Leipzig Travel Guide
The former East German city of Leipzig has been transformed from a dreary, rundown remnant of Communism into one of reunified Germany’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan centers. A thriving student population keeps the nightlife, music and art scene hopping, and just outside the city lies some of Germany’s most scenic countryside.
The glass and steel high-rises are the first indication that this isn’t another of eastern Germany’s grey, lifeless cities. Leipzig has made an amazing leap into modern Europe by creating a respectable cultural arts scene which is rivaled only by Berlin in the region. Historically associated with great composers like Bach and Wagner, Leipzig continues this musical tradition with the help of its large and active student population.
Though the city was heavily bombed during WWII, a number of 16th- and 17th-century buildings survived, reminding visitors of its charming antiquity. Historic churches dot the city center and although Europe’s largest train station has been turned into a shopping mall, it’s still an impressive structure. A touch of nature can be found just outside town in the Botanical Gardens, but most visitors will find plenty to do simply wandering the surprisingly engaging streets of Leipzig.
Altes Rathaus: a good starting point to learn about Leipzig’s history is at the Museum of City History, located in the meticulously restored 16th-century Town Hall surrounded by the 12th-century Renaissance Market.
Arkaden (arcades): this historic city center is dotted with wonderful Art Nouveau arcades, such as Madler Mall and Am Markt, which offer some of the best people-watching and architectural details in Leipzig.
Bach-Museum: once the home of the Bach family, this restored house contains a large collection of Bach’s archives and memorabilia.
Johannapark: the green lungs of Leipzig are right in the heart of the city, offering a quick escape from the bustle, noise and pollution.
Museum der Bildenden Kunste: one of eastern Germany’s most extensive art and sculpture collections is housed in this strange but striking museum shaped like a glass cube.
St Thomas Church: this musically-blessed 13th-century church was the site of many performances by Mozart and Mendelssohn and Bach was even the cantor here from 1723 until his death.