The largest city in the federal state of Saxony and crossed by the Pleisse, White Elster and Parthe rivers, Leipzig is a sorely underrated location in Germany for a city break.

Although mention of Leipzig was first recorded in 1015, it was only in 1165 that the settlement received city and market rights. From this point onwards the city flourished as a centre of trade and commerce. Leipzig’s cultural reputation also rapidly grew with the building of the University in 1409, educating such great figures as Goethe, Nietzsche and Wagner. The city’s economic clout was further bolstered by the expansion of the railroad network in the early 19th century, becoming one of Europe’s most important municipalities. However, Leipzig suffered much later during World War II courtesy of Allied bombing and thereafter under the Soviet thrall. Indeed, Leipzig would be the site of major riots in 1989 which contributed to the reunification of Germany.

Now at the heart of Eastern Germany, Leipzig is one of the regional highlights for tourists, with fantastic sights, great shopping and good food.


Perhaps the most famous edifice in Leipzig is St. Thomas’ Church. While the current Gothic-style building dates back to 1496, a church has existed on the site since the 12th century. The Thomaskirche is an area of serious historical importance, being the spot where Luther preached in Leipzig in 1539 and where the great Baroque composer J.S. Bach worked as a cantor (indeed, his remains are contained within the Thomaskirche). Connected to the Church is an 18th century tower, a reconstruction of the 16th century original.

Rather different in tone is the Monument of the Battle of Nations (the Völkerschlachtdenkmal), commemorating the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 between Napoleon’s forces and Russia, Austria, Prussia and Sweden. Completed in 1913 in solid concrete, the Monument is a startling example of Wilhelmine architecture and, at 91 metres tall, provides fantastic views of the city. The Monument’s heavy nationalistic overtones appealed to Hitler, who used it for speeches when in the city. The Monument is currently under reconstruction, and expected to be completed in 2013 in time for the anniversary.

Constructed between 1894 and 1901 to celebrate Leipzig’s trade and culture, the Städisches Kaufhaus is another point of interest, containing restaurants, statues and the rather unique ‘Strasse der Stars’ hand-imprint exhibition.

Also impressive, and rather daunting, is the Renaissance-style Old Town Hall. Built in 1556 and adjoined to an 18th century tower with a Baroque spire, the Town Hall contains both religious works of art in the Banquetting Hall and the Historical Museum, testifying to Leipzig’s long heritage.

Other museums and galleries in Leipzig include the Museum of Fine Arts in Katharinenstrasse, founded in 1837 with some 2,700 paintings, the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Karl-Tauchnitz-Strasse, the Bach Museum and the Natural History Museum in Lortzingstrasse.

One popular family attraction is the Leipzig Zoo in Pfaffendorfer Strasse, one of the largest in Germany.

Leipzig is home to numerous festivals and events, the most important being the Leipzig Trade Fair. Stretching as far back as 1165, the Fair is still a major event, including a Games Convention, shops and a levitated glass hall. There are many other annual celebrations in the city such as the J.S. Bach Festival.


Leipzig is one of Germany’s shopping capitals, with shopping arcades like Specks Hof, Barthels Hof and Strohsack-Passage. For luxury shops and high-street fashion, check out the Mädler Passage and the Hauptbanhof-Promenaden shopping centre.

An antiques market takes place on Saturdays at the Central Station. More famously, if you happen to visit during December, a Christmas Market can be found in the Old Market Square.

Nightlife and Eating Out

The regional Saxon cuisine can be found both at restaurants and the many pubs in Leipzig, such as the Auerbachs Keller in Mädler Passage and Antikhaus in Grosse Fleischergasse. However, you’ll never be far away from somewhere to eat, and there are international alternatives like French and Italian establishments around the city centre.

Pubs are everywhere in Leipzig and specialise in the local Leipzig Gose beer. The main area is the Drallewatsch district. For bars, look around the Market Square and Karl-Liebneckt-Strasse. Leipzig also has a long-standing coffee shop culture, so finding something to drink is no problem in the city. There are plenty of clubs around as well, such as Moritzbastei in Universitätstrasse.

Alternatively, check out the concerts and shows at the Oper Leipzig (which specialises in Wagner) and the Krystallpalast variety theatre (situated in Magazingasse) respectively.

Tourist Information

  • Leipzig Tourist Service, 1 Richard-Wagner-Strasse, D-04109, Leipzig
  • Tel: +49 0341 7104 265
  • E-mail: info@lts-leipzig.de
  • Website: www.leipzig.de


Leipzig is served by Leipzig/Halle Airport, close to the city itself. Trains and buses can be used to reach the city centre.

Being one of the biggest airports in Germany, international and domestic connecting flights are regularly available.

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