The history of Leipzig mainly is characterized by its self-conception as a free trade and civic town. Economic self-sufficiency and the right of self-determination ever has been the ultimate ambition of the citizens of Leipzig. In 2015 the city of Leipzig celebrates the 1000th anniversary of being firstly mentioned in the chronicle of bishop Thietmar von Merseburg as "urbe libzi".
LEIPZIG AND TRADE FAIRS
The ancient Leipzig Stock Exchange
Already an ancient document from about 1165, which certifies Leipzig as a town, declares its market rights. Provided with special privileges - by emperor Maximilian I in 1497 and 1507 - the town developed to an important East-West trading centre, often called the 'Mother of all Trade Fairs'. In the 18th century Leipzig became the most important exhibition centre in Germany.
In 1895 the trade fair was replaced by a sample fair (Mustermesse - MM), which was hold twice a year, in spring and autumn, until 1991 at the historical exhibition houses (Messehäuser) in the centre of town and at different exhibition halls, pavilions and open areas at the 'Old Fair' south of the centre.
In 1996 the 'New Trade Fair of Leipzig' was opened in the north of the town, with five modern exhibition halls and a congress centre, meanwhile a location for many important international fairs, congresses and specialist conferences hold throughout the whole year.
LEIPZIG AND BOOKS
Schiller's house in Leipzig-Gohlis
Beside a centre of commerce and fairs Leipzig is a city of significant cultural, artistic and scientific importance.
The Leipzig university, founded 1409, is the second oldest in Germany, following Heidelberg. Leipzig is a very famous city of books and publishers. Just giving you a few names for the publishers: Baedeker, Reclam, Göschen and Brockhaus and some for the authors: Goethe, Schiller, Gottsched, Gellert, Klopstock and Lessing.
Leipzig is the seat of the German Library and the Central Library for the Blind. The Academy of Visual Arts (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst) is one of the most important one of its kind.
LEIPZIG AND MUSIC
The Gewandhaus (concert hall) in Leipzig
There is no doubt that Leipzig is one of the most important music towns in Europe. In Leipzig worked Bach, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Schumann, Wagner, Lortzing, and Mahler.
Meanwhile the annual Bach festival is a performance of high international reputation, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Not to forget the 'Thomanerchor', a famous choir, whose singers can be heard regularly in the Thomas church, the place, where Johann Sebastian Bach worked from 1723 until 1750, and we have to mention the 'Gewandhausorchester', one of the oldest and most famous orchestra, founded by citizens of Leipzig in the 18th century.
LEIPZIG IN THE 19TH CENTURY
The Monument of the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig
After the Battle of Leipzig (Völkerschlacht) and the Congress of Vienna great political and social as well as technical and industrial revolutions started.
No other period brought greater changes for Leipzig than the 19th century.
With the construction of a Saxon-German railway, which started 1839 with the first German long-distance railway line from Leipzig to Dresden, an active industrialization began in the middle of the 19th century.
By the incorporation of former independent country communities Leipzig spread out step by step nearly to its size of today.
LEIPZIG AND ITS ARCHITECTURE
The new City Hall in Leipzig
The growth of the city was accompanied by a construction boom. A highlight of the building boom was the new town hall, built from 1899 - 1905 on the grounds of an old castle (Pleißenburg) in the southwest of the city. An stately architecture, reflecting the self-confidence of the citizens of Leipzig.
Today Leipzig is the capital of historism, a result of the construction boom during the second half of the 19th century.
During the 'Gründerzeit' architects borrowed elements from many different periods, as from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance or Baroque, to combine and interpret them in a new way, just to find out their own style. Most of the 15000 cultural monuments in Leipzig are built during this time.
The new University building at the Augustusplatz in Leipzig
During the last few years great investments were done for a complete renewal of the infrastructure and the reconstruction of many old buildings in the city. By that the public became aware of the abundance of historical buildings of the 'Gründerzeit (founding period) and the 'Jugendstil' (art nouveau) in Leipzig.
Worth mentioning are the many passages, arcades, areaways and alley ways in the centre of the city, forming their own network of sheltered pathways through the inner-city.
Meanwhile renowned companies as BMW, Porsche and DHL chose Leipzig for new production or logistic sites. Surely because of the modern and perfect infrastructure of the region, but perhaps also because of the circumstance that modern age, tradition and history perfectly found together in Leipzig.
The newly arranged Richard-Wagner-Platz and the Main Station in Leipzig
Beside all the historic sights, the museums and cultural events, Leipzig is an ideal town for shopping, strolling around, and relaxing.
You will find a lot of shopping malls, coffee-houses, bars, and restaurants, e.g. the main station, the biggest 'Kopfbahnhof' (railhead) in Europe, from 1995 till 1997 completely renovated, nowadays is a shopping mall and a meeting place on three floors with more then 100 shops, cafés and restaurants.
View of the Augustusplatz with the Gewandhaus (concert hall), Uni-Riese (university tower) and the new university building
The picture museum and the Grassimuseum (arts and crafts museum) in Leipzig