Leipzig Germany, in the State of Saxony Germany, is the next stop on our trip around the world in 80 days. Leipzig has many nicknames. Known as the City of Heroes, City of Music, the ‘new Berlin’, and the city of short distances. Perhaps all of these names fit Leipzig well. Especially the City of Heroes, for it was here that the Monday Discussions began in 1982. Those discussions led to peaceful protest and the Peaceful Revolution. Prayer Meetings led by the Pastor of St. Nicholas Church were significant in bringing this revolution about. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Leipzig is accessible by plane, rail, bus or car. The closest airport to Leipzig is Leipzig Halle Airport. The Airport Express Railway is a quick and inexpensive way to transfer to Leipzig city center.
Leipzig is a walkable city; residents consider Leipzig the ‘city of short distances.’ But there is also a good system of buses and trams to get around. In the summer a bicycle rental will give you easy transport and exercise as a bonus.
Where do you like to stay when visiting a new city? My advice is to stay in the city center, where it is easy to get to everywhere a traveler will want to see. One hotel in a prime location is the Steigenberger on the Old Town Square; close to St. Nicholas Church and the Old Town Hall.
For the traveler with a moderate budget the InterCityHotel located in Zentrum is a two block walk from the train station. Rooms are small and basic but include everything you would need for a great hotel stay. I would recommend this hotel for the visitor who feels they don’t want to pay for luxury because they aren’t spending time in the hotel. A sumptuous breakfast is available in the lobby every morning and is included in the room rate.
The best time to visit Leipzig is in the summer for the music, theater, and culture.
The following list will give you a good idea of what there is to see and do in Leipzig. It is by no means inclusive.
Leipzig – Where History Comes Alive
Over 500 composers have lived in Leipzig over the 1000 years of existence. If classical music is one of your passions, you’ve come to the right city.
Thomaskirche – St. Thomas Church
Johann Sebastian Bach was Cantor of St. Thomas Church. He directed the Boys Choir from 1723 until his death. The Boys Choir began in 1212 and still goes strong today. Check the St. Thomas website for when to hear the Boys Choir sing.
The Bach Museum is across from St. Thomas Church where Bach’s statue is prominently placed.
The Mendelssohn House –Home of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and his family. The house is open to tour daily, and concerts are held in the Musiksalon on Sundays. The history of Mendelssohn’s family and his work is in this museum. A high point for families that visit is an interactive electronic display that lets you direct a choir or an orchestra with the swing of the baton.
St. Nicholas Church – Include this church in your touring to see the beautiful palm-shaped pillars inside.
But that isn’t the only reason to see this beautiful church. It’s really about what happened here, and the brave pastor who began Prayers for Peace meetings in the church in 1982. And because of this it’s another reason that Leipzig is called the City of Heroes. St. Nicholas Church was the only place in the country where people could talk about things that couldn’t be discussed. In 1985 the pastor put out a sign that reads Open to All, and it remains to this day. I’d like to share more with you about this; I’m afraid that I would not do it justice. Plus, I think you will gain a unique understanding of the importance of what happened here best by reading an article from the BBC titled “Did a prayer meeting really bring down the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War?”
The Zeitgeschichliches Forum also known as the Museum of Contemporary History
This museum tells the story of ‘opposition, resistance and moral courage shown in the GDR against the background of German division.’ The photo above shows the front of this museum. The statue in front is called “Der Jahrhundertshritt” or “The Step of the Century” by Wolfgang Mattheuer. It is seen as an allegory for the 20th century.
Leipzig Panometer – A Panometer is a Panoramic Exhibit displayed inside a round building, called a gasometer. A gasometer is a large container that held a large volume of gas. As a Panometer, they display themed exhibits. The current 360-degree exhibit is of the underwater world of the TITANIC as created by Yadegar Asisi. For more information, click here.
Visit the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in 1813. This is Leipzig’s most famous landmark, located close to Napoleon’s command post, dedicated to the notoriously bloody battle in which Napoleon was forced to surrender.
Madler Passage – Passageways or arcades are commonplace in Leipzig. One of the most famous and beautiful is the Madler Passage. Beautiful ceilings and titled walls that tell a story, illuminated by skylights above.
Where to Eat and What to Eat
Saxon Cuisine – Saxon dishes are the foods that ares traditionally considered German. Schnitzel, dumplings, roast pork. Here is where they make it best.
One the of the best places to go to sample Saxony dishes is also the most famous in Leipzig: Auerbach’s Keller. Auerbach’s dates back to 1538. Goethe was a frequent guest. He set the renowned scene of Faust dining with the devil in Auerbach’s Barrell Cellar.
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