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Coordinates: 51°20′N 12°23′E

Coat of arms of Leipzig Location of Leipzig in Germany

Country Germany
State Saxony
Administrative region Leipzig
District urban district
Population 506,372 (November 2006 [1])
Area 297.60 km²
Population density 1,702 /km²
Elevation 113 m
Coordinates 51°20′ N 12°23′ E
Postal code 04003 to 04357
Area code 0341
Licence plate code L
Mayor Burkhard Jung (SPD)
Website leipzig.de

Leipzig  [ˈlaɪ̯pʦɪç] (Sorbian/Lusatian: Lipsk) is the largest city in the federal state of Saxony in Germany with a population of over 504,000. The name is derived from the Slavic word Lipsk, which means "settlement where the linden trees stand". It is situated at the confluence of the Rivers Pleiße, White Elster and Parthe.


[edit] History

First documented in 1015 and endowed with city and market privileges in 1165, Leipzig has fundamentally shaped the history of Saxony and of Germany. Leipzig has always been known as a place of commerce. The Leipzig Trade Fair, which began in the middle ages, is the oldest, still existing trade fair of the world. It became an event of international importance, especially as a point of contact with the Comecon Eastern Europe economic bloc, of which East Germany was a member.

St Thomas' Church in the evening.
St Thomas' Church in the evening.

The foundation of the University of Leipzig in 1409 initiated the city's development into a center of German law and the publishing industry, and towards being a location of the Reichsgericht (Supreme Court), and the German National Library (founded in 1912). Johann Sebastian Bach worked in Leipzig from 1723 to 1750, at the St. Thomas Lutheran church, and Richard Wagner the composer was born in Leipzig in 1813. Later in the same year, the Leipzig region was the arena of the Battle of the Nations, which ended Napoleon's run of conquest in Europe, and led to his first exile on Elba. In 1913 the Völkerschlachtdenkmal monument celebrating the centenary of this event was completed.

The importance of the Trade Fair and the University in the creation of a vibrant urban life and city politics from the Reformation through the 19th century cannot be underestimated. Leipzig became a center of the German and Saxon liberal movements.

A terminal of the first German long distance railroad to Dresden (the capital of Saxony), in 1839, Leipzig became a hub of Central European railroad traffic, with a renowned station building, the largest terminal station by area in Europe.

Leipzig around 1900.
Leipzig around 1900.

Leipzig expanded rapidly towards one million inhabitants. Huge Gründerzeit areas were built, which mostly survived the war and post-war demolition. Nowadays these areas are unique in modern Germany. The decline of the number of inhabitants however remains a threat to these precious rich decorated remains of once Imperial Germany.

The first German labour party, the General German Workers' Association (Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV) was founded in Leipzig on 23 May 1863 by Ferdinand Lassalle; about 600 workers from across Germany travelled to the foundation on the new railway line.

A map from Meyers Encyclopedia depicting the Battle of Leipzig on  October 18, 1813.
A map from Meyers Encyclopedia depicting the Battle of Leipzig on October 18, 1813.

On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht, Nazis destroyed Jewish synagogues and establishments all over Germany. A U.S. official in Leipzig described what he saw of the atrocities. "Having demolished dwellings and hurled most of the moveable effects to the streets," he wrote, "the insatiably sadistic perpetrators threw many of the trembling inmates into a small stream that flows through the zoological park, commanding horrified spectators to spit at them, defile them with mud and jeer at their plight."[citation needed] Many of the Jews were forced to wear cummerbunds inscribed with phrases from Mein Kampf.

The city was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II.

American troops of the 69th Infantry Division captured the city on April 20, 1945, Adolf Hitler's 56th and last birthday. A few months later the U.S. ceded the city to the Red Army as it pulled back from the line of contact with Soviet forces in July 1945 to the pre-designated occupation zone boundaries. Leipzig became one of the major cities of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

In 1989, after prayers for peace at the Nikolai Church, established in 1983 as part of the peace movement, the Monday demonstrations started as the most prominent mass protest against the East German regime.

Leipzig was the German candidate for the 2012 Summer Olympics, but did not make it to the short list.

In 2006 Leipzig was found to be Europe's cheapest city.[2]

The German Football Association (DFB) was founded in Leipzig in 1900. The city was the venue for the FIFA 2006 World Cup draw, and hosted four first-round matches and one match in the last, 16th, round.

Leipzig Old City
Leipzig Old City
Atrium of the "Academy of Visual Arts".
Atrium of the "Academy of Visual Arts".
"Porsche Diamond" The customer center building of Porsche Leipzig.
"Porsche Diamond" The customer center building of Porsche Leipzig.
MDR, one of Germany's public broadcasters.
MDR, one of Germany's public broadcasters.
City-Hochhaus Leipzig.
City-Hochhaus Leipzig.
Mädler-Passage, one of Leipzig's many passageways.
Mädler-Passage, one of Leipzig's many passageways.
New Trade Fair.
New Trade Fair.
Palais Roßbach, one of the many Gründerzeit-buildings in Leipzig
Palais Roßbach, one of the many Gründerzeit-buildings in Leipzig
Inside Leipzig Hbf (Central Rail Station).
Inside Leipzig Hbf (Central Rail Station).
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[edit] Education

Leipzig University, founded 1409, is one of Europe's oldest universities. Nobel Prize laureate Werner Heisenberg worked here as a physics professor (from 1927 to 1942), as did Nobel Prize laureates Gustav Ludwig Hertz (physics), Wilhelm Ostwald (chemistry) and Theodor Mommsen (Nobel Prize in literature). Other former staff of faculty include mineralogist Georg Agricola, writer Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, philosopher Ernst Bloch, eccentric founder of psychophysics Gustav Theodor Fechner, and psychologist Wilhelm Wundt. Among the university's many noteworthy students were writers Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Erich Kästner, philosophers Gottfried Leibniz and Friedrich Nietzsche, political activist Karl Liebknecht, and composer Richard Wagner. Germany's chancellor since 2006, Angela Merkel, studied physics at Leipzig University.

The University of Music and Theatre was established in 1843 as a music conservatory. One of its founders was renowned composer Felix Mendelssohn. A broad range of subjects can be studied, both artistic and teacher training, in all orchestral instruments, voice, interpretation, coaching, piano chamber music, orchestral conducting, choir conducting and musical composition. Musical styles include jazz, popular music, musicals, early music and church music. The drama departments teach acting and dramaturgy. Advanced students may, after a test, stand in for members of the Gewandhaus Orchestra. In 2006, approximately 900 students are enrolled at the school.

The "Academy of Visual Arts" was established 1764. Its 530 students (as of 2006) are enrolled in courses in painting and graphics, book design/graphic design, photography and media art. The school also houses an Institute for Theory.

The private Handelshochschule Leipzig (HHL), or Leipzig Graduate School of Management, is the oldest business school in Germany.

Among the research institutes located in Leipzig three belong to the Max Planck Society (for Mathematics in the Sciences, Human Cognitive and Brain Science and Evolutionary Anthropology) and two are Fraunhofer Society institutes. Others are the Centre for Environmental Research, part of the Helmholtz Association, and the Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research.

[edit] Economy

Companies in or around Leipzig include:

DHL is in the process of transferring the bulk of its European air operations to Leipzig/Halle Airport.

[edit] Media

MDR, one of Germany's public broadcasters, has its headquarters and main television studios in the city. It provides programs to various TV and radio networks and has its own symphony orchestra, choir and a ballet.

Leipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ) is the city's only daily newspaper. Founded in 1894, it has published under several different forms of government. It was the first newspaper in the world that was published daily. The monthly magazine Kreuzer specializes on culture, festivities and the arts in Leipzig.

Once known for its large number of publishing houses, Leipzig had been called "Buch-Stadt" (book city). Few are left after the years of the German Democratic Republic, the most notable of them being branches of Brockhaus and Insel Verlag. Reclam, founded in 1828, was one of the large publishing houses to move away. The German Library (Deutsche Bücherei) in Leipzig is part of Germany's National Library.

[edit] Main sights

  • Thomaskirche (St Thomas' Church): Most famous as the place where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as a cantor and home to the renowned Thomaner choir
  • Völkerschlachtdenkmal (Battle of the Nations Monument): the largest war monument in Europe, built to commemorate the successful battle against Napoleonic troops
  • Gewandhaus: home to the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra, it is the third building of that name
  • Altes Rathaus: the old city hall was built in 1556 and houses a museum of the city's history
  • Neues Rathaus: the city hall was built upon the remains of the Pleißenburg, a castle that was the site of the debate between Johann Eck and Martin Luther in 1519
  • City-Hochhaus Leipzig: built in 1972, it was once part of the university and is the city's tallest building
  • Auerbach's Keller: a young Goethe ate and drank here while studying in Leipzig; it is the venue of a scene from, and the only real place in, his Faust
  • Städtisches Kaufhaus (municipal department store): the world's first sample fair building and today home to offices, retail stores and restaurants (its name is misleading, as it is privately owned)
  • Bundesverwaltungsgericht: Germany's federal administrative court was the site of the highest state court between 1888 and 1945 (Reichsgericht)

Among Leipzig's noteworthy institutions are the opera house and the Leipzig Zoo, which houses the world's largest facilities for primates. The Nikolaikirche (Church of St. Nikolai/Nicholas) was the starting point of peaceful Monday demonstrations for the reunification of Germany. Leipzig's international trade fair in the north of the city is home to the world's largest levitated glass hall. Leipzig is also known for its passageways through houses and buildings..

[edit] Annual events

[edit] Transportation

Leipzig is at a junction of important north-to-south and west-to-east railway lines. In the vicinity of the city are two airports: Leipzig/Halle Airport and Altenburg-Nobitz Airport.

[edit] Quotations

Mein Leipzig lob' ich mir! Es ist ein klein Paris und bildet seine Leute. (I praise my Leipzig! It is a small Paris and educates its people.) - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Faust

[edit] Sister cities

Leipzig is twinned with:

[edit] Notable residents

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ (German) Statistisches Landesamt (State Statistics Office of Saxony)
  2. ^ http://www.citymayors.com/features/cost_survey.html
  3. ^ (1963) Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 

[edit] External links