Cities & Culture

Leipzig: the City of Heroes with an appreciation of music

Leipzig: Federal Court House, New Town Hall in the evening ©DZT (Roetting+Pollex)

Leipzig's key role in setting the rhythm for the peaceful revolution of 1989 is testament to the city's musical endowment. The most likely reason for Leipzig being named City of Heroes is the many great musicians, kapellmeister and composers who are arguably more popular and more prominent here than anywhere else in the world.

Leipzig comes across as if music was already running through the veins of the people and the walls of revered buildings way back in the 11th century. The city is home to the St. Thomas Choir, one of the world's oldest boys' choirs. But the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Leipzig Opera, one of Europe's oldest opera venues, have also set the bar high as landmarks. Also second to none are the city's famous virtuosos: Johann Sebastian Bach, the famous cantor of the St. Thomas Choir, as well as Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Robert Schumann and Leipzig-born composer Richard Wagner.

What began with church services and demonstrations in and around St. Nicholas Church in the city centre grew into a movement that, in 1989, brought the GDR 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. A must-see exhibition now documents the work of official state security service operatives during the GDR. Back in the present day, you can have plenty of fun exploring the city's shops and bars along the picturesque alleyways of the Old Town around the market square. But don't be surprised if you have a tune stuck in your head as you browse or drink – you're in Leipzig after all!

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