Unlike these lesser-known East German towns, Leipzig's attractions are well-established. Famous Germans from Goethe to Bach have worked and studied here. Auerbachs Kellerer dates back to the Middle Ages. The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is the oldest symphony orchestra in the world.
But there is more to the city than tradition. Just as Dresden has many attractions off the beaten path, Leipzig holds surprises just around the corner and outside of the city center. Explore 7 of the best off the beaten path locations in Leipzig
Gründerzeit Era Architecture
The city escaped the catastrophic damage of WWII visited on its neighbor Dresden and still holds an impressive amount of buildings from the Wilhelmine Empire. Of its 15,672 heritage sites, 80 percent are from the Gründerzeit era (period in 19th-century Germany and Austria before the great stock market crash of 1873).
Observe the elegance of residential districts like the South District, the Music District and the extraordinary Waldstraßenviertel. The "Forest Quarter" is the largest collection of Gründerzeit buildings in Europe with most of the buildings are historically protected. Visit the recently opened Ariowitsch-Haus, a Jewish cultural center, in a Gründerzeit villa at 14 Hinrichsenstraße.
The city' artistic nature is not limited to music. The first book fair was held here in the 17th century and the Leipzieger Buchmesse continues to be one of the largest in the world (after the Frankfurt book fair).
Other bookish attractions include:
- Germany's National Library (with a sister in the West, Deutsche Bibliothek in Frankfurt) has a vast collection of antique books, prints, manuscripts, etc.
- The Gutenbergschule is a school centered on the craft of creating books from printing to bookbinding. The building is also a stellar example of Bauhaus architecture.
Leipzig has a cool, subversive streak that is perhaps most evident in its well-established cabaret scene. German Kabarett is not just risque dancing, it can be fueled by political and social satire. Performers used this medium to covertly critique the government of the DDR.
The art form is still popular in Leipzig with more revue shows per person than anywhere else in Germany. Cabaret clubs and events in Leipzig:
Gohliser Schlösschen is a Rococo castle within Leipzig. Built in 1754 as a summer residence, it features the work of Adam Friedrich Oeser, Goethe's drawing teacher.
To the south of the city there are several other works of medieval art along the river Zwickauer Mulde. This area is called the Valley of castles:
A zoo is a zoo, right? Wrong!
Known as the zoo of the future, it has been open since 1878, covers 225,000 square metres (56 acres), has the biggest Tropical House in Europe, more than 850 exotic animal and plant species and a boat ride that takes you through the park.
Germany is synonymous with fast cars and what brand inspires more awe than Porsche? Go behind the scenes with a 360° view of the premises, learn about the company's history and - the highlight - a driving experience in a Porsche on the FIA-certified on-road circuit.
Leipzig Christmas Market
A series of markets fill the city's squares making for a never-ending land of Christmas. Like Dresden, Leipzig's Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) is one of the largest and oldest markets (opened in 1458). It has about 300 stalls and hosts over 2 million visitors, including a historic medieval market and a Finnish village on Augustusplatz before the Leipziger Oper (Opera).