Located in the federal state of Saxony, Leipzig is the tenth most populous city in Germany. It has been a major trade city since the times of the Roman Empire and was once the center of culture and learning in Europe. Today, the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe thanks to its rich cultural and musical heritage.
Not only that, the many monuments and places of great historical importance are also a must-see for anyone visiting the city. So, what are you waiting for? Get packing and get exploring with this guide to tell you which architectural gem is worth exploring!
1. Battle of the Nations Monument
One of the most important monuments in Leipzig is the Battle of the Nations Monument. It was completed in 1913 in the monumental style to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat in Leipzig at the Battle of Nations. The 500-step climb to the top of the monument is worth it if you wish to see panoramic views of Leipzig and the surrounding areas. English-language guided tours are also available along with audio tours for those who would like to explore the monument on their own.
2. St. Thomas Church
Home to the world-famous St. Thomas Choir, the St. Thomas Church also knows as the Thomaskirche stands southwest to the Leipzig Markt. Being one of the oldest buildings in the city, this church was constructed in 1212 as the church to an Augustinian house. It was later altered in the 15th century in the form of a Late Gothic hall-church, while the western front was renovated between the years 1872 and 1889. The church is also surrounded by other important buildings like the Bosehaus which is located opposite to the church. A tour of the church tower is highly recommended for historical information about the place.
3. Museum of Fine Arts
Despite being housed in one of the modern architectural wonders of Germany, the Museum of Fine Arts was founded back in 1837 and was moved into its new home in 2004. Since Leipzig was and still is a European center of arts and music, the museum boasts an impressive collection of more than 3,500 paintings. The pieces range from the Middle Ages to the present, including works by some of the most well-known masters in Europe. The museum is a must-see for anyone who is even remotely interested in arts. A well-stocked library is also featured inside the museum for literature enthusiasts.
4. Leipzig University
Leipzig University is one of the most dominant buildings in the Augustusplatz. This 34-story building is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second oldest in Germany. It was founded in 1409 and lost more than 60 percent of its buildings during World War 2. Some of the most important attractions in Leipzig are housed here which include the Museum for Musical Instruments, the Egyptian Museum, the Museum of Antiquities and the University Art Collection with sculptures and paintings dating back to the Middle Ages. The lecture theater block incorporates the Schinkeltor from 1836 and Augusteum, the entrance to the old university. Also, situated near the university is Moritzbastei, a relic of the town’s old fortifications dating back to 1515.
5. Mendelssohn House
Originally built in 1844, the Mendelssohn House is the only preserved residence of the composer, Felix Mendelssohn. A lot of restoration work has been done on the house according to the original plans and many personal objects are placed inside to serve as a small museum. Written documents inside the house reveal details about the life of the great composer while exhibits related to specific works are also displayed. Tourists can also attend the regular Sunday concerts at the cost of an additional admission fee.
6. St. Nicholas Church
Built-in the 12th century, St. Nicholas Church also known as the Nikolaikirche continues to impress visitors even to this day. The most prominent features of this church are the 75-meter (250-foot) high tower and its impressive Neoclassical interior. The famous organ is still considered one of the most impressive of its kind in Europe and has been graced with performances by Bach. Tourists can also admire the beautiful galleries and lovely altarpieces during their visit to the church.
7. Old City Hall
For many centuries, the Leipzig Markt was the center of all city life and bustle. However, all of this was dominated the Old City Hall which was a Renaissance building constructed in 1556. Since then it has been altered quite a bit throughout the centuries. The tower is placed asymmetrically over the main entrance of the building while a roofed balcony is used for public proclamations that involve trumpeters in traditional costumes. A small museum dedicated to the history of Leipzig is situated inside the colonnades along the front that were built in 1907.
8. Leipzig Botanical Gardens
History of the Leipzig Botanical Garden, also known as the Leipziger Botanische Gärten can be traced all the way back to 1542. In 1877 it was set up as a medicinal plant garden, however, a large part of it was destroyed during World War 2. Situated on 4 hectares (9 acres) of land, this garden features over 7,000 different species of plants from all the different parts of the world. Also placed right next to it is the Leipzig Zoological Garden, a 23-hectare (56-acre) zoo with around 850 species of different animals and unique shelter and breeding programs.
9. Grassi Museum
To say that the Grassi Museum houses a few collections would be an understatement. It is, in fact, three museums inside one featuring Leipzig’s ethnography, arts and musical collections. The most famous out of these is the Museum of Musical Instruments which includes musical instruments all the way from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Hands-on sound laboratories and extensive musical archives can also be checked out in the museum.
10. The German Library
Between 1914 and 1916, the German Library was built with the intention of gathering all books and publications in the German language in one place. Also known as the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, it houses the German Museum of Books and Writing which has a nice collection of German letters and literature. A collection of Germanic recordings is also held in the repository of the German Music Archive. Tourists can explore the library with the help of guided tours in English.