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From: Leipzig, Germany

Leipzig Neues Rathaus

ABOVE: The Neues Rathaus or New City Hall in Leipzig, Germany. INSET BELOW: A road map, a park fountain, the Federal Administrative Court, and an Argentinian football fan during the 2006 World Cup.

Leipzig mapLeipzig, Germany has had a succession of names and nicknames, from "Place of Limes" (Lipzk, later Urbs Libzi) to "City of Education and Commerce" and (more recently) "Heldenstadt," or "Heros' City," in honor of its pivotal role in the Peaceful Revolution of 1989 that brought down the German Democratic Republic and the Berlin Wall.

Nikolaikirche with columnRegardless of its name, nickname, or motto, Leipzig is one of the most important cities in Eastern Germany. In past centuries, it attracted great men like Johann Sebastian Bach, Martin Luther, and Goethe; its university has been in continuous operation for 600 years; the Leipzig Book Fair published its first catalogue in 1594; and the original Leipzig Fair was given "Imperial Fair" status by the Emperor Maximilian in 1497.

Federal Administrative CourtEven during the gloomy years of the GDR, Leipzig remained an important cultural and business center, and the city has enjoyed a renaissance since the reunification of Germany in 1990. Thousands of skilled artisans--many imported from countries such as Britain--have restored historic buildings that were neglected during the years when state security was deemed more important than maintenance.

World Cup 2006 photoToday, Leipzig is a city with a thriving university, a busy downtown shopping district, a vibrant cultural scene, and a lively collection of restaurants, bars, and coffeehouses. As a major rail and road transportation hub, it's a city that you're likely to encounter on any trip through Eastern Germany, but it isn't just a place to pass through--it's worth a day or two of your time, and preferably more.

Leipzig is also a must-see stop on any GDR-themed tour of Eastern Germany, thanks to the Museum in der "Runde Ecke" (Leipzig's former Stasi district headquarters) and the Forum of Contemporary History (which covers life and resistance in the GDR).

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Top photo and 3rd inset photo copyright © TommL.
1st inset photo copyright © Henrik De Bruyne.
2nd inset photo copyright © LTS-Schmidt.
4th inset photo copyright © Torsten Schulz.


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