ONCE A SAXON TRADE CENTER, LEIPZIG HAS BEEN AT THE HEART OF SOME OF EUROPE’S MOST INFLUENTIAL CULTURAL MOVEMENTS.

Home of Johann Sebastian Bach, Goethe, and the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, this one-time crossroads of the Holy Roman Empire resonates with the legacies of some of history’s greatest intellectuals. In the 21st century, it’s continued its tradition as one of Germany’s most artistic cities, rivaling Berlin.

Euro
German
Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ)

Discoveries

GEWANDHAUS ORCHESTRA
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Dating back to 1479, the Gewandhaus Orchestra firmly establishes Leipzig’s reputation as one of Europe’s musical capitals, though it didn’t get its own concert hall until the 18th century. The first performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Wagner, Brahms, and many more celebrated composers were held at the Gewandhaus. Music aficionados should also catch a performance by the Leipzig Opera, Europe’s third oldest, for which the Gewandhaus Orchestra also plays music.

LEIPZIGER AUENWALD
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A lush forest in the heart of the city, the scenic Auenwald runs along part of the River Elster and is criss-crossed by canals and waterways. Explore by foot, bicycle, horse, or rowboat to get a different perspective on the city and the region’s natural habitat. Nature lovers should also look into the park’s educational walks.

LEIPZIGER BAUMWOLLSPINNEREI
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In an impressive feat of revitalization, a sprawling collection of 19th-century industrial cotton mills just outside the city center have been transformed into a collection of art galleries, restaurants, art studios, and performance spaces. Take a guided tour to learn about the redevelopment, chat with artists about their work, peruse installations and exhibitions of contemporary works, and pore over more than 20,000 art books in Halle 14’s library.

MENDELSSOHN HOUSE MUSEUM
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Although Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was born in Hamburg, Leipzig has claimed him as one of its most famous musical sons: the 19th-century composer spent most of his adult life in the city and was Director of Music of the Gewandhaus for much of his career. His last house in Leipzig has been transformed into a museum about his life and career, as well as an educational center. Concerts are held in the salon every Sunday.

MÄDLER PASSAGE
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A picturesque Belle Époque emporium, complete with soaring columns and ornate balconies, this historic gallery was constructed in 1912 on a site that dates back to the 16th century. Once an exhibition hall for porcelain, wine, and leather, the arcade now houses luxury shops and cafés, but it first rose to fame in 1625 thanks to Andreas Brettschneider’s paintings of Dr. Faustus in Auerbach’s Courtyard.

ST. THOMAS CHURCH
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One of Leipzig’s central musical landmarks, St. Thomas Church is best known as the church where Johann Sebastian Bach was cantor, and where many of his works were first performed. The church itself is also an architectural landmark, with piecemeal renovations over the centuries resulting in a range of styles, from Romanesque to Gothic to Baroque. Listen to a performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor by the famed St. Thomas Boys Choir, established in 1212.

ZUM ARABISCHEN COFFE BAUM
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Pull up a chair, order a coffee, and settle in for a long afternoon of philosophical debate at one of Europe’s oldest continuously operated coffee houses, where scholars, artists, and musicians throughout history have gathered. Don’t forget to sample the local specialty Leipziger Lerche, a tiny shortbread pie filled with fruit and almonds.

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