The city of Leipzig is in the center of Germany in the state of Saxony. Over half a million residents live in the city and it is the 13th city on the list, in terms of its size. Residents began arriving in Leipzig as early as the 12th century and over the years the city developed and grew significantly and even received a place of honor in the list of cities in Germany as a whole. At certain times, Leipzig was considered the largest trading city in the country, but due to severe battles and wars that took place in and around it in the 18th and 19th centuries, it lost a little of its position.
Today, Leipzig is a prominent and very important city in Germany, one that attracts many visitors and, of course, quite a few Israelis who have discovered the secret of its charm. There is an ancient university in the city, known as one of the most important in Germany, a university that was founded in 1409 and continues to operate even today. Unlike in other cities in Germany, the number of non-German residents in Leipzig is the smallest among German cities, especially in recent years, when foreigners from different countries flock to Germany as a whole. The city is known, among other things, in the field of music thanks to Robert Schumann, Wagner and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdi, who founded the Higher School of Music and Theater in the city in 1842.
Although very large parts of the city were destroyed during the Second World War and despite the severe damages, the city was renovated and renewed and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, which is evident in almost every corner. There is a very active train in Leipzig, the third largest in the country, with 24 platforms and routes that reach many stations in different regions of Germany.
Today in Leipzig you can find a variety of hotels and other accommodation solutions available to visitors. Being a touristic city in Germany, Leipzig offers tourists a wide selection of options, some in the city center and near its many sites and attractions, and some in more distant areas. There are high class hotels in the city as well as more standard hotels. It has Airbnb apartments as well as apartments suitable for families with children. It is possible to find especially cheap accommodation solutions as well as luxurious and expensive places. It is very important to compare the options and define the needs.
There are quite a few restaurants in Leipzig scattered throughout the city. Being a busy and very touristic city, Leipzig offers a rich and invested culinary world, which is reflected in its many restaurants. It is possible to find restaurants offering typical traditional German food as well as restaurants based on the purity of modern, innovative cuisine. In Leipzig, there are vegan and vegetarian restaurants that have become very popular in recent years and restaurants that serve great Mediterranean, French and Asian dishes to the diners’ table. You can find simple fast food chains in the city as well as excellent food stands.
At various points in the city there are interesting attractions that are worth stopping at, suitable for the whole family and for all those interested in art, history and local culture. Leipzig provides its visitors with a wealth of possibilities, in all things related to entertainment and interest, and as such offers special sites worth stopping at and fascinating points throughout it, which tell the story of the city and the story of Germany as a whole.
Tip – those coming to Leipzig for a short or long period will be able to benefit from a special card, suitable mainly for tourists – Leipzig Card. The card offers attractive benefits and discounts intended for all those planning a visit of one to three days, for individuals, families and groups of several friends. With this card you can easily and comfortably explore the charming city and also take an unlimited number of trips on the city’s public transport network, including elevated trains, electric trains and buses. The card also gives discounts on entrance to the various attractions. A ticket for one person for one day costs 12.40 euros, a ticket for one person for three days costs 24.40 euros. A group ticket (2 adults and 3 children) costs €44.90.
Here is a short overview of attractions in Leipzig that warrant a stop:
The Battle of the Nations Memorial (Volkerschlachtdenkmal) – this magnificent monument, also known as the “Battle of the Nations Memorial”, is located in the city of Leipzig and its construction was completed in 1913 and since then it has stood in the city and is a focal point for attracting many tourists. This monument commemorates Napoleon’s defeat at Leipzig, a decisive step towards assisting the enemy in the War of the Sixth Coalition, in which the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden led by Czar Alexander I of Russia and Prince Carl Philip fought against Napoleon and his armies, including the Germans. Bruno Schmitz was responsible for the construction of the monument, a monument based on a structure that includes concrete, dirt and many granite blocks. The monument is built as a kind of pyramid and on top of an artificial hill at a height of 23 meters. In front of it is the image of the Archangel Michael, the god of war and the protector of soldiers. The building has two floors and the monument itself is surrounded by a grove of oak trees.
The Leipzig Zoological Garden – The Leipzig Zoo, also known as the “Zoological Garden”, was opened to the public for the first time on June 9, 1878 and its area was expanded in 1920, after the First World War, so that today it covers a total area of 270 dunams and 850 different species of animals. This zoo, in addition to being one of the prominent attractions in the city, excels in its large construction projects, such as the Pongoland, which is intended for gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutan monkeys, and more, as well as the Gondwanaland, aka the second largest indoor rainforest in the world, which includes an area of 16.5 dunams . The zoo is home to over 2,000 lions, 250 rare Siberian tigers and other predators. It has quite a few rare species including the Chinese pangolin, the only one in Europe (a mammal that comes from East Asia).
St. Thomas Church – it is known as a very prominent tourist attraction in Leipzig not because of its appearance or the fact that it is very old (from the 12th century) but mainly, or perhaps due to, the fact that the famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach worked there, both as a composer, Both as a teacher and as a leader of the community and even buried in it. This church is named after St. Thomas, it is designed in Gothic style and attracts many.
Museum of City History/Old Town Hall (Museum of City History Leipzig) – Leipzig’s Old Town Hall was built between 1556-1557 and is one of the city’s most impressive examples of German Renaissance architecture. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, the place was used as the seat of the Leipzig City Council and since 1909 it has been used as a museum of the history of the city. There you can see up close a very large number of valuable relics from the history of Leipzig’s music and it is possible, for all those interested, to go on a guided tour.
The Museum of Fine Art (Museum der bildenden Kunste) – This museum presents its visitors with works of art from the Middle Ages to the modern period. It was first opened to the public in 1837 and thanks to many very large donations, its collection grew significantly over the years. In 1937, the Nazis confiscated 394 paintings and prints displayed there, mainly by expressionist artists, and on the night of December 4, 1943, the building was destroyed by a British air raid on the city. After the destruction of the building, the museum moved in 1952 to the former Reichstag building, changed several more locations and in the mid-nineties of the last century it was decided to place it in its own building. On December 4, 2004, 61 years after it was destroyed, the new museum was opened. Today it is considered one of the most important cultural institutions in Germany.
Grassi Museum – this is a complex that includes three museums: the Ethnography Museum, the Museum of Musical Instruments and the Museum of Applied Art. It is known as the new Grassi Museum, to distinguish it from the old building, which is currently used as the municipal library and is named after Franz Dominic Grassi, a businessman in the city of Italian descent who bequeathed over two million marks to the city upon his death in 1880. These funds helped pay for the construction of several new buildings in the city, including the old Grassi Museum originally built between 1892-1895. After the new museum was bombed during World War II and in light of the loss of tens of thousands of items that were in it at the time, it was rebuilt, with its first exhibition after the reconstruction being opened to the public in 1954. The place was closed to visitors between 1981-1985 due to a problem with the heating system, it was completely renovated and reopened reopened in 2005, although the Museum of Applied Arts opened only about two years later, in 2007.
Bach Museum (Bach-Museum Leipzig) – This museum is one of the interesting attractions in the city that mainly attracts classical music lovers, but not only. This museum focuses, as you can guess, on the life and works of the famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach and since it opened in 1985, it has been visited by close to a million visitors. From October 1999 to March 2000 the museum was closed for 6 months so that it could be equipped with modern technology and many means to help continue the composer’s impressive work. Its area was expanded and it currently includes 230 square meters.
The Botanical Gardens of Leipzig (Botanical Garden Leipzig) – The botanical gardens of Leipzig, which cover an area of 35 dunams, are maintained by the University of Leipzig and are considered the oldest botanical gardens in Germany and among the oldest in the world. The gardens, which are open daily and admission is free, were first opened to the public in 1542 and have changed quite a bit over the years. During the Thirty Years’ War, the gardens were destroyed and in 1653, after the university purchased a new site, the gardens were established for the second time. By 1857, the garden cultivated more than 10,000 different species of plants, of which 4,500 were grown in greenhouses. In 1876-1877, the garden was moved to its current location following the decision to establish a court there, its area was expanded and new plants were added. The garden was completely destroyed in World War II and in 1954, parts of it were restored, but due to financial difficulties, several greenhouses that operated there had to be closed. Between the years 1992-2004, the garden was renovated again, a butterfly house was added, and later more greenhouses were built.
There are quite a few transportation solutions in Leipzig and a convenient and accessible system of public transportation that operates in the city. At the same time, many travelers choose to reach it with a rental car that they collect at the airport, after landing, or at the offices of the car rental companies. Renting a car in Leipzig can be relevant to all those who are interested in a star trip (overnight in the city and every day leave it for nearby destinations, and return to it in the evening) or for those who want to combine, along with the stay in Leipzig, trips to other destinations throughout the country.
As of today, there are no direct flights from Israel, Ben Gurion Airport, to Leipzig, but those who wish to get there can do so on flights with intermediate stops (connection). There are quite a few such flights, which depart throughout the year and are offered by a variety of airlines, such as: El Al, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Austrian and more. Leipzig Airport is an international airport, located in Schkeuditz. It is known as a very large field, serving over two million passengers each year.
Leipzig is suitable to visit in any season, both thanks to the variety of options it offers and due to its weather conditions. The cold and rainy winter adds quite a bit to the atmosphere in the city, especially around Christmas, when it is painted with a multitude of colored lights in the various markets that are held there. In the summer the temperatures rise and the atmosphere in the city is lively and happy. Summer events are often held outside, which attract both locals and tourists, who come to the city in particular.
For those who choose to fly to Leipzig, you should take into account special events, which are recommended to include during the visit:
Every year, between the months of January and March, a spectacular opera festival is held in the city, with an emphasis on the works of the famous composer – Wagner. During this time, various events relevant to this field are held in the city, performances, concerts and various guided tours are held there, which complement the program itself.
At the end of May, beginning of June, a unique Gothic festival, the Wave Gothic Festival, one of the largest of its kind in the world, is held every year. Every year over 20,000 visitors come to it and it hosts parties, concerts, exhibitions and also various markets.