Leipzig is a dynamic centre of business and the arts. Leipzig’s heart beats in its very compact city centre measuring just 1 square kilometre or little more than a third of a square mile. The former trade show buildings and arcades painstakingly restored since 1990 now contain numerous shops, restaurants and cafés. Leipzig Central Station is also great for shopping – as well as being one of the biggest railway terminuses in Europe, in 1997 a shopping mall was opened here with about 140 shops, restaurants and cafés open until 10pm. Leipzig’s pub districts also contain several restaurants and cafés and are marvelous for checking out some of Leipzig’s exciting nightlife.
Visitors to Leipzig will discover many of the sights just by taking a stroll through the pedestrian-friendly city centre. The Mädler Passage, for centuries the city’s most exclusive arcade, is home to the famous Auerbach’s Keller. Serving wine since 1525, this tavern was immortalized in Faust by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, the father of German literature. The café-cum-restaurant Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum is one of Europe’s oldest coffee houses and used to number Robert Schumann among its regulars. Nowadays the museum there contains an exhibition on the history of coffee – the Saxons’ ‘national drink’.
The Old City Hall, one of the finest Renaissance buildings in Germany, can be admired on the Market Square and houses the Museum of City History. To the rear is the Old Stock Exchange fronted by a statue of Goethe.
All visitors to Leipzig are drawn to St. Thomas’s Church, home of the world-famous St Thomas’s Boys Choir and where Johann Sebastian Bach was employed for 27 years as organist and choirmaster. Bach Museum is situated opposite St Thomas’s Church.
St. Nicholas’s Church, the oldest and biggest church in Leipzig, rose to fame in 1989 as the cradle of the Peaceful Revolution. Services for peace were (and still are) held here every Monday – and the following demonstrations at the end of the 1980s finally toppled the East German government, paving the way for German reunification.
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