Discover Leipzig
The majestic city of Germany

Leipzig is the pearl of Saxony, which is also known as a city of fairs, festivals, and beautiful architecture

Districts of Leipzig

In addition to Leipzig's central area, where historical monuments are concentrated, the Messestadt, the "city of fairs," is worth special mention. This unofficial name explains its purpose: fairs, famous since the Middle Ages, take place here. Industrial areas and suburbs, annexed in the XX-XXI centuries, are located on the city's outskirts.

It is not safe for tourists to go to Neustadt-Neuschönefeld and its main street Eisenbahnstraße. Gunfights, drug dealing, unemployment, poverty, and police sirens are commonplace here. Most of the inhabitants of this part of the city are migrants and refugees from Arab countries.

Population

The population of Leipzig in the Middle Ages was small and grew slowly because of wars, epidemics, and famine.

Rapid growth began during the industrialization of the XIX century. Reaching its peak at the beginning of the XX century, the number of residents in the city began to decrease, which was a cause of concern to the city authorities. At the beginning of the XXI century, a solution was found to improve the situation by incorporating urban districts. The population began to grow as early as the mid-2000s, and by 2011, the number of permanent residents in the city had risen to 510,000, and by the end of 2018 — to 596,500.

As of the beginning of 2018, 13.5% of the city's residents were foreigners. These were mainly from the Russian Federation, Syria, Poland, and Ukraine. Of all the cities in East Germany, Leipzig has the highest level of migrants.

The majority of the city's inhabitants (85%) do not identify themselves with any religion.

Brief history

Leipzig arose on the site of an ancient Slavic settlement called Lipsk, which stands for "the place by the linden trees." In the X century, the Franks conquered this area, and a small fortification was erected here. In 1165, the settlement received the rights of the city, and at the same time, the Church of St. Nicholas and the Monastery of St. Thomas were built. In 1409, the University of Leipzig was founded.

During the Middle Ages, Leipzig was at the crossroads of trade routes, and many fairs took place in the city. In 1497, the trade fair in Leipzig received the status of an imperial fair, which led to the city's economic growth.

The Thirty Years' War was a heavy hit on Leipzig. Between 1631 and 1642, the city was sieged five times, and the population decreased by a third during this time.

During the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), the city was occupied by Prussian troops, and as a result, the city's fortifications were demolished, and trees were planted in their place.

In October 1813, the fiercest battle in the succession of Napoleonic wars (Battle of the Nations) took place in which Leipzig was involved. A monument is dedicated to this tragedy, which is a famous landmark of modern Leipzig and the most massive monument in Europe.

In 1839, the railroad connecting Leipzig with Dresden was built. This made the city the transportation center of central Germany.

During World War II, concentration camps were located on the outskirts of Leipzig. The city was bombed by the Allies but did not suffer much.

After World War II (since 1949), Leipzig was part of the GDR.

In 1989, the Monday demonstrations in Leipzig played an important role in the unification of Germany and were called the Peaceful Revolution.

In 1990, the Berlin Wall fell, and Leipzig became part of the FRG.

The best time to visit Leipzig

Leipzig has a continental climate, making the city comfortable for living and visiting tourists. The best time to travel to Leipzig is from May to September. Summers are mild, with air temperatures averaging +25°C, while in May and September, the average temperature is +18°C to +20°C. Winter in Leipzig is cool but without severe frosts, about +2°C - +3°C.

The reason to time your trip to Leipzig on certain dates is quite significant. From late November to December 24, Leipzig, like other cities in Germany, hosts the Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas market, a very colorful and festive event.

Leipzig's main cultural event, the Wave-Gotik-Treffen Festival, is supported by the city government and attracts subculture fans worldwide. It takes place in the city and is accompanied by concerts, costume parades, a trade fair, and other events connected with the culture of the goths.

In the first two weeks of June, Leipzig hosts the Bachfest Leipzig classical music festival, where works by the great composer are performed. The main venue is St. Thomas Church (German: Thomaskirche). This is where Johann Sebastian Bach composed his most monumental works, served as cantor and teacher at the church school; he also taught singing and gave concerts. It was also here that he found his final resting place.

The Highfield Rock Festival marks mid-August in Leipzig. It features musical styles of punk, indie, and rock. The event takes place on the banks of the Störmhaler See and is very popular in Germany.

The beginning of September in Leipzig is dedicated to the International Mendelssohn Festival, in which well-known performers of classical music take part. The festival features chamber music and workshops for learning to play musical instruments. The event takes place in the city concert hall Gewandhaus, whose Kapellmeister was F. Mendelssohn.

The Leipziger Jazztage Festival brightens up the first days of October. The city is filled with famous performers of jazz and blues and representatives of related genres: soul, rock, and funk. The festival does not have a stationary location and is held in various cultural institutions.

Useful notes

Things to do in Leipzig

  • Visit the interactive Bach Museum, located in the house where he lived. The composer gave Leipzig the last years of his life, where he worked and created. You can learn about his family's history, see original manuscripts, musical instruments, books, sheet music, and other items related to the era in which Bach lived.
  • See animals in their natural habitat at the Leipzig City Zoo. Its guests can observe the animals while strolling through the territory on their own or from special carriages that transport visitors from one site to another.
  • Get the thrill of visiting the recreational park Belantis, located 10 kilometers from Leipzig. There are more than 60 dizzying rides. It is the largest park of its kind in Eastern Germany.
  • Visit one of the most famous restaurants in the world, Auerbachs Keller. This is where Faust and Mephistopheles from Goethe's Faust met. A sculpture depicting the main characters of the philosophical drama meets guests at the entrance to the restaurant. The historical interior, dishes of Saxon cuisine, and the restaurant's special atmosphere will guarantee you a pleasant evening.
  • Visit the F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy House Museum, where the composer spent the last years of his life. The setting and atmosphere in which he lived have been preserved, and his personal belongings are represented here. In the museum's effectorium, you can try yourself as a conductor — try to lead the sound of a virtual orchestra.
  • See the Gohlis Palace, constructed at the end of the XVIII century, which quickly became the center of Leipzig's cultural life. You can visit it on a guided tour. It often hosts concerts and theatrical performances, and there is a restaurant in one of the parts of the building.
  • Enjoy the view of the city from the observation deck on the roof of the Panorama Tower, the highest building in the city. There is a restaurant on the 29th floor, and if you drop 3€ into the turnstile here, you can get to the roof to enjoy incredible views of the city and its surroundings.
  • See the Porsche and BMW factories with your own eyes and visit them with a guided tour. Tour the engine plant and cab assembly lines, paint shop, and interior equipment.
  • Take a water tour of Leipzig, called Little Venice, because of the large number of artificial lakes and canals. You can choose a canoe, kayak, or inflatable boat for the ride.
  • Walk through the historic city center see the Gothic Church of St. Thomas, the Old and New City Halls, the Old Exchange Office, and other architectural monuments.

Map Leipzig

Hotels in Leipzig

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