… a major commercial centre!
In 1497 Leipzig was granted the imperial trade fair privileges by Emperor Maximilian. Therefore Leipzig Fair is regarded the “mother of trade fairs”. Leipzig’s commercial development was given a boost in the 1990s due to the construction of the ultramodern Leipzig Fair Exhibition Centre with its fascinating architecture. In the inner city, visitors can stroll through arcades and passageways reminiscent of former fair activities. Owing to its rich history in trade the city is still – or once again – an attractive location for investors like Porsche, BMW and DHL.
… a city of music!
Hardly any other city can claim as rich a musical heritage as Leipzig. Names like Johann Sebastian Bach (who headed St. Thomas’ Boys Choir from 1723 to 1750) and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (his residential building where he also died is the only one remained) are inextricably linked to Leipzig. The Gewandhaus Orchestra has cultivated classical music in Leipzig for over 250 years.
St. Thomas Boys Choir was founded over 800 years ago by the Augustinian Canons. Its most famous choirmaster was J.S. Bach. Cantatas and motets performed by the choir can be heard every Friday and Saturday at St Thomas’ Church. Leipzig’s opera tradition dates back to 1693. The Opera House is the third oldest civilian music theatre stage in Europe. Today its programme includes a wide range of works from Baroque to modern operas and ballets.
… a safe-haven for the arts!
Leipzig’s dynamic art scene enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide. Its prime site, Spinnerei, a former cotton mill in the trendy Plagwitz district, is home to countless galleries and ateliers. Key figure of the so-called “New Leipzig School” is artist and professor Neo Rauch – the waiting list for his paintings seems to be getting longer by the day. Hollywood star Brad Pitt’s recent purchase of one of his works provides the last proof: The modern figurative painting movement from Leipzig is enjoying spectacular success.
… a city breathing history!
In October 1813, the peoples oppressed by Napoleon joined forces outside the city gates of Leipzig. In the glorious “Battle of the Nations”, Austrians, Prussians, Russians and Swedes fought against Napoleon’s army. Involving 500,000 soldiers, it was the biggest battle ever in world history, marking the decisive turning point in the war of liberation from Napoleonic rule. Today the Monument of the Battle of Nations is the tallest accessible memorial in Europe.
In October again, but more than 170 years later, a peaceful uprising led to the collapse of the socialist regime. After the peace prayers in St. Nicholas Church, some 70,000 took to the streets on Monday, October 9, 1989 to demonstrate for freedom of speech, assembly and travel. Chants such as “We are the people!” and “No violence!” heralded the Peaceful Revolution in Germany. You should mark the date in your calendar and join the spectacular commemorative ceremony in Leipzig!
… a spiritual journey!
Christianity and the church are essential elements of Leipzig’s history. The city was particularly significant for the rise of the Reformation movement – from the city’s many publishing houses Martin Luther’s writings and numerous evangelical hymnbooks were distributed in large numbers. Luther, who had lived in nearby Wittenberg, stayed in Leipzig several times. In the summer of 1519, Leipzig’s Pleissenburg castle became the site of a public debate between Luther and Johann Eck, known as “Leipzig Disputation”. This decisive debate finally split Luther and the Catholic Church. Today the castle hosts the new town hall.
… a city of architectural wealth!
Leipzig owns more than 15,000 cultural relics, eighty percent of which date back to the Gründerzeit (Wilhelminian Era), the period in Germany at the end of the 19th century that was marked by rapid industrial expansion. Leipzig boasts the largest stock of Gründerzeit or Jugendstil (art nouveau) buildings – still intact – in whole Germany. In the west of Leipzig, an unparalleled 90hectare monument to industrial architecture has been preserved. Known as Plagwitz, it was the first large industrial area in Germany whose development was fully planned.
… a city for daydreamers and night owls!
One third of Leipzig is covered in a green belt. Its core, the Auenwald, a wide strip of floodplain forest running all the way through the city, is unique in Europe. On a boat trip along the canals or rivers visitors will discover the green lung of Leipzig. Another green part of the city is the zoo. It is the most modern one in Europe and its latest project is the giant tropical hall called “Gondwanaland”, which opened in 2011. Exciting tracks lead the visitors through the rainforest where animals cross their path. In the south of Leipzig the former lignite mining area has been turned into the “New Lakeland Area” with ideal conditions for swimming, water sports and attractive sandy beaches.
If you happen to be nocturnal, there is plenty to get enthusiastic about – theatres, concert halls, variety shows and casinos. And when you finally arrive in one of the many clubs or bars, you will realise that Leipzig is always wide awake and that the term “closing time” is not in our vocabulary.
… a paradise for shoppers!
Leipzig’s compact city centre is ideal for a stroll and shopping tour. Located inside the central ring road sights, restaurants and shops are within walking distance and create a friendly atmosphere. Also Leipzig Central Station, one of Europe’s largest railway termini, was turned into a modern shopping centre. Shop ‘til you drop in about 140 shops on three floors!
… an ideal starting point for new discoveries!
For exciting excursions, follow Luther’s traces to Wittenberg, Erfurt, Eisenach, Torgau and Eisleben – all of which are just a stone’s throw away. Thanks to the excellent train connections, Berlin, Dresden or the porcelain town Meissen are easy to catch in only 1 or 2 hours.