Leipzig overview

Leipzig overview
The Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

The Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

Birthplace of the German FA, Leipzig is one the largest cities in the eastern part of Germany, although its population has fallen from around 750,000 in 1939 to around 500,000 today.

Leipzig claims to be the oldest trade fair city in the world, while the university, founded in 1409, is one of the oldest in Germany.

The Nikolaikirche

The Nikolaikirche

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Monday demonstrations
Part of the Soviet sector post-war, Leipzig was one of the major cities of East Germany from 1949 to 1990.

In 1989, Monday morning peace prayers at the Nikolaikirche (St Nicholas’s Church) evolved into peaceful demonstrations around Leipzig’s ring road and acted as the catalyst for the ultimate downfall of the East German regime and the reunification of Germany.

Today, Leipzig is known as a trade fair, media and university city.  In 2003, Leipzig became Germany’s candidate city for the 2012 Olympic Games, but fell at the first hurdle, as the IOC drew up their short list.

The Battle of the Nations Memorial

The Battle of the Nations Memorial


Heavy defeat for France

In 1813, Napoleon and his army suffered their most decisive defeat in the Napoleonic Wars to the combined forces of the allied nations, including those of Prussia, Austria, Russia and Sweden.  It is estimated that around 500,000 troops took part in the battle around Leipzig, and that 1 in 5 met their death.  The enormous monument (pictured) to commemorate the ‘Battle of Nations’ was finally finished 100 years later in 1913.

Bach's statue outside the Thomaskirche

Bach's statue outside the Thomaskirche


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Goethe, Bach, Nietzsche & Co.

Leipzig boasts many famous former residents.  The composer Johann Sebastian Bach worked in the city from 1723 to 1750 as choir master at St Thomas’s Church.  Felix Mendelssohn also lived in Leipzig and did much to bring Bach’s music to the attention of the public.  His path crossed with that of Germany’s greatest poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who studied here from 1765 to ’68, while Goethe’s fellow poetic giant, Friedrich Schiller, also spent time in the city.  Composer Richard Wagner and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche are both also former Leipzig students.
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See also Expedia.co.uk for Leipzig hotels, flights and rental cars.

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External links

Leipzig.de official site (English)


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