As you all know, I went to Germany and wondered around Germany and I discovered a town called Leipzig. Feeling inspired by it I wrote a little article/guide-hope you enjoy it.
By Ben Albright
When people think of Leipzig the image of red brick and a formerly red government come to mind. Surely there is nothing in Leipzig worth seeing unless you enjoy industrial complexes right? Wrong. Well OK not wrong-half right. While Leipzig was one of the industrial heartlands of the former German Democratic Republic and now of Germany there is certainly more much more to this city located in Saxony.
Established in 1015 many famous people have hung their hat here including the likes of Wagner, Bach. The University established in the 15th century attracted many academics to the city and breathed new life into the city and added to its vibrancy.
The first port of call as in most cities should be the tourist centre, not too far from the train station and easy to spot, the tourist centre; located on Richard-Wagner-Str. 1 the tourist centre is spacious building with a very polite English speaking staff. Here they will arm you with a free map and even highlight places that you wish to see and with this and a little bit of local kindness you should be able to explore this great city.
A must see in Leipzig is the very famous St Nicholas Church. Its red brick exterior beauty is matched only by its interior wonders with is pristine white decor this wonderful building is open to the public and was the focal point of the pro democracy movement. With so much history and beauty there is no excuse for missing out on its magnificence.
After seeing the Church and of course the plaque dedicated to the October 1989 peace march, follow the march route to its end you’ll be confronted by the infamous Stasi head quarters. “Runde Ecke” or round corner now a museum that perhaps serves as a warning to the younger generations and will certainly educate them. Forget the “ostalgie” parties in Berlin where old and young alike don the old army uniforms and get wasted while blaming unification for everything from the jobless rates to the football scores; this museum located on Dittrichring 24 will show you what life was really like in the GDR right down to the authentic Stasi prison cell and smells. Perfectly preserved this museum is a treasure trove of the GDR including old uniforms, a flow chart demonstrating the GDR postal service with letters sent to the west and the ways people tried to escape including on display forged passports. This museum of the former Stasi headquarters will send a chill through your whole body but I think you will come away with a new understanding of life behind “the other side” of the iron curtain. The only draw back here is, all the displays are in German however rest assured there are guided tours in English. The museum is opened Monday-Sunday from 10am-6pm and costs 3 euros. If you do go be sure to check out the personalized Arizona state licence plate with the letters “STASI” creepy, creepy stuff.
However there is more to Leipzig then the spine tingling chill that only the remnants of an oppressive regime can bring much more. If classical music is your forte you will certainly be interested in the Bach Museum. Open from 10am-5pm this museum rather than simply focusing on the common knowledge of Bach of the composer has exhibits on Bach’s personal life looking at Bach the director and Bach with his family.
The museum is located on Thomaskirchhof 15/16 and tickets cost 3 euros per adult with a 6 euro family ticket and free admission to children under 7. There are also audio tours in English for an extra cost.
After wandering through Leipzig’s many streets and seeing its many treasures you’ll soon find yourself hungry-not to worry though, as Leipzig as well as being a home of culture is also a home of good eating.
Barthels Hof is a prime example of fine Leipzig dining. Located at Hainstrasse,1 this establishment dates back to 1497 making it one of Leipzig’s oldest and boasts a traditional Saxon cuisine of Rabbit and Heubraten.
Casa Loca makes me ask if you’ve ever wondered just what the German take on a burrito was. Neither have I but if you ever have this is the place for you! Located at Riemannstraße 40, this place offers traditional Mexican ingredients such as avocado and tortillas.
More than just a hub of classical music and old buildings Leipzig is a city where the locals are never afraid to let their hair down? Into jazz? Checkout the 31st Leipzig jazz festival from October 3rd to October 6th. The festival promises the best European talent from the east and west focusing on contemporary jazz. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or consult the tourist information centre.
For those travelling with kids or those of us who are just big kids at heart, it may be worth going to Leipzig in November and explore the models-hobbies-games trade show. The show which this year runs from the 12th-14th of November boasts “the latest trends in games and hobbies for young and old alike” It certainly seems like an ideal place for Christmas shopping. The show is organised by Leipziger Messe GmbH
and is located on Messe Allee 1.
After reading all this and discovering the city for yourself you could be forgiven for wanting more than a day to truly explore. If this is the case rest assured that Leipzig boasts many different types of accommodation for many types of travellers with many types of budgets.
Leipzig Guesthouse is a hostel on Torgauer Strasse 64 and is German/Canadian owned and operated. It is located conveniently near a shop (Lidl) and is near a tram stop for lines 3, 13. Their television in the sitting room has BBC, CNN and channels in languages like Italian and Spanish. They also have WiFi.
Rooms start at £9.32 ($18.69 US) per person for a 4 bed dorm with shared bathroom (you can pay £9.71 or $ for a 4 bed ensuite) to £20.14 ($40.42US) for a private with a shared bathroom-ensuite costs £20.86 ($41.86 US) You can also buy a room with 3 beds for £9.35 ($18.77US) with a shared bathroom or £10.79 ($21.65 US) ensuite and a double bed for £12.59 ($25.26US) or £13.31($26.71US) ensuite.
For those wanting a more upscale place to stay why not try Hotel und Appartementhaus Am Ratsholz Leipzig’s 3 star accommodation. Located on Anton-Zickmantel Strasse 44, this place offers a “comfy and friendly atmosphere” which includes either a bathtub or shower and cable TV. As well as having standard features like internet access a bar and a restaurant (breakfast not included); this place also has some added extras like a safe and maybe quirkily enough a babysitting service-it even has a sauna in the basement and is conveniently enough wheel chair accessible.
Room prices per night are £33.31($67.85 US) for a single private, £22.21 ($42.58) double bed private and £18.22 ($36.56 US) for a 3 bed private-all rooms appear to be Ensuite.
Prices obviously may vary depending on tourist seasons.
Leipzig is certainly a complex city full of hidden treasures and not so hidden treasures. For anyone looking to learn experience and have a lot of fun in the process Leipzig is certainly a place worth visiting.
Getting there is fairly easy; if you want to fly there is the Leipzig/Halle airport with flights from 10 airlines including German Wings, Lufthansa, Austria Airlines and Air Berlin and Air France. Although there are flights from international European cities such as in from Paris Vienna and Mallorca; those wishing to fly in from outside Europe may want to consult their travel agent for further details.
Another idea is to fly into Berlin and then take the train into Leipzig which by rail is roughly an hour away.