In our preparations for our daytrip to Leipzig we read a couple of books and saw a special on a Dutch Travel program called 3 op Reis. In both sources Leipzig was mentioned as small Berlin. Well I have not been to Berlin yet but this autumn we are going with our good friends Barbara and Robert. So this day trip will be the perfect moment to start our research.
Downtown Leipzig is small and easy to explore. You can take a nice stroll through the center and see all major sites like the Nikolai and Thomas church, the Gewandhaus and the old town hall. But just outside the center lies a whole lot more to see. The best way to do this is by bike and that is what we did. It is really easy to rent a bike with Nextbike. You just call the number on the bike or use the app, register yourself and receive the code to open the lock on the bike. Bikes are situated all over town and cost 9 euro a day. We both rented a bike and drove it all over Leipzig to see the following monuments and buildings:
In 1982 people started to gather on Monday night to pray for a unified Germany. These prayers continue for years and after weekly demonstrations in 1989 they eventually led to the fall of the DDR and the beginning of a unified Germany. Round the church are 4 monument to reminder these actions. Unfortunately we only saw one because it was late when we arrived and rainfall stopped us for looking further. The monument that we did see was a pillar with palm leaves on top. It symbolizes faith stepping outside the church! This church is what makes the Leipziger proud and we totally get that.
Fans of classical music and Bach need to go to the Thomas Church. His remains lie in a grave underneath the choir and outside the church there is a statue in his honor. In this church, Bach did all his composing, writing and playing.
Old Town Hall
A beautiful old building that covers the entire width of the market square. Inside you can see the historical City Museum. They have the only authentic portrait of Bach on display and off course much more.
If you want to know more about the Stasi (Ministry for state security in the DDR) then you need to go to the Runde Ecke. Inside the museum are a lot of objects the Stasi used to control the inhabitants of the DDR. For example old camera’s that can look around the corner or machines that can open envelopes invisible so the receiver would never knew it was opened. They never changed the interior so everything is original and gives you a great view into how life was like in the DDR.
Monument to the Battle of the Nations
A bombastic building rises at in the end of the street while we ride our bike. Left and right of us stand old Platan trees as if they salute. As we come closer the tower starts to rise above us and we ask ourselves what kind of religion they worship here. They could use the building in a Indiana Jones movie. The Battle of Nations (German: Völkerschlachtdenkmal) was the beginning of the end of Napoleon. For the first time all Germans fought side by side against a mutual ruler. In honor of this battle the people of Leipzig build a monument and they did not want it to made it look as a normal monument. Well, they did a fine job, because this is not a normal monument. Sadly we could not go into the building because we arrived after opening hours but you can walk up and see a beautiful view of the skyline of Leipzig.
Bavarian train station
The entire building was removed to build a new subway track underneath. Later they only put back the facade of the old train station. In one of the old side buildings is now a restaurant and biergarten. It was really crowded when we drove by so the meals must be good.
The biggest spinning mill (German: Spinnerei) in Europe stood in Leipzig in the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays the terrain is full with studio’s, workshops and creativity. It is worth your visit. The atmosphere is tranquil and awaits to be photographed by you.
Main train station
In pure size the Leipziger Main Train station is the biggest terminus in Europe and you notice this as soon as you walk into the main lobby. Underneath the station is a large shopping mall with multiple levels. Make sure you walk down to the tracks to see the iron arch constructions. It may not be the most beautiful train station you ever seen but it is worth visiting.
Leipzig has more to offer. Lots more that we could see in one day. Besides all the tourist sights you can also find nice restaurants and bars. The price is lower than we are used to in the Netherlands. We had a very nice dinner at Café Puschkin in the Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 74. We ate a decent meal for 2 persons for 35 euro. How great is that!
Leipzig caught us and to be honest. The city deserves another visit by us. The vibe and atmosphere is wonderful and we liked it better that its neighbor Dresden. As mentioned above, we leave for a trip to Berlin in October. After this trip we come back to you to answer our question, ‘Is Leipzig really small Berlin?’.