Leipzig, Germany: A model of European style


Leipzig is the largest city of Saxony in Germany. Leipzig is known for its university and fairs, which even earned it the unofficial name of Messestadt (city of fairs) .

Save on a trip to Leipzig!


In 1015 the first mention of the village of Leipzig appears, which arose on the site of the former Slavic settlement Lipsk (“Under the Linden”) . After 150 years, the Margrave Otto von Meissen granted him the rights of a town. Here, according to the charter of privileges of 1268, merchants were guaranteed protection and encouragement. Leipzig was already allowed to hold fairs, which in 1497 Kaiser Maximilian raised to the rank of the Empire, and ten years later gave the city the monopoly to store goods in a radius of 120 km.

Its geographical location at the crossroads of busy trade routes and its proximity to the Ore Mountains, where metal mining was developing, contributed to the rapid economic development of Leipzig. By the 18th century it had become a major center for trade fairs and an intermediary in the fur trade.

Since the late Middle Ages publishing and the book trade had been on the rise here. By 1500 Leipzig had the largest number of printers in Germany. Leipzig’s book fair in March of every year is the second largest and most important fair in Germany after Frankfurt’s.

By the end of the 19th century Leipzig was no longer selling goods at trade fairs, but only exhibiting samples for trade deals to be struck.

In 1996 a new exhibition and fairgrounds was built on the site of the former airport on the northern outskirts of the city. It is centered by a unique glass and steel pavilion almost 30 meters high. Five other pavilions occupied the area of 100 thousand square meters.

In 1409 in Leipzig was founded University, whose students were the humanist W. von Gutten, a peasant leader T. Münzer, writers and poets of the Age of Enlightenment G. E. Lessing (1729-1781), F. G. Klopshtok (1724-1803), A. N. Radishchev (1749-1802), the philosopher F. Nietzsche (1844-1900).

In 1765-1768, J. J. Goethe studied at the University of Leipzig. W. Goethe, who called the city “Little Paris” for the vitality of its inhabitants.

In 1723 J. S. Bach moved to Leipzig. He directed the choir of boys (Thomanerchor), which still exists today. R. Wagner was born here. In 1843 the first conservatory in Germany was founded in Leipzig. Leipzig was made famous by composers and conductors R. Schumann, F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and R. Wagner.

Leipzig now

Leipzig’s main train station is one of the largest in Europe (26 platforms, 1902-1915, reconstructed in 1998) . Its building houses a three-story arcade with more than 150 stores, cafes and restaurants.

Station is located in a wide boulevard ring, located on the site of medieval fortifications. Inside the ring is the Old City.

On the eastern edge of the Old City is the large Augustusplatz with the new Opera House. There is also the main building of the university (143 m high, 34 floors, 1969) on which you can see not only the entire city, but also its surroundings for a small fee.

The sunken churches of the world

The new Gewandhaus (Neues Gewandhaus, 1981), built on the site of a house that once belonged to the clothiers’ guild and was destroyed in 1944, adjoins Augustus Square to the south. It is also named after the world famous orchestra, which began its concert activities more than 200 years ago. The unique Gewandhaus organ has 6,638 pipes.

Nearby is the church of St. Nicholas (Nikolaikirche, XIV-XVIII centuries), which combines several architectural styles. During the GDR period, in the fall of 1989, prayers for peace were held in the church and peaceful demonstrations for the unification of Germany were held around it. Such civic action eventually led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

On the spacious Market Square (almost 10,000 m²) rises the mighty City Hall with its asymmetrical tower above the main portal. Its construction was planned by Mayor of Leipzig Hieronymus Lotter and began in 1556. It is the oldest Renaissance town hall in Germany. After being destroyed during World War II it was rebuilt in 1950. The Historisches Museum (Stadtgeschichtliche Museum; Tue – Sat 10.00 – 18.00) is located there.

The old market place (Alte Borse, baroque, 1678-1687) was the meeting place of the merchants of Leipzig. The building burned down completely during the Second World War and was rebuilt in 1963.

A monument to Goethe (1903), showing the poet as a student, stands in front of the outdoor staircase of the Old Stock Exchange. On the pedestal on both sides are two pretty girls’ faces. Connoisseurs say the young poet was in love with both girls at the same time.

The Auerbachs Keller wine cellar was discovered in 1530 by G. Tromer, a medical professor from the Franconian town of Auerbach. In 1912 it was built on the site of the Madlerpassage shopping mall. One of the scenes from Goethe’s Faust takes place in the cellar in Auerbach, which is commemorated at the entrance by Faust, Mephistopheles and the drunken revelers bewitched by him. Paintings and sculptures of Faust legends adorn the basement of the restaurant.

On the corner of Market Square and Heinstrasse is the former “Royal House” (Konigshaus, 1610), which was partially rebuilt in 1706 and 1707. Several illustrious persons have stayed here in the past, among them Peter the Great on his way to Holland in 1698.

On the Market Square there is an old market courtyard (Barthels Hof), the last of those built in the 18th century for the fair. In these buildings merchants arranged their apartments, offices, trading halls and warehouses. The building existed already in 1523, and in 1743 was rebuilt.

Nearby is the former city customs office of Old Scales (Alte Waage) . It was built in Renaissance style by Hieronymus Lotter in 1555 and partially reconstructed in 1964-1965.

One of the most attractive 18th century streets of Leipzig leads north from the Market Square – Katharinenstrasse . Of the splendid burgher houses preserved in the reconstructed Sachsenplatz, the house of burgomaster Franz Konrad Romanius (Romaniushaus) attracts particular attention.

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The church of Thomas (Thomaskirche, architect J. Lotter, Renaissance), also called the church of St. Thomas, was built on the site of a previous church founded in the 13th century. Johann Sebastian Bach was cantor in this church and teacher in its school (Thomasschule) from 1723 until the last days of his life. His death in 1750 was ignored by the public. It was not until 1894 that it was discovered that Bach’s ashes were buried in the church of Johannis. It was destroyed during World War II. In 1950, 200 years after Bach’s death, his remains were moved to the chancel of Thomas Church. In front of the church is a monument to the composer (1908) .

Opposite the church is the Bosehaus, which contains the composer’s archive and the Bach Museum (Bach-Museum; Fri-Sun 10:00-18:00) .

It’s not far to the New Town Hall on Burg-platz. There used to be Pleissenburg Castle (16th century, architect J. Lotter). The tower survives and is now a part of the new late German Renaissance complex with Baroque elements. The old vaulted cellar houses one of the most famous restaurants “Ratskeller”.

In front of the town hall there is a monument to the former Lord Mayor of Leipzig, Karl Herdeler. In 1937, against his will, the Nazis destroyed a monument to the Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

In protest, he refused to be re-elected to his post. Karl Herdeler is an active participant in the July 20, 1944 conspiracy against Hitler.

It is interesting to visit the oldest coffee house in Europe (1694) Gasthaus “Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum” (To the Arabian Coffee Tree) . There you can not only enjoy your favourite drink, but also enjoy the interesting exhibition (Fleischergasse 4, daily 11.00-19.00) free of charge.


Grassi Museum

These are three large and interesting museums. The collection of the Ethnographic Museum (Museum fur Volkerkunde) has 150,000 items. Museum of musical instruments (Musikinstrumenten Museum) has a rich collection of instruments from the Middle Ages to the present day. The Museum of Applied Arts (Museum fur Angewandte Kunst) exhibits ceramics, porcelain, glass, pewter, artistic forging, textiles and period costumes.

Johannisplatz 5-11. Open: Tue-Sun 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Monument to the Battle of the Nations (Volkerschlachtdenkmal)

This 91 m high monument was opened to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig on October 16-18, 1813. Over 500,000 men from both sides took part in the battle. Napoleon’s army lost about 80,000 men. The Allies lost: 22 thousand Russian, 16 thousand Prussian, 14 thousand Austrian and 300 Swedish soldiers. In addition to weapons, uniforms and historical documents in the museum near the monument is a diorama of 25 m² with 8,000 pewter figures.

The middle observation platform is 52 m high and can be reached by elevator.

Prager Strasse Open: April to October 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., November to March 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Leipzig surroundings

Wartburg Fortress (Fest Wartburg)

The pride of Thuringia is the Wartburg fortress (Wartburg, 1067; daily April – October 8.30-20.00, November – March 9.00-17.00) It is located 2 km south-west of the town of Eisenach. It was built by the Thuringian Landgrave Ludwig. Over time the fortress has lost its defensive value and became a cultural center of the princely court. The libretto of R. Wagner’s opera “Tannhäuser” was written on the basis of sagas, folded in this region in XIII century. One of the main scenes of the plot is the “Competition of the Minnesinger Singers” in Wartburg.

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The oldest part of the building is the Romanesque palace, which has a magnificent Knights’ (Celebration) hall, dining room and women’s chambers with a fireplace (“Kamenate”) . In these halls under Landgrave Hermann I at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century German troubadours – minnesingers gathered. Among them were Wolfram von Eschenbach (1170-1220), who has been compared with Dante in terms of his poetic talent, and Walter von der Vogelweide (1160/1170-1230), considered by many specialists to be the first German national poet and singer. The west passage along the inner side of the castle wall (“Elisabethgang”) leads to Martin Luther’s cell, which has been preserved almost unchanged.

Here the church reformer hid from persecution between 1521 and 1522 under the name of Knight George. Martin Luther completed his translation of the New Testament from Greek into German in the castle.

Wartburg Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thuringen Forest National Park (Thuringer Wald)

On the northwest side of the Thuringian Forest lies the Great Insel (Grosser Inselsberg, 916 m), where the famous Rennsteig hiking trail runs. Since the 19th century, Friedrichroda has been renowned as a holiday and health resort. Nearby is the crystal gypsum cave “Maria’s Glass” (Marienglashohle) .


Leipzig (Germany) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Leipzig with descriptions, guides and maps.

City of Leipzig (Germany).

Leipzig is a city in central Germany, located in the west of Saxony. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and the largest in the region. Leipzig is a city with a rich history, founded more than 1,000 years ago at the crossroads of trade routes and has always played an important role in Saxony. Today it is an important economic and cultural center in Germany.

Leipzig is one of the most unique cities in the country, a cosmopolitan city open to creativity and new ideas. Tradition meets modernity, classical culture meets avant-garde and history meets high technology. The largest Saxon city in its history has gained many epithets: the city of music, justice, little Paris. Visit Leipzig and see for yourself.

Leipzig's skyline

The panorama of Leipzig

Leipzig is located at the confluence of three rivers 160 km from Berlin in the southern part of the German plain. The area is covered by forests and swamps. The climate is temperate with some maritime influence. Summers are warm with an average temperature of 17-20 degrees Celsius. Winter is fairly mild with temperatures around 0. During the year the rainfall is a little over 500 mm.

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Things to do (Leipzig):

Your first sightseeing tour of Leipzig

€125 per excursion

Your first time in Leipzig

Be enchanted by the faces of the city, enjoy a shower of music and taste the Leipzig skylark.

Leipzig's music box

€175 for the tour

Leipzig’s Music Box

Follow in the footsteps of great composers and discover the rich musical culture of the city.

Tourist information

  1. Its population is nearly 570,000.
  2. Area – 298 km 2 .
  3. The language is German.
  4. Currency is euro.
  5. Visa – Schengen visa.
  6. Time – Central European UTC +1, in winter +2.
  7. In the historic center there are many stores. Souvenirs can be bought near the Old Town Hall.
  8. Christmas market opens in the last week of November and lasts almost until Christmas.
  9. Major shopping centers within the city are Paunsdorfer and next door to the main train station. One of the largest shopping malls in Germany is Nova Eventis to the west of Leipzig.
  10. Traditional food: Lerchen – sweet pastry with marzipan, Quarkkeulchen – dessert, Leipziger Allerlei – vegetable dish, Reformationsbrötchen – cookies.


A settlement in the vicinity of Leipzig has existed since Roman times. The city emerged at the crossroads of two important medieval trade routes. The name of the city comes from the Slavic word “lipsk”, which can be translated as “the place where lindens grow”.

Christmas market

Christmas market

The first written mention of Leipzig dates back to 1015. In 1165, city rights were obtained. In the Middle Ages, a fair started to be held here, which has survived to this day and is one of the oldest in the world.

Leipzig in winter

Winter Leipzig

In 1409, the University of Leipzig was founded, which played a major role in the development of European education and became the center of German law. During the Thirty Years’ War, two battles took place in the vicinity of the city, which were won by the Swedes. In 1701, Leipzig received an oil-fired street lighting system. During the Napoleonic Wars, a major battle took place here between France and the coalition – Prussia, the Russian Empire, Austria, and Sweden. This battle was the largest in Europe before World War I.

City panorama

Dawn over Leipzig

In the 19th century, Leipzig became the center of the German liberal movements and a major industrial and transportation center. In 1839, the first railroad linking the city with Dresden was built.

During World War II Leipzig was badly damaged by Allied bombing, but has nevertheless largely retained its original historical appearance.

How to get there

Leipzig is one of the largest transport centers in Germany. The city is easily accessible by air, train, car or bus. It has access to the A14, A9 and A38 motorways. Intercity bus routes connect it to many major German cities. Buses stop between the main railway station and the opera house. Leipzig is one of the largest rail centers in Germany and one of the important hubs for rapid transit. High-speed trains connect the city with Munich, Berlin, Nuremberg and Frankfurt. Leipzig has a large airport. Buses and streetcars run from the airport to the city center. Berlin airport is two hours away by train.

Cologne Cathedral - the greatest cathedral in Germany

Small canal in Leipzig

A small canal in Leipzig

The main public transport is the streetcar. Buses are also available. A ticket for a single trip costs 2.40 euros and is valid for 1 hour from the time of activation. Tickets can be bought inside the streetcar, at stops, in some kiosks. Many ticket machines accept only coins.


Most of Leipzig’s main sights are concentrated in the compact historic center.

Old City Hall

Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall is one of the largest in Germany. It was built in 1556 in the Renaissance style. The building is located on a beautiful market square and is an excellent starting point for exploring the old city. The town hall is 90 meters long and has arcades, six gables and a baroque tower. Nowadays the city museum is located here, in which interesting samples of medieval art and history of Leipzig are exhibited.

New City Hall

New City Hall

The New City Hall is a beautiful building from the early 20th century with a 115-meter high tower.

St. Thomas Church

St. Thomas Church

St. Thomas Church is one of the oldest and most important churches in Leipzig, founded in the 12th century. The old Romanesque church was rebuilt in the Gothic-Renaissance style in the 14th and 15th centuries. The tower is 68 meters high. From 1723 to 1750 the famous composer Johann Bach worked in the church. Here he is also buried.

St. Nicholas Church

Church of St. Nicholas

The Church of St. Nicholas is the largest church in Leipzig, founded in the second half of the 12th century. It was built after receiving city rights.

Among the sacral buildings of the city, the Russian Memorial Church of St. Alexis, built in honor of the Russian soldiers who died during the Napoleonic wars, also stands out.

  • The Mendelssohn House is the home of the famous composer who composed the wedding march.
  • Schiller House – the former home of one of Germany’s major poets.
  • Schumann House – Composers Clara and Robert Schumann lived here.

Monument of the Battle of Nations

Monument of the Battle of Nations

The Battle of Nations Monument is a national monument built in 1913 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the famous battle between Napoleon’s forces and the Coalition.

What else to see in Leipzig :

  • Modern and early high-rise buildings on Augustusplatz, Wintergartenstraße and Nordstraße.
  • Golieser Castle is a beautiful summer palace.
  • Bavaria Station is one of the oldest railway stations in the world.
  • The court building is the former imperial palace. A monumental French Renaissance and Baroque building.
  • Moritz Bastion – a former mid-16th century fortress near the University. The only surviving part of the old city fortifications.
  • The Zoo is one of the oldest in the world with an area of more than 23 hectares.

Interesting tours

Nuremberg through the ages

€95 per excursion

Nuremberg through the ages

Hear the history of the most interesting places in the Old Town and get valuable advice from locals.

On Both Sides of the Barricades: A Walk Around Berlin

€110 per excursion

On both sides of the barricades: a walking tour of Berlin

Be absorbed in the history of the capital and see its key sights for 3 hours

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