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Leipzigers are unfortunately still uncertain about Johann Sebastian Bach's creative output. Yet there's no better place for going about improving the gaps in people's knowledge about the former choirmaster at St Thomas' than in the city where he worked for 27 years. There are exhibitions of parts of manuscripts and first editions here and of course you can also hear Bach's greatest works. You won't regret taking a look around this museum during your visit to Leipzig by any means.
The history of the Thomaskirche is filled with famous names. Martin Luther preached here in the 16th century, J.S. Bach was once choir master here and the world famous Thomanerchor choir can still be heard here every week. Architecturally speaking, the church is distinguished by an unusually steep roof and displays a mixture of Roman, Gothic and more modern styles. The church has been so wonderfully restored that you would never guess its age, over 700 years old!
A must for any visitor to Leipzig, Auerbach's Keller is famous for having inspired parts of Goethe's epic play, Faust. This place still places great emphasis on tradition, meaning that the food is typical, hearty Saxon fare with a focus on local specialties like Leipziger Lerche and Allerlei. There is also a fine selection of local wines, but as usual, quality has its price. Auerbach's Keller also puts on a special programme for groups.
You can't miss this wonderful building in the heart of Leipzig, as the Old Town Hall is in the middle of the market place. The first plans for building the Town Hall as it stands now were made in 1555. Although it was badly damaged in World War II, you can once again go for a stroll in the Town Hall's colonnade on account of the restoration work in the 1950s and even purchase some things in the shops. Check the website for more details.
The Stadtgeschichtliches Museum (Museum of Local History) is the best place to learn about Leipzig's past and present. The museum brings the history of the city to life in a series of fascinating exhibitions dealing with topics like the Reformation, music in the 19th century and ceramics between the 12th-18th centuries. The historic Altes Rathaus makes the perfect venue for such an exhibition.
With over 150 years of existence the Museum der bildenden Künste is one of the well known ones in the city. The museum has around 3,500 paintings and 1000 sculptures on display. Apart from this there are over 60,000 graphical works which are shown here. The museum presents artworks from the middle age especially late middle age to the modern times. Those who find art most pleasing to their senses will definitely be enchanted with the exhibits found at this museum.
Leipzig's oldest and largest church was the epicenter of the peaceful demonstrations which eventually brought the Berlin Wall crashing down in November 1989. The city is still feeling the effects of the end of communism, but even apart from the events of 1989, the Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas' Church) still has plenty of historical relevance. Founded in 1175, the church was extended over the years and exhibits a potpourri of Romantic, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical architectural styles. Bach's Christmas Oratorio was originally performed here and Martin Luther once preached from the pulpit.
Many cities in East Germany still suffer because of the boring architecture from the former GDR. However Neue Gewandhaus is a gorgeous concert hall that is a lovely architectural landmark as well as provides amazing concerts. First built in 1781, it was later rebuilt in 1981. Make sure you allow time on your tour of the city to see it lit up at night. The real highlight is the music emanating from inside. Kurt Masur used to be synonymous with the building. Its hall has an impressive organ and is well worth a visit.
The prices may be slightly steep, but Leipzig Zoo certainly has plenty to offer. Located on a 54-acre (22 hectares) site, the zoo offers the regular animal attractions as well as a few highlights, which include a great aquarium and a fun-filled monkey house. And with over 100 years experience (it was founded in 1878), the zoo knows a thing or two about entertainment. Special services such as animal sponsorship and children's birthday parties can also be organized here.
Bayerischer Bahnhof is one of the most important historical landmarks in Germany. Built in 1842, this is the oldest railway station in the country. Apart from the beautiful architecture and design, it is the ancient charm captured in this structure that pulls so many visitors each day. A must visit!
After the complete makeover it received in 2003, exclusively for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Championships, Red Bull Arena (formerly Zentralstadion) is one of the most modern stadiums in the world. Over 45,000 spectators can enjoy intense matches, complete with the state-of-the-art lighting and sound facilities. There is also a large hospitality area which is ideal for receptions, large gatherings and social events.
Leipzig Botanical Gardens already has a long history, as it has existed since 1542 in the form of a medicinal garden. People come here to look at the amazing amount of plants (all systematically arranged according to their ecological category) to relax, familiarize themselves with new plants or as part of their studies - the Botanical Gardens are part of Leipzig University. Although the grounds aren't huge, it is well worth a visit: as as well as free entry, there's the lure of the butterfly house (admission fee applicable).