Leipzig's key role in setting the rhythm for the peaceful revolution of 1989 is testament to the city's musical endowment. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Leipzig was labelled 'City of Heroes' – a title which could also be in reference to the many great musicians, kapellmeister and composers who are arguably more popular and more prominent here than anywhere else in the world.
Leipzig clearly has a special relationship with music. In fact, it's a distinctive feature of the city's heritage. Since 1254, when the St. Thomas choir, one of the world's oldest boys' choirs, was first documented, music has struck a chord with the people of Leipzig and inspired some its finest historical buildings. The Gewandhaus concert hall, for instance, is home to the Gewandhaus Orchestra (founded in 1743) and was led for many years by eminent conductor Kurt Masur, a key player in the peaceful revolution. The concert hall also houses an impressive organ, whose 6,638 pipes provide an unforgettable aural experience. Then there's the magnificent opera house, one of the oldest music theatres in Europe, famed for its repertoire from baroque to contemporary. The impact of certain former Leipzig residents is still felt today. For example, Johann Sebastian Bach, the most famous cantor of St. Thomas Church, as well as Leipzig-born composer Richard Wagner and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, who established the first German music conservatory here in 1843. Add to that list Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck, who enchanted the city both as musicians and as lovers. The people of Leipzig themselves have a long-standing love affair with one of the oldest coffee houses in Europe: Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum has been a favourite haunt of great minds and great talents since 1711. Bach, Schumann, Liszt, Grieg and Wagner have all graced it with their presence over the centuries, as have Goethe and Lessing and even Napoleon and Augustus the Strong. A sure sign that Leipzig was, and still is, an appealing city for people from all walks of life – and not just the reserve of musicians and composers.
If you pay a visit to Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum, be sure to look in on the magnificent coffee museum on the third floor. Across 15 rooms, more than 500 exhibits spanning 300 years present the history of the drink in Saxony. For those who wish to continue on the path of Leipzig's great musical heritage, the Museum of Musical Instruments is sure to hit all the right notes. It features one of the best collections of its kind anywhere in the world, offering a fascinating insight into the city's musical history.
The marching rhythms and choirs of 1989 were anything but music to the ears of the then government, as the people of Leipzig rang out the end of the GDR. What began with church services and demonstrations in and around St. Nicholas' Church in the city centre grew into a movement that brought the regime to its knees within a matter of months. One reason these events unfolded in Leipzig is surely because one of the most infamous headquarters of the much-hated Stasi was located here at the 'Haus zur runden Ecke'. The building now houses an exhibition documenting the work of Stasi operatives – not a proud chapter in the city's history, but a significant part of Germany's recent past and well worth seeing. Leipzig Zoo delves back even further in time – several hundred million years further to be precise. Its Gondwanaland attraction takes you on a tropical journey of discovery back to the age when supercontinent Gondwana dominated the southern hemisphere. Back in the present day, you can have plenty of fun exploring the city's shops and bars. A stroll around the market square and through the narrow lanes of the old town reveals a wide assortment of second-hand bookshops and book stores, as well as chic boutiques and charming little shops. But don't be surprised if you have a tune stuck in your head as you browse – you're in Leipzig after all!
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What travellers from around the world are saying
The festival near Großpösna is the most important indie-rock festival in the eastern states of Germany by now. The Beatsteaks, Placebo, Billy Talent and the Foo Fighters are regular guests such as German bands like Seeed, K.I.Z. and Casper and fire up the two stages in front of 25.000 visitors. Situated at Störmthaler See, the festival guarantees a fun weekend of sunshine, hanging by the lake and seeing some favorite bands without any feeling of the area being overcrowded. As one of the greener festivals, there is a „Green Camp“ and the „Viva Con Agua“ initiative creates ecological awareness. For fans of: The National, Donots, 30 Seconds to Mars, Arctic Monkeys, Kettcar, Interpol http://www.highfield.de/read more »
WGT Wave Gothic Festival
We met John Ommeln from Lipzi Tours in Leipzig. He organizes guided tours for groups as well as individually adapted tours. You can choose from tours by bike or walk. We walked around in the western parts of the city, in the areas Plagwitz and Lindenau. It was incredibly beautiful! John really knows everything about Leipzig. And we learned a lot. Such as the fascinating history of the city, today's music scene and food culture. Speaking of food culture, veganism have become very popular here. Exciting! Did you know that Leipzig was previously known for its fairs? The fairs meant that people from other parts of the world came to the city, which was unusually during communism time. It has affected Leipzig a lot and has led to that the people there are more open today. The city was, because of this, not as closed to the outside world. We got to see several beautiful parks during the long walk. We are very fond of all the green surroundings mixed with the beautiful and magnificent houses and graffiti. In Leipzig nature meets the urban.read more »
Nightlife Hotspots in Leipzig
Moritzbastei One of the best know party locations in the city. The Moritzbastei offers a wide variety of music at night and if you don't feel like dancing there's always the option to grab a drink and watch the crowd from one of the many cosy corners. The Moritzbastei is located right in front for the University building, just take the stairs downstairs and you're there. The building itself used to be part of the Leipzig mediaeval fortifications and was transformed into a cultural center in 1982. Address: Universitätsstrasse 9 Cafe Waldi Imagine walking into your German grandparents home to meet up with some friends over a beer and a bite to eat. The walls are decorated accordingly with deer horns, vintage nature paintings and funny looking carvings. And then the DJ shows up and turns the living room into a dance floor. Now, that's what a great party should look like. There are plenty of drinks to choose from, the food is tasty and they also offer daily events at night! Address: Peterssteinweg 10 Cafe Luise Right in the middle of the party mile of Gottschedestrasse you'll find spacious Cafe Louise. At night little remains of the cafe and the place turns into a laid back bar with great food and a good selection of drinks to choose from. If you're heading there on a Friday night you can return to the scene of crime the following morning as the Cafe offers a great breakfast on Saturdays! Address: Bosestraße 4 (on the corner to Gottschedestrasse) Vodkaria The the Vodkaria over 600 different kinds of vodka spirits are waiting for thirsty customers. A small part of which is displayed in a large fridge right in front when you enter the bar. But – before you get started on shots also make sure you check out the menu. Polnish Barschtsch, russian Pelmeni or an islandic specialities with names like “Löggaeslumyndavélunum” are not only delicious – they're also a great idea if you're planning on a long night of drinking. Nastrovje! Address: Gottschedestraße 15. Flower Power The sign pointing towards the Flower Power on Petersstrasse is so big that you'll have no way of missing it, even if your eyes are already a bit tired. Once you've entered the bar your eyes will have to adjust again to the the unusual interior. Watch out for flowers growing from the walls and ceiling and make sure you don't miss the cow that runs on a cable just above the bar. At the back of the bar there's even a dartboard. Ask for the password for free wifi! This is the kind of bar you'll want to hit late – or if you come early check out the live band. Adresse: Riemannstraße 42read more »
Food & art
Leipzig is a stunningly beautiful city and yesterday we got to see lots of it. Among other things, we went on a guided tour called eat-the-world.com in the area Suedvorstadt. We walked around the area for several hours and visited various places with food theme. Including a coffee roastery, an ice cream parlor and a restaurant. Eat-the-world.com wants every single tour to be a bit of a surprise, so therefore we do not disclose everything about the sites. But it was both good and interesting and the guide was awesome! During the tour we also got to see several beautiful and cultural places in Leipzig. Afterwards we went straight out to Spinnerei for another guided tour. Spinnerei is located just outside the city center and is a former spinning mill which is now a huge part of the art scene in Leipzig and widely known in art circles. Here you will find both exhibition halls, galleries, studios, where artists work and independent cinema. Before we went back into town we had time for a beer in their biergarden. Cosy!read more »
First night in Leipzig
We took the train towards Leipzig this evening. It went quick and smooth. We arrived approximatly after one hour. Once there, we walked to our hotel, Penta Hotel. It is an extremely stylish design hotel, far from the Scandinavian interior design we are so accustomed to. Who does not dream about a gold glittery floor in the elevator? Unfortunately the girl who checked us in, made us a bit disappointed when she was neither friendly or interested. She was a little out of place in the fantastic looking combined check-in desk and bar. Internet costs extra on the hotel, which is a shame. And you are only able to use your login on one device at a time. Tonight we had dinner at Vapiano. It is a favorite home in Stockholm. Here in Germany thought, the prices are half as much compared to Sweden. Hurray! After dinner we strolled around a few blocks in the central parts of the city. The city feels spacious, beautiful and fresh. We really looking forward to explore this place in the coming days!read more »
BurgermeisterLate Night Burger Stop
Every party night has to come to an end at some stage. If you don't want to go to bed hungry make sure you stop at the Burgermeister on Südplatz - possibly the best place for burgers in all of Leipzig.read more »
Flower Power Bar
The sign pointing towards the Flower Power on Petersstrasse is so big that you'll have no way of missing it, even if your eyes are already a bit tired. Once you've entered the bar your eyes will have to adjust again to the the unusual interior. Watch out for flowers growing from the walls and ceiling and make sure you don't miss the cow that runs on a cable just above the bar. At the back of the bar there's even a dartboard. Ask for the password for free wifi! This is the kind of bar you'll want to hit late – or if you come early check out the live band.read more »
At Vodkaria over 600 different kinds of vodka spirits are waiting for thirsty customers. A small part of which is displayed in a large fridge right in front when you enter the bar. But – before you get started on shots also make sure you check out the menu. Polnish Barschtsch, russian Pelmeni or an islandic specialities with names like “Löggaeslumyndavélunum” are not only delicious – they're also a great idea if you're planning on a long night of drinking. Nastrovje!read more »