5 Highlights of A Leipzig Getaway
In terms of tourism, Germany is much more than just Berlin, Munich and Hamburg. In recent years, some cities from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) are gaining prominence like any other, having shaken off the dust and deadweight of the Socialist regime they lived under during the Cold War. One of these newly emerging cities is Leipzig, its waxing popularity driven by the art scene, its recent history and the great vitality of its inhabitants. In the following we pinpoint the reasons that make Leipzig the ideal destination for your next getaway.
Leipzig – A Music Destination
Listen up, classical music lovers! Music is very much in vogue in Leipzig, and I mean goodmusic, largely owing to the city’s past. It is famous for composers of the calibre of Johann Sebastian Bach, who was cantor of the Choir at St Thomas Church, one of the oldest in the world. And of Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck, who entertained their contemporaries as musicians and as a couple. For Felix Mendelssohn, Leipzig was where he spent the last few years of his life, while the city is the birthplace of Richard Wagner. The Augustusplatz is the city’s music hub and the site of the Gewandhaus concert hall, a Brutalist-style building which houses one of the most widely acclaimed symphonic orchestras. Right opposite stands the Opera, the third oldest in Europe. Oddly enough, the two institutions share the same conductor.
Leipzig – A Defiant City
The chain of events that led to the downfall of the GDR unfolded precisely in Leipzig. Throughout 1989, a number of masses and peaceful protests were held around the Church of St Nicholas that gradually wore down the old, established regime and led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Stasi, the feared secret police of East Germany, witnessed these events in silence, as, faced with growing grass-roots pressure, they declined to intervene. Leipzig boasted numerous printing presses in the second half of the 20th century and, in order to monitor their activity, the Stasi had their headquarters set up in the so-called Haus zur runden Ecke (House of the Rounded Corner). Today it is a museum showcasing the workings of the former State security, which so hobbled the lives of the GDR’s citizens.
Leipzig – A Trade Centre & River Port
Leipzig has long been a major trade centre and, to provide merchants conducting their business with shelter from the inclement weather – rainy and overcast most of the year – around twenty covered arcades were built. Two of the best known arcades are Speck’s Hof – the oldest in Leipzig, which currently showcases some magnificent paintings and ceramic medallions, and the Mädler arcade with its stylish glass skylight and the historic Auerbachs Keller restaurant, where Goethe overheard the stories that inspired Faust when he was studying in Leipzig. As a tribute to the celebrated writer, there are two statues dedicated to the main characters in this paramount work of universal literature.
Leipzig’s commercial calling is partly due to the White Elster river, a sub-tributary of the Elbe, which numerous canals criss-crossing the city flow into. They also provide a different way of discovering it – from a small boat.
Leipzig – An Artistic Melting Pot
The Saxon city is currently one of the favourite destinations among painters, designers and creators from the world over on account of the lively art scene that has blossomed in the Spinnerei, once Europe’s largest spinning mill. Today it is an unusual, colossal cultural centre where contemporary art is produced and exhibited. It features twelve art galleries, a hundred art studios and over a hundred cubicles rented out to creators who flock to Leipzig to soak up the latest trends and share their know-how with other colleagues. Here, they feel very much at home.
Leipzig – A Grand City
Leipzig is a distinguished city with character and some striking monuments and other buildings. Prominent in the Augustusplatz is the Paulinum, one of the Leipzig University buildings, featuring a facade emulating the Paulinerkirche, the former university church which was senselessly dynamited in 1968 during the times of the GDR regime. Another building which stands out, at least for its height, is the City-Hochhaus, known as the “wisdom tooth” on account of its design. The top floor of this landmark houses the Panorama Tower restaurant and viewing platform. Their lunch menu is very reasonable and the eatery is worth visiting, if only for the splendid views.
The city also features a colossal monument which, apart from being oversized, also has an unpronounceable name – the Völkerschlachtdenkmal– which was built to commemorate the Battle of the Nations in 1813, specifically the defeat of Napoleon at Leipzig by a coalition of nations, namely Prussia, Russia, Sweden and Austria.
Come and discover this German city – check out your Vueling here.
Text by Tus Destinos
Images by Robin Kunz, Michael Bader, Peter Hirth, LTM-Tom Schulze, Nils Petersen
Festival of Lights in Leipzig
Leipzig is known as the capital of German music, classic music artists such as Strauss, Wagner or Bach were closely attached to the city. Nevertheless, is also known for being part of an important moment in history, playing a key role on the fall of the Berlin wall, reason why the city is considered as the birthplace for the Peaceful Revolution.
On October 9th 1989, 70.000 Leipzig citizens demonstrate carrying candles around the Leipziger Ring calling for freedom to the Federal Republic of Germany. Despite several threats by the police to open fire, the demonstrations were peaceful and became an important milestone on the way to the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification.
From that date, every October 9th the Festival of Lights is celebrated to remember that important date, taking history to reality by using audio, video and light. On 2014, the 25th anniversary for the Pacific Revolution is celebrated and, as every year, the Festival of Lights in Leipzig sets the start for a long weekend were many cultural organizations dedicate events, exhibitions and concerts to remember the events on 1989. On 2009, for the 20th anniversary, almost 150.000 people joined a great parade around the city centre and Leipzig became a sea of lights. For 2014, numerous activities are expected around the festival.
Furthermore, on October 9-13th, 2014, Leipzig will celebrate a long week of cultural events and, throughout the year, visitors can follow the steps of these historical events and visit places such as the museum and the bunker in Stasi or the exhibition “Freiheit! Einheit! Denkmal!” (Freedom, unity, monument) – from September 24th, 2014 to January 4th, 2015 – in the Leipzig City Museum, where the historical memory remains to debate the future monument to freedom and unity.
Under the slogan “Fall 89 – Democracy arrival” Leipzig will transform the streets one more year in a light show and cultural celebration that you shouldn’t miss if you’re planning to visit the city.
Image from Philipp
Perfect plan to go with friends! Check our flights and sign up!more info
“Hypezig”, or How Leipzig was Overrun by Hipsters
When it comes to Germany’s underground, everyone thinks of grand Berlin with its hipsters strolling through Kreuzberg, especially when it was alternative and arty – now Neukölln has taken over – its endless art galleries, flohmarkts and variegated events staged on any derelict or decadent-looking site.
However, it might occur to a few of you that Hypezig – from “hype” and “Leipzig” – has become Berlin’s major rival in the last ten years. The city is ideal for soaking up street art or homing in on radically alternative galleries, far removed from the bustle of the capital and beyond the tourist trail. A city where throngs of students, artists and musicians have been mingling for a long time.
Mom, I Want to be an Artist in Hypezig!
This former cotton mill – once the largest in Europe – is a paradise for any art lover. Nearly a hundred artists and many galleries coexist in this emblematic spot. And, if you happen to stop by, you should not miss the ASPN Galerie, headed by Arne Linde, as this was a beacon of Leipzig’s art scene when it first got off the ground. Also a must is the Galerie Kleindienst, the city’s “New Leipzig School” of artists involved with all kinds of media and materials. At the Spinnerei you will also come across small establishments offering creative products, as well as a cinema and a bistro to act as your watering hole.
This gallery, housed in a white cube in the middle of a Bauhaus villa garden, is a must-see landmark. Apart from providing viewers with a fine example of outsider art, the dialogue set up between the building’s architectural pieces and its surroundings will leave no one indifferent.
On display in this gallery are exhibits ranging from graphic design to sculptures, to installations of all types. Many of the exhibiting artists are graduates of the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig (HGB), the city’s visual arts faculty.
But, perhaps the best way to soak up the art is to stroll through Leipzig’s streets. When you least expect it, you are likely to turn a corner and bump into such works as “Mural of the peaceful revolution”, by Michael Fischer, or Blek Le Rat’s “Madonna and child” graffito, which was restored and placed behind a protective glass screen.
Dancing in the Night
And, since man does not live by art alone, getting into the swing of the city’s nightlife is a good way of rounding off the day.
This is one of the first locales to be opened in the east of Leipzig, an area characterised by its industrial past and transformed into one of the city’s hot districts. The underground parties in Elipamanoke move to the rhythm of minimal techno and house, although you can also hear drum’n’bass or electroswing.
Institut fuer Zukunft
Their rule forbidding taking photos and their access policy make this an exclusive club which prides itself on being an alternative to the current club scene. The lineup at Institut fuer Zukunft features local and international DJs who gift experimental sessions of house and techno. During the day, they host conferences and debates on gender, club culture and electronic music.
The best parties are usually held at venues that were not originally clubs. Thus, this kulturhaus and biergarten called Villa Hasenholz, which is also a residence for artists, hosts rave-ups of all kinds. Making use of either the interior or their outside garden, the premises can operate as a disco, a concert hall or a multi-purpose festival venue, outside the established circuit and idyllically located in a forest.
Leipzig is the ideal destination for a weekend getaway where you can steep yourself in a bohemian ambience of art and music. It is also one of the iconic cities for its classical music or for lazing in its parks and gardens, like the Clara-Zetkin-Park, where jazz is played every Sunday. But the city offers, above all, a markedly alternative Germany, alien to any stodgy clichés. It also brings home the fact that smaller cities such as Weimar, Dresden or Bremen are also likely to raise the eyebrows of more than one cosmopolitan hipster.
I’m sure you’re eager to plunge into the city’s cultural effervescence. Make haste – check out our flights to Leipzig here.
Text by Carmen Gómez for ISABELYLUIS Comunicaciónmore info
A city that sounds like music
With a deeply tradition of music, Leipzig has been home to the renowned musicians and composers from all times, for the likes of Johan Sebastian Bach, Richard Wagner, Schumann or Mendelssohn. Music and culture is in every corner of the city, in the habitual concerts in Augustusplatz or in the different music festivals of every music style that the city offers.
Also known as Heldenstadt (City of Heroes), Leipzig was crucible for the revolution against the communist dictatorship in Eastern Germany, in a non-violent revolution that was called Friedliche Revolution and that ended up with the fall of the Wall in Berlin in 1989.
Baroque, neoclassical and modernist architecture blends with the buildings of the Soviet-era in Leipzig and there are many shops, restaurants, cafés and clubs in the city center.
A place that shows how the city is constantly culturally evolving is Spinnerei, (http://www.spinnerei.de/ , Spinnereistraße 7 ), an old cotton spinning mill in the district of Lindenau that is now a big factory for culture diffusion where talent and art from the artists of the so-called “New School Of Leipzig”. You can visit workshops, exhibition gallerys and Art shops, asist the cinema forums and eat at their restaurants.
If you are interested in the History of Music in Leipzig you have plenty of museums and interesting places to visit
Museum of Musical Instruments
You will enjoy of one of the most important collections in the world and discover a good perspective of the History of Music of the city
You will discover Bach, the main artist in baroque german musical style everywhere in the city. Especially in this museum which opened in 2010. An interactive exhibition that present the life and works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
The last home for Felix Mendelssohn, a late Biedermeier-style house where he moved with his family in 1845, is since 1997 the composer's museum where you will see the original furniture and some of his objects.
Gewandhaus concert hall
Headquarters of the Gewandhaus orchestra. Founded in 1743 and directed for a long time by Kurt Masur, one of the promoters of the peaceful Leipzig's revolution. The main attraction is the visit to the impressive 6,638 pipe organ!
But there is not only music in Leipzig. Auerbachs Keller, a famous restaurant , is a must in the city. Here , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spent long times as a student and now is full of students and young people from all over the world. It was founded in 1525 by a doctor in his own home cellar.
History has its own place as well in Mädle, an old drugstore which is now a restaurant and a night pub. In Bergstrasse 19, there is also a Saxon food restaurant Thüringer Hof where Lutero used to go.
Notice that there is a Flea Market in Leipzig on the last weekend of the month. They say it is the eldest and the biggest in Europemore info