- If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney
Go to Leipzig, Germany
Leipzig has been home to some of Germany’s best-known artists for a long time; Goethe was a student in Leipzig, Bach worked here as a cantor, and today, the New Leipzig school brings fresh wind into the art world. Besides being a center for German art and culture, the city also became famous in Germany’s recent history, when Leipzig demonstrators initiated the peaceful revolution, which lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Tourist Attractions in Leipzig
Battle of the Nations Monument
One of Leipzig's most important monuments - and a leading example of the Wilhelmine school of architecture - is the magnificent Battle of the Nations Monument. Completed in 1913, this imposing structure was constructed in the monumental style favored at the turn of the 20th century and was commissioned to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig in 1813. There's a viewing platform at a height of 91 meters, and although it's a 500-step climb to the top, it's worth it for the spectacular views. Informative English language guided and audio tours are available.
Old City Hall
The Markt in Leipzig, for many centuries the hub of city life, is dominated by the Old City Hall (Rathaus), a Renaissance building erected in 1556, but much altered in later centuries. The tower, with its Baroque crown, is placed asymmetrically over the main entrance, above which is a roofed balcony used for public announcements and proclamations involving trumpeters in traditional costumes. The colonnades along the front were built in 1907, replacing the wooden shops and booths that once stood here, and inside is a museum dedicated to the history of Leipzig.
St. Thomas Church
Southwest of the Leipzig's Markt stands St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche), home of the world-famous St. Thomas Choir. Built in 1212 as the church of an Augustinian house, it was much altered in later centuries, and in the 15th century was given the form of a Late Gothic hall-church in the style of Upper Saxony. The west front dates from renovation work carried out between 1872 and 1889. Martin Luther preached here in 1539, and Johann Sebastian Bach was the church's choirmaster from 1723 to 1750 (his remains are interred here). Opposite the church is the Bosehaus, home of the Bach Research Institute and Memorial and the Bach Archives.
The Grassi Museum was established in 1895 and moved to its current home in 1929. The building is in fact three excellent museums in one, housing the city's ethnography, applied and decorative arts, and musical instrument collections. The Museum of Musical Instruments is a particular favorite for visitors and includes instruments from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, as well as hands-on sound laboratories and extensive archives. Be sure to take a stroll through the city's impressive train station. Built in 1915, it is the largest railroad terminal in Europe.
Museum of Fine Arts
Although housed in one of Leipzig's newest architectural wonders, the Museum of Fine Arts (Museum der bildenden Künste) was in fact founded in 1837 and only settled into its new large-cubed home in 2004. One of Germany's most important national cultural institutions, the museum boasts more than 3,500 paintings from the Middle Ages to the present, including works by Dutch, German, and Italian Masters. A must see for art lovers of all levels of interest, the museum also has a well-stocked library.
St. Nicholas Church
Built in the 12th century and considerably altered in various styles in later centuries, St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche) continues to impress visitors to Leipzig. Highlights include its striking 75-meter-high tower, as well as its rich Neoclassical interior with its lovely galleries and altarpieces. This church, too, was graced with performances by Bach, and its famous organ is widely considered one of the most impressive examples of its kind in Europe. The church also played an important role as a focal point of demonstrations against communist rule in East Germany in 1989.
The dominant feature in Augustusplatz is the 34-story building occupied by Leipzig University, with its panoramic café at 110 meters. One of the world's oldest universities - and the second oldest in Germany - Leipzig University was founded in 1409, and more than 60 per cent of its buildings were destroyed in WWII. Today, the university is home to some of Leipzig's most important attractions: the Egyptian Museum, the Museum for Musical Instruments, the Museum of Antiquities, and the University Art Collection with its numerous paintings and sculptures dating back to the Middle Ages. Incorporated in the lecture theater block is the Schinkeltor from 1836 and the surviving entrance to the old university, the Augusteum. Of interest nearby is the old Moritzbastei, a bastion dating back to 1515 and the only relic of the town's old fortifications.
Leipzig Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden at the University, known locally as the Leipziger Botanische Gärten, began in 1877 as a medicinal plant garden, but can in fact trace its roots back as far as 1542. Despite devastation during WWII, this nine-acre site features more than 7,000 species of plants with examples from Eastern Europe, North America, Asia, and South America. A highlight of any visit is exploring the large greenhouses with subtropical and tropical plants from around the world. Also of interest is the Leipzig Zoological Garden, a zoo that's been around since 1878. Covering 56 acres, this fun attraction boasts 850 different species and is renowned for its unique animal shelters and breeding programs.
Immediately east of the University in Leipzig is the Gewandhaus, the magnificent home of the world-famous Gewandhaus Orchestra. Built in 1981, the three-story hall, with the amphitheater-like Grosser Saal (Schuke organ) and Kleiner Saal, is decorated with numerous paintings by modern artists and is well known for its excellent acoustics. In addition to its first-rate concert program, numerous educational and special events are hosted here.
New Town Hall
Standing majestically at the southwest corner of Leipzig's Old Town is the New Town Hall - Neues Rathaus - a monumental building in the style of the German Late Renaissance. Completed in 1905, this massive building occupies the site of the 13th-century Pleissenburg, with parts of the old castle being incorporated in the 115-meter-high central tower.
The Mendelssohn House in Leipzig is the only authentically preserved residence of the great composer, Felix Mendelssohn. Originally built in 1844, the house has undergone much restoration based on the original plans and contains many artifacts and personal objects. Further information about the composer is revealed in written documents contained in the house, along with displays and exhibits relating to specific works. A series of regular Sunday concerts are well worth attending (additional admission fees required). A statue of Mendelssohn can be seen outside St. Thomas Church.
The German Library
The impressive German Library (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek), built between 1914-16, was established with the intention of gathering German language books and publications under one roof. It also houses the German Museum of Books and Writing dedicated to German literature and letters. The building is also the repository of the German Music Archive, a collection of Germanic recordings associated with the country. Guided tours are available in English.