Leipzig is a really cool city
Leipzig is the largest city in the federal state of Saxony and the second one after Berlin in East Germany. I spent my second Erasmus in this city (April-July). During that time I tried to get to know the city as fast as possible. I know, I haven’t been everywhere and I didn’t see everything, but I definitely checked all places I desired. 🙂 Now, I will share with you my subjective guide of Leipzig. About the life of my beloved Leipzig I will teel you soon in a separate content. I have to admit that after these 4 months I fall in love with Leipzig. I felt really good in this city! In addition, Leipzig proved to be a great base for trips to other parts of Germany or even to the Czech Republic or Amsterdam. Okay, but first let me find out why Leipzig is such a cool city!
Good to know!
Let’s start with a few curiosities about which you didn’t even think about it. As it turns out Leipzig has really much in common with Poland. Although there are not many Poles in the city itself (probably about a thousand), we will find here the Polish Institute, which bravely promotes the Polish brand in the largest city of Saxony. Nothing strange at all, in the 18th century Leipzig was for 50 years under Polish rule within the framework of the Polish-Saxonian state. However, in the history of the city it was only a short episode, but Leipzig is still trying to maintain close contacts with Poland (Leipzig is twinned with Kraków).
How would you associate the city name? 🙂
Leipzig is derived from the Slavic word Lipsk, which means „settlement where the linden trees stand”. For the first time the name of the city was written in Latin in 1015 in the Thietmar’s chronicle as „Libzi”. However, hard to say why such a name! I didn’t notice lots of linden trees in Leipzig. 😉
How to get to Leipzig?
Well, to be honest I was traveling from Poland and I must say it was really complicated. I had to change in Berlin. However, Leipzig is connected quite good (except Poland) :P. So you can get there by bus or train. There is also an airport but I know that flights aren’t that cheap. So here are few links where you can find cheap and easy transport:
Where to stay? How to travel?
Leipzig is not a big city, but if you want to see everything, it seems to me that without a tram it will not work! Especially if you only have 1 day, because if you have some more time, I would definitely recommend to walk. Some places are really great hidden and you have to dig a bit to find them. I stayed at Johannisallee, which was a great base. Peace, tranquility, with a window overlooking to the botanical garden, 2 tram lines + 1 bus, 1 stop further S-Bahn station, 20 minutes walk to town and a little more to the Monument to the Battle of the Nations. If you can pick your accomodation, I highly recommend this area! 🙂
Neues Rathaus / New Town Hall
There are two Town Halls in Leipzig. The new Town Hall is located on the outskirts of the market square at Wilhelm Leuschner Platz. It was built in the 20th century on the foundations of the former Pleissenburg castle. The new town hall is much more like a castle than a town hall, and it’s all because of its massive size and fairy tales towers. However, interiors of the town hall are no longer as charming as from the outside. You can find that out when visiting the town hall during working hours. Allegedly, you can go to its towers with a guide and admire the beautiful panorama of Leipzig. However, stay with me and I will tell you a better place for a nice view!
Altes Rathaus / Old Town Hall
From the New Town Hall to the Old Town Hall is only about 10 minutes away (short walk). Old town hall is located in the middle of the Market Square. It is one of the most beautiful late Renaissance buildings in Germany. It was built in only 9 months, at the turn of 1556 and 1557. The town hall is decorated with lace tops and a baroque clock tower with a lantern helmet. Inside this city hall you will find a City museum (Can’t tell how is it, haven’t been there). It’s not as big as the New Town Hall, but you have to go around it all the way! There is another treasure behind the town hall. 🙂
Die Alte Handelsbörse / The Old Trade Exchange
Exactly behind the Town Hall (looking forward 😀) is located a beautifully-tidy, small building. This is the old trade exchange. It was built in the 17th century. I haven’t been able to find out if the building currently has any application. Every time I walked past it was closed. Unfortunately, I don’t know how and why, but I didn’t take a picture of it. Here is a photo from Internet 🙁
Thomaskirche / St. Thomas Church
Church of St. Thomas is one of the two main churches in Leipzig. It is known as the place of activity of Johann Sebastian Bach and the boy’s choir St. Thomas – the oldest boy choir in Germany (founded in 1212). In the church are given regular concerts by choir of St. Tomas and the Gewandhaus Orchestra: Fridays at 6 pm, Saturdays at 3 pm and Sundays at 9.30 am during the services. Usually, they are playing Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn music. I’m not a fan of such music, or maybe I was just lazy, however I’ve never decided to listen such a concert. I managed to catch only on trial.
Entrance to the church is free, although they may try to charge you 1 euro. I believe that the entrance to the sacred objects should be free, so I try to not to pay for such a visit. Here I managed to go without paying! The first thing I pay attention to are the colors. White and red. Then I look up and immediately notice a typical example of the cross-ribbed vault. 😀 In the front of the church we find the old instruments, books, etc. It is also worth to notice an old organs.
Nikolaikirche /Church of St. Nicholas
This is a very important point on the map, if you are interested in GDR times. In this church inhabitants of Leipzig prayed for peace. The so-called Monday demonstrations were launched here, which expressed their opposition to the prevailing situation. The church was built in the 12th century. It is worth to look inside, because of the very interesting colors inside the church. As you can see, the inhabitants of Leipzig like the colorful interiors! 🙂
Beautiful buildings and historic townhouses
Walking around the market, keep your eyes wide open and look up too. You can find lots of interesting and nice buildings. 🙂
Evangelical church in Leipzig
It is also worth to take a look at this church, which is located right next to the Central Station. It was built in the 18th century and I must admit that it is really original.
Near the Shopping Mall Höfe am Brühl (even on the same street) is located an amazing mural on one of the building! It was made by a German painter born in Leipzig, Michael Fischer. Mural refers to the events of the peaceful revolution in Leipzig. I must say that my parents are not fans of this type of art, but this mural made a huge impression on them. Be sure to look at the Brühl street – you have to find it!
University of Leipzig
There are no doubts that Leipzig is a student city. Leipzig University attracts a lot of students, not only from Germany. At this Uni was studying the most influential woman in Europe – Angela Merkel. 😉 Besides, in 2013 or in 2014 (I don’t remember exactly when) the university’s main building has been renovated. It looks really modern – almost like from the future! However, most of the halls are very modern and quite well equipped. The university was founded in 1409 and is one of the oldest universities in Europe. The main building of the University – Paulinium is located at Augustus Platz. 🙂
At this square took place the scenes of the peace revolution in 1989. Today the square is as peaceful (calm) as it was then. 😉 It’s a fairly large square surrounded by important buildings (including my beloved Uni). I don’t pay much attention to them in a separate paragraphs, because they don’t deserve it. 😛 Why? Let’s start with the Gewandhaus. This is the old Cloth Hall (yes, like in Cracow, only much uglier), which now serve as conference hall, etc. For me it is a very ugly, communist building.
Right in front of the Gewandhaus stayed the opera house. Compared to the operas I have seen in other cities, this one is very raw, modest and just ugly.
Krochhaus is located on the left side of the Opera. It was built in the 1930s. It was then the tallest concrete skyscraper in Leipzig, modeled on one of the Venetian towers. It is one of the few elements of Modernist construction that has survived to this day in Leipzig. For me nothing special 😛
Leipzig is not one of the cities with big skyscrapers, what you will probably notice. This doesn’t mean that you will not see the beautiful panorama of the city. As I mentioned above, Leipzig can be admired from the New Town Hall, but I didn’t personally check it. My friends recommend me the City-Hochhaus – a modern office building, which its roof is available as a viewpoint! Great idea, because the panorama of the city is almost on each side and the entrance costs only 3.5 euros. Prepare coins, because there is only an automat. The place is not very popular either. I have been there 2 times and it wasn’t crowded. You can also sit at the bar when you are tired of admiring the views. 😉
Townhouse at Ring Cafe
It’s a typical communist building where used to be offices and now there are more flats. I mean, nothing special, but I really liked this building and I know that some of my friends also noticed it. There are also fountains in front of this building and I must say that is a very charming place. I couldn’t resist the impression that it remind me the building of the Romanian parliament. 🤔 But I warn you. Not everyone can enjoy this communist giant! As I don’t like Gewandhaus or Opera in Leipzig. 🙂
Federal Administrative Court – Bundesverwaltungsgerich
Worth a visit, because of the amazing building in which the court is located. It was transferred from Berlin in 1997, which was a big prestige for Leipzig. Finally, this court is the highest instance in public matters. The building was built at the end of the 19th century and since that it was used by the court.
Alte Peterskirche / Old Church of St. Peter
The Lutheran Church of St. Peter is located near the court. In my opinion is an undiscovered Leipzig gem. I was totally in love with T=the neo-gothic church design. This was my favorite spot in Leipzig, which I always showed everyone. It was built in the 16th century, although it was rebuilt several times, and even in the XIX century it was rebuilt. It was destroyed during World War II and it was till 2000 under reconstruction. It reminds a cathedral in Prague to my parents. For me, it is a true Leipzig gem. A little creepy- it could be home to some vampire or another creature – but that’s what I like about it. Unfortunately, the interior is a bit disappointing. It is completely empty and doesn’t reflect at all what is outside.
Grassimuseum in the spring
If you are in Leipzig in the beginning of May, then you should definitely visit the Grassimuseum! But not inside. 😊 Well, unless you like art then go ahead. I haven’t been inside, but I did an unique session in front of the Museum with flowering trees. The place is really charming and still not discovered by tourists!
All mentioned above attractions are located in a zone that you can easily reach without getting into public transport. Now it’s time for attractions that are a bit further, but as I wrote above. If you have more time then even there you can just walk! 🙂
It is the oldest preserved railway station in Germany. The station was opened in 1842 for the Leipzig-Hof railway by the Saxon-Bavarian Railway Company. From 2013, the S-Bahn line is opened right under this station. I would also recommend go down to the platform. You will find there the most beautiful subway station in Leipzig!
Russian Orthodox Church
Two tram stops further (national library stop) you will find a beautiful Russian Orthodox church. If you carefully watch the photos in this post, you already saw it on one picture. 😊 Yes, you can see it in on a picture from our skyscraper, where you can also see the monument to the battle of the nations. Unfortunately, I never managed to get inside. Every time I passed it was closed. It stole my heart, though that is probably due to my weakness to the orthodox churchs!
Leipziger Messe / Leipzig Trade Fair
On the way to the monument of the battle of nations, we will pass (if we decide to walk) next to the place where the famous Leipzig Trade Fair takes place. They belong to the top ten of the largest exhibition centers in Germany and to the fifty largest centers in the world. Their rich 850-year-old tradition and long-standing experience have allowed for a truly global reputation. Leipzig has about 40 exhibitions, nearly 100 congresses, and many events every year. The Trade Fair is visited by approximately 1.2 million people from all over the world and the number of exhibitors exceeds 11,000. Built in 1996, the New Fairgrounds enchants the glass and steel architecture. I didn’t have a chance to look at them. However, on the way to the monument, you will pass by the large letter „M”, which the sign of the Leipzig Trade Fair.
Völkerschlachtdenkmal / Monument to the Battle of Nations
Welcome to Mexico! That was the first reaction when I saw a monument. Confirmed by my friends, who also had a chance to see the monument. Meanwhile, it is a monument commemorating the greatest battle of the Napoleonic period, which took place in Leipzig in 1813. It is not only a landmark for the city, but is also Europe’s tallest monument. Its construction lasted for 15 years and was completed exactly on the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of the Nations in 1913. The external part of the monument is free. You can climb it, but if you want to go inside and see the museum, you have to spend around 10 euros. Of course I entered this huge monument. To get to all levels, you need to be careful, because level 2 is available only through the external entrance. Generally, is easy to get lost there. 🙂 Besides, from the monument we can admire beautiful views of the city and the surrounding area. In the evening, the monument also attracts masses of people. Some are coming at sunset, which is beautifully seen from the monument. Others come later to take pictures of a beautifully illuminated monument.
The most culturally, alternative, student and in general the most cool street in Leipzig. Recently very much promoted by the media as a new alternative to Berlin. Well, it is „cool”, but to be honest I’m a fan of traditional sightseeing, which is what every guide offers as a „must see”. I also don’t delete these alternative places in advance, some of them are really interesting, but in my case they are in second place. 😉 However, here I actually managed to find some cool spots. My favorite is definitely the building that was painted by the Michael Fischer (yes, he was already mentioned above). So if you have the time, then I recommend walk on the street and discover yourself its charms and flavors!
That’s it! That’s all I’ve been able to discover for the past 4 months. I hope you will use it and fall in love with Leipzig like me. Leipzig deserves more attention! It is not as crowded as other big German cities. So, if you are tired of crowds, then Leipzig is the perfect place for you!
During my stay in Leipzig I visited many beautiful places! Most of them I visited thanks to the cheap group ticket fo Deutsche Bahn. Check my content of DB tickets to get to know them better! Coming back to the topic, I visited the following places/cities: Altenburg, Amsterdam (Netherlands), Bamberg, Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt am Main, Halle, Ijmuiden (Netherlands) Jena, Merseburg, Meissen, Moritzburg, Naumburg, Pirna, Potsdam, Praha (Czech Rep.), Pravcicka Brana (Czech Rep.), Quedlinburg, Radebeul, Rügen, Saxony Switzerland, Torgau, Weimar, Weissenfels & Wernigerode.
A few useful links
City plan with tram/bus stops -> click on Netzplan -> Stadtplan