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View of the St. Nicholas Church and the St. Nicholas Column in St. Nicholas Church Square, where the prayers for peace which led to the Peace Revolution took place, cultural venue, history of Leipzig, sights
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History of the City of Leipzig

Leipzig – An impressive history

View of the New Town Hall, architecture, sights in Leipzig, culture
New Town Hall © Mareen Rühle

A superlative city

Bach, Grieg, Kafka, Leibniz, Nietzsche, Wagner, Zetkin – the list of significant personalities who lived or worked in Leipzig is long.

Besides Paris and Vienna, Leipzig is still considered to be the most important city of music today. However, as a trade fair city, book city, industrial metropolis and the site of the Peaceful Revolution, Leipzig's contributions to world history were manifold.

In Leipzig, the largest terminus, the most closed-off arcade system, and the grandest monument in Europe can be found. In addition, with over 15,600 cultural monuments, Leipzig is Germany's capital of monuments. In spite of all these superlatives, Leipzig - lovingly dubbed the "large province" by inhabitants – has, to this day, maintained its cosmopolitanism and charm. In 1749, the poet, Gotthold Ephraim commented: "I am going to Leipzig, to a place where one can see the whole world on small scale."

How Leipzig came into being

Settlement in the heart of the city began in the 5th century BC, south of what is today the Goerdelerring. In the 6th century, Slavic immigrants built a permanent settlement which, in around 800, was dubbed "Lipzk" (lipa = place by the linden trees)

In 928, on the hill of the later Matthäikirchhofs (Matthäi church courtyard), the German castle, "urbs Lipzi" was founded. This was first mentioned in the chronicles of Bishop Thietmar von Merseburg.

1165 was when the city of Leipzig was officially established, on the occasion of Margrave Otto der Reiche bestowing market rights upon the city. Located at the crossroads between two trade and military roads, Via Regia and Via Imperii, Leipzig developed into an important trade city. Emperor Maximilian I. granting trade fair privileges constituted a milestone in this journey. The markets held three times per year gave way to imperial trade fairs, and cities within a 15 mile radius were forbidden from holding markets.