing, tanning, bleaching, and the making of paper and machinery are also prosecuted ; and an active trade is carried on in these various industrial products. In 1880 the town contained 35,078 inhabitants and in 1884 above 40,000, almost all Protestants.
As indicated by the name of the castle, Plauen was probably founded by the Slays, after whose expulsion it was governed directly by the imperial bailiffs. In 1327 it because a Bohemian fief, but passed into the possession of Saxony in 1466 and remained permanently united to it from 1569 onwards. The manufacture of white goods was introduced by Swabian or Swiss immigrants about 1570, and since then the prosperity of the town has been great, in spite of the storms of the Thirty Years' and Seven Years' Wars. The advance of Plauen has been especially rapid since its incorporation in the Zollverein.